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Diamond Boost Radeon R9 270X Review

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Diamond Boost Radeon R9 270X Closer Look:

From the front you can see that Diamond has increased the size of the cooling package for added cooling compared to the other R9 270X cards in the product stack. Measuring 10.3 (L) x 4.7 (H) x 1.5 (W), this is a two slot card with a pair of 90mm fans pushing airflow through the aluminum fin array to keep things cool. At just over ten inches long, you should not run into clearance issues except for in the smaller chassis on the market. The Boost Edition R9 270X is built around AMD's GCN Pitcairn core and 2GB of GDDR5 memory all plopped down on a custom blue PCB. Poking out the top of the shroud are a total of five heat pipes to manage the thermal load. Diamond's R9 270X is designed to be used in a 16x PCIe 3.0 slot, but is backwards compatible for use in 16x PCIe 2.0 slots.

 

 

Display connectivity on the Diamond Boost R9 270X allows the owner to use up to three independent displays in an Eyefinity setup. A single DL DVI port, single HDMI 1.4 slot, and a pair of Mini DisplayPort 1.2 ports are used. If you are connecting to a DisplayPort-only monitor that uses a full size DP connection you will need to use an adapter to enable the connection to the display. A vent on the I/O panel is large enough to allow plenty of airflow out the back of the chassis, but with the open design of the shroud most of the load will make it out of the chassis through alternate means. At the back end of the card you can see how the large heat pipe-based cooling solution hangs off the back end of the PCB by about 3/8 of an inch, while the shroud extends a bit further for visual effect.

 

 

Diamond's Boost R9 270X is ready to run in a CrossFireX setup with another R9 270X for a two card configuration at most thanks to the single bridge connection on the top side of the PCB. Pretty much the standard option on the R9 270X cards I have looked at. By moving up to a CrossFireX configuration you can move the eye candy slider up a couple notches or bump the resolution higher than 1920x1080, as long as you have a monitor that supports it. A pair of PCIe 6-pin power connector provide an additional 150W to the card for a total of 225W being fed into the card from the system to support the roughly 150W board power rating. A 500W power supply is recommended when using a single Diamond R9 270X and the company increases that recommendation to 600W when running a pair in a CrossFireX configuration.

 

 

Stripping the shroud and heat sink off the Diamond Boost R9 270X gives us a closer look at the board layout as well as the configuration of the heat sink package. An all digital five phase VRM circuit is managed by a CHiL CHL8225G digital controller. The majority of the power circuit is towards the front end of the card. Much like most of the R9 270X cards I have tested, we do not get voltage control with this card for improved overclocking margins. This means overclocking may be limited, but only testing will tell how Diamond binned the core.

 

 

The cooling solution employed by Diamond uses an open shroud design with a pair of 90mm fans that feature scalloped blades. This is most likely to reduce the noise profile of the fans as well as increasing the static pressure to push more air through rather than around the aluminum fin array. An aluminum fin array attaches to a copper contact plate that only contacts the 28nm GCN core, leaving the memory to be cooled from the passing downdraft airflow. A total of five 6mm heat pipes pull the thermal load from the contact plate up to the fin array. This design looks robust enough to handle the thermal load of the core without any troubles.

 

 

Diamond and AMD have breathed new life into the 28nm Pitcairn GPU with a couple new features. You get the same 2.8 billion transistors, 1280 streaming processors, 32 ROPs, and 80 texture units packed into the 212mm2 sized core that we saw on the HD 7870 GHz edition cards. The memory interface is unchanged with 2GB GDDR5 memory running through a 256-bit bus, so not much has changed here either. To drive performance a little higher out of the box, Diamond has bumped the core clock speeds up on this card to 1050MHz, while the 2GB of GDDR5 SK Hynix memory is clocked at a modest 1400MHz. Diamond is using SK Hynix H5GQ2H24AFR T2C ICs that are factory rated to run at 1250MHz using 1.5v. Rated this low, the question is how much, if any, overhead is left on the memory.

 

 

Diamond has been offering AMD-based video cards for some time now. Diamond made the first card I looked at here at OCC so I expect that this card should perform as expected. Let's see if the cooling and gaming performance make the grade.




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