PowerColor R9 290X OC Reviewccokeman - November 4, 2013
Category: Video Cards
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PowerColor R9 290X OC Introduction:
It's been a few years since the first generation of AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture debuted with the HD 7970 based off the Tahiti XT core. In that time it has proven to be a card that has long legs and continues on today as the R9 280X. Recently reintroduced at $299, it offers a tremendous value and undercut the green teams' offerings by a nice margin. In a game of one-upmanship, the green team offered price cuts to again drive some competitiveness back into the price point. Today we get our hands on the latest high end card from AMD and its partners; this time around it is PowerColor and its factory overclocked R9 290X OC. As if slapping down the R9 290X as the fastest card AMD has ever put together isn't enough, PowerColor put a little tweak on it to drive the performance expectations up just that much higher.
This is the card we have been waiting for to see if AMD can again rise to the challenge and once again dominate the graphics card landscape. Packed full of AMD's latest architectural designs to improve the 28nm GCN architecture and include something a little new with AMD TrueAudio. Add in some PowerTune enhancements for improved efficiency thanks to an all new voltage controller that improves the voltage change granularity, and we get dynamic clock speed adjustments. Base clock speeds on this rendition of the R9 290X from PowerColor are 1030MHz on the 28nm Hawaii core and 1250MHz on the 4GB of GDDR5 memory. A boost of only 30MHz, but one sure to drive performance.
Priced at $549 and targeted at a level of performance that currently only the best from the green team can achieve, it looks to be a challenge that the R9 290X OC is up to.
PowerColor R9 290X OC Closer Look:
The packaging for this card from PowerColor carries a little flash to go along with some of the basic specifications seen on the front panel of the box. The box shows we have 4GB of GDDR5 frame buffer, uses AMD's GCN Architecture, is UEFI ready, supports DX 11.2, conforms to the PCIe 3.0 standard, and can work with both 4K and Eyefinity configurations. The back side lists the basic specifications and the power and system requirements for using this card from PowerColor. Inside the outer sleeve is a cardboard box that holds the card and accessory bundle. The card is packaged deeply in the cardboard to protect it from shipping hazards yet is easy to pull out once into the box.
PowerColor's accessory bundle for this card is slim and includes a quick installation guide, driver disc, and a single 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power adapter. Missing is the traditional CrossfireX bridge connection we normally see on AMD-based cards, but with the new Crossfire standards this item is going the way of the dinosaurs and is no longer needed.
Curiosity killed the cat they say, but getting a look at what AMD and its partners have to offer with the card is intriguing to say the least. So let's dig in!