PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Reviewccokeman - June 5, 2014
Category: Video Cards
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PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Introduction:
Having what could be billed as the fastest video card on the planet is tantamount to having your cake and eating it too. Looking at the specifications alone and knowing how potent the R9 290X is, there is not a game out that can bring it to its knees at 1920x1080 using the maximum in-game settings. That's a pretty tall order because this card is fully ready for some 4K gaming at its finest using better-than-medium settings. Packed with the best graphics processors AMD has to offer, there are no neutered cores in this rendition of CrossFireX on a single PCB from AMD like we have seen in the past. The downside is that AMD's Hawaii GPU on the 290X is a hot-running core, as we saw looking at the reference versions earlier this year. We also saw that, when equipped with adequate cooling, the cores would no longer throttle the clock speeds at stock speeds, nor as quickly when voltage and additional clock speed were added to the equation.
Cooling has been made a primary concern at this point, and AMD and its partners have equipped the R9 295X2 with an all-in-one water cooling system from Asetek to handle the thermal load of not one, but two cores. Building a card of this caliber puts it into rarefied air, both for the performance it can deliver and the engineering that had to take place to get this kind of firepower on one PCB. That kind of graphics power does not come cheap by any means. A pair of water cooled R9 290X cards currently run about $1400, while the R9 295X2 is going for a $1499 price point. I've been waiting a while to get my hands on one of these, so let's see what it has to offer for the hardcore gamer.
PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Closer Look:
Looking at the front of the box, the image of the R9 295X2 is right in your face, as it should be when you think of how much this card is capable of right out of the box. The front panel of the packaging highlights the PowerColor name and that the card has an 8GB frame buffer, is DX 11.2 ready, supports 4K resolutions, and supports AMD's Eyefinity technology. The back panel clearly states the system requirements and illustrates how the Asetek-built cooling solution is integrated into the design of the cooling system for the R9 295X2. Inside the package is a plain cardboard box, but what's inside that is far from being plain.
PowerColor's R9 295X2 is packed in a dense foam to keep both the radiator and card from getting damaged in transit. Front and center as you open the package is a set of basic requirements that must be met before installing the R9 295X2. You must have a power supply with a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors and a power supply that can supply at least 28A of current dedicated to the GPU. Additionally, you need to have a chassis that can accommodate the 120mm radiator. The bundle includes the requirements sheet, a driver disk, Mini DP to HDMI dongle and a DVI-D to HDMI adapter.
This is the card that we thought AMD would not have the balls to build, but looking at the specs and the inclusion of a liquid cooling solution to manage the thermals, I am impressed with the card so far. The key is how will it perform and will it suffer from some of the same issues as standard CrossFireX configurations with jittery performance. Let's dig into the card and find out.