XFX R9 290X Double Dissipation Reviewccokeman - March 13, 2014
Category: Video Cards
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XFX R9 290X Double Dissipation Introduction:
AMD's latest silicon used on the R9 290X has delivered that uptick in performance needed for the AMD faithful. That launch was not as smooth as it could have been due to AMD trying to make the card a one-size-fits-all product. Quiet for some and balls out and noisy for the rest. The problem was that the thermal load generated by the large core could not be adequately cooled with a reference cooler running "Quiet" fan speeds. Running constantly at 95 °C led to massive throttling in games that dropped the core clock speed, and ergo FPS performance, to levels well below the advertised results. Switching to "Uber" mode helped stabilize clock speeds, but resulted in higher fan speeds. In reality, running up to 50-55% fan speed is not that objectionable, but is noticeable. Running in vacuum cleaner mode (100% fan speed) however, is a noise nightmare that most, even with headphones on, can't stand.
Fixing the noise and thermal problems are first and foremost the way to building in stable clock speeds. XFX has done just that with the introduction of its R9 290X, equipped with Double Dissipation cooling that is designed to improve both characteristics for the end user. To eliminate the noise and thermal concerns, this card from XFX is equipped with its Double Dissipation cooling system that has standout features such as Ghost Thermal, Duratec, and Hydro Cell technologies that enhance the longevity of the card through cooler-running, high-end components.
AMD cards have been a hot commodity for the cryptocurrency miners, driving prices skyward for the rest of us looking for a deal. Currently priced at $649, the XFX R9 290X is a high-end card sitting at the top of the product stack. As such, it commands a premium due to its extensive feature set and build quality. At least I see more supply that stabilizes pricing. Let's dig into how XFX improved on AMD's design.
XFX R9 290X Double Dissipation Closer Look:
XFX does not waste a lot of money on large packaging, having one of the smallest footprint packages on the market for its product stack. Packaging costs money and increases shipping costs, so why not go with a smaller footprint when you can let the messaging and product speak for the company? The graphics on the front side of the package let you know that XFX is the company supplying the card, along with the model type, R9 290X. Further down you get some of the basic specifications, including Double Dissipation cooling, unlocked voltage, and Power Tune 2.0 Technology. On the back side, the XFX graphic theme continues and shows the feature set of the XFX R9 290X Double Dissipation card.
Inside the packaging is a two-tiered system, where the top holds the accessory bundle, while the bottom holds the video card. The packaging, while small, is robust enough to ensure that the card makes it to the end user in one piece. The accessory bundle includes not only the driver disk and a maual, but a pair of warranty cards, additional sales literature, and a pair of power adapters for use in case your power supply does not have enough native PCIe power connections.
The reference R9 290X I looked at proved to be a potent gaming card outside a few issues that initially could have been chalked up to immature drivers for the architecture. Addressing the largest problem is paramount to getting more clock speed from the GCN 2.0 Hawaii XT core. Cooling on the reference card in Quiet mode was suspect at best, with the card throttling even at stock speeds. XFX brings its Double Dissipation cooling along for the ride to eliminate this concern, so let's see just how well it does.