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PowerColor R9 290X PCS+ Review

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PowerColor R9 290X PCS+ Testing:

Testing of the PowerColor R9 290X PCS+ will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 334.69 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 14.1 beta 6 drivers. The results generated in my testing were reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.


Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:


Comparison Video Cards:




  • PowerColor R9 290X PCS+ : Core 1165MHz, Memory 1541MHz


Of the three Hawaiian Islands cards I have tested the overclocking on, the core and memory have seemed to fall short of expectations when you are used to having cards eclipsing the 1200MHz+ barrier at will it seems. Not so with this architecture so far. Up to this point, 1100MHz and 1130MHz have been the most I could pull out of an R9 290X without inducing voltage or power limit-based clock speed throttling. Or when you get down to it, just a bunch of black screens as the driver fails. Reaching that threshold where the clock speed is consistently running at the level you set it versus where the speed actually finishes up is a difficult dance at times. By creeping up on it slowly, the R9 290X PCS+ was able to smash the levels I had reached previously at 1165MHz on the core and 1542MHz on the GDDR5 memory.




Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  3. BioShock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  8. Batman: Arkham Origins
  9. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  10. 3DMark
  11. Ultra HD


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

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