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PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Review


PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Conclusion:

After finally getting a chance to play with the PowerColor R9 295X2, I have found that overall it delivers on pretty much every front. From gaming performance to overclocking to frame time variances to noise levels; and in the end the cooling capacity of that poor 120mm radiator. First let's talk about overclocking this power hungry beast. Out of the box you are going to get boost clock speeds of up to 1018MHz, or close to 20MHz higher than the factory baseline 1000MHz clock speed seen on most R9 290X cards. If that is not really enough for gaming and mining with a pair of Hawaii cores, you can improve performance by overclocking. This sample would consistently run at 1115MHz on the cores without crashing. However, one core would stay at the 1115MHz clock speed and the second core would throttle under load after about two minutes into testing. Even so, the worst case scenario was some drops down to around 1080MHz, giving a decent 60MHz clock speed bonus. Overclocking the memory is as simple as adjusting the memory speed and running the stability testing until you reach a failure point. This card was perfectly happy running the 8GB of GDDR5 memory at 1500MHz, or a 6000MHz effective clock speed.

When overclocking, the cooling has to compliment the end goals by having the thermal capacity to manage the load coming from the cores. At a rated 500W power draw, there is a lot of heat to be managed on the R9 295X2. By using Asetek to build a reliable long term liquid cooling solution, AMD managed to tame the pair of volcanoes under the hood. I saw temperatures of 51 °C under load at stock speeds and 61 °C while overclocked. I must say, I am impressed with the cooling solution. For this application, it's best that the thermal load is exhausted outside the chassis. While delivering great overall thermals, the radiator would actually be hot to the touch during gaming. You can fix this somewhat, but then you increase the noise level that AMD and its partners have struggled to minimize. The cooling fans are not dead silent, but are a far cry from the noise level on a reference card at full song. In this respect, AMD nailed it. I would have loved to see a 2x120 radiator instead, but I'm sure compromises had to be made for the masses.

Game performance is excellent at best and very good at its worst when playing on high pixel count surfaces. PowerColor's R9 295X2 can play any game you put in front of it without blinking an eye. As long as AMD has the driver package nailed down, you get great visuals from this card with FPS performance to match. Even though we did not test a 2560x1440 resolution, this card is tailor made for 2560x1440 and higher resolutions with high to very high settings. There was no game I tested in my comparison suite that was not smooth outside of Far Cry 3. In that game, the drivers just do not seem to to play nice. Looking at the frame times, it looks like AMD is finally making strides to fix its frame pacing issues at higher resolutions, making the R9 295X2 a more viable gaming solution. These results are much better than what I saw during my 4K comparison.

My only real beef with the R9 295X2 is that, from a cost perspective, it is a significant investment at $100 higher than a pair of R9 290X cards ($1400 vs. $1500). But you get something more than just the AIO liquid cooling for your money. At this point, it's worth the added investment capital to have a single card, as I found that the CrossFire implementation on the single PCB R9 295X2 was far and away more stable than the pair of R9 290X cards in CrossFireX. To sum it up, AMD put together a great package for its partners to go to market with. You get a great looking card, with a heavy industrial feel that looks good from every angle. It comes with a dedicated built-in AIO liquid cooling solution that delivers great cooling that easily exceeded my expectations. AMD may finally be turning the corner. PowerColor's R9 295X2 is fully capable of running anything you can throw at it and is really the first single card truly capable of running at 4K that I have tested.



  • Low noise
  • Performance
  • Cooling
  • 4K gaming
  • Quad-GPU CrossFireX



  • Costs more than a pair of R9 290X


OCC Gold

  1. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2: Specifications & Features
  4. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Metro: Last Light
  6. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  7. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Bioshock Infinite
  8. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Crysis 3
  9. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Far Cry 3
  10. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Battlefield 4
  11. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  12. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Batman: Arkham Origins
  13. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Unigine Heaven 4.0
  14. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: 3DMark
  15. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Temperatures
  16. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2 Testing: Power Consumption
  17. PowerColor Radeon R9 295X2: Conclusion
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