Gigabyte Radeon R9 290X OC and R9 290 OC Review
AMD’s Radeon R9 290 and 290X produced a strong situation against Nvidia’s GT X 780 and Titan late this
past year, but that position has since weakened with unexpectedly high prices and limited options f rom
board partners. Both issues reportedly stem f rom a shortage of the Hawaii GPU, and that’s at the very
least partly due to how well-known the R9 290 collection will be f or Litecoin mining.
Like many f anatics, we were mainly impressed by the R9 290 because its $400 MSRP was almost 30%
cheaper compared to the R9 290X while only being 5% slower. T he truth is, if you can look f or a R9 290 it
expenses at least $500, some are f etching nearer to $550 — 40% a lot more than we had been lead to
believe they might cost. Unf ortunately, the tale is comparable f or AMD’s Titan killer.
T he R9 290X’s $550 MSRP didn’t seem crazy in comparison to Nvidia’s $1,000 single-GPU f lagship
considering that both delivered similar perf ormance, however the R9 290X currently costs at the least $630
and most remain $700. Nevertheless, Nvidia’s GT X 780 can be acquired f or $500 — actually, Gigabyte’s
WindForce version applies to that cost — and the GT X 780 Ti is def ined at $700ish.
T hose numbers are hard enough to deal with as is, however the Radeons are even less tempting once you
realize their prices don’t include af termarket cooling. T he R9 290 strike 95 degrees during our stress
ensure that you although we reduce that to 76 degrees with a cooler f rom the custom 280X, the Hawaii
shortage provides prevented us f rom getting today a board partner package until.
We’ve lastly received some creation cards f rom Gigabyte which are more impressive compared to the
sample Radeons we noticed some time ago. As an additional benef it, since Gigabyte’s GeForce equivalents
already are available, it must be an easy task to evaluate AMD and Nvidia of f erings with regards to thirdparty f unctionality and retail pricing rather than a ref erence design and its own pre-launch MSRP. T he Cards
Bef ore we do this, let’s have a second consider the R9 290 and R9 290X. AMD’s ref erence styles f or both
were practically similar with each spanning 27.5cm (10.8inside) long utilizing the exact same cooler that
vented heat f rom the back of an incident. Gigabyte has somewhat shortened the PCB by 1cm (0.3inside)
but with the WindForce cooler the cards is in f act slightly longer at 28cm (11.0in).
However, the cards certainly have the same primary conf igurations with the R9 290X boasting 2816 SPUs,
176 TAUs and 64 ROPs, and the R9 290 packing 2560 SPUs, 160 TAUs — 9% less than the 290X — and 64
Exactly the same 4GB GDDR5 f rame buf f er exists as standard on both cards, as the memory is clocked at
5GHz. T he storage f requency has long been unchanged f rom AMD’s specif ication, leaving the storage
bandwidth f or both cards at 320GB/s because of thier 512-bit broad memory bus.
Automagically, the core clock quickness of the R9 290X is 1000MHz as the R9 290 is 947MHz, though both
could be throttled down if heat becomes an presssing issue and apparently it can in warmer climates.
Gigabyte has done just a little tinkering right here by escalating the primary clock of both their cards to
1040MHz. T hat is clearly a mere 4% f actory overclock f or the R9 290X and 10% f or the R9 290.
T he Gigabyte R9 290X OC and R9 290 OC maintain their overclocked f requencies via the WindForce 3X’s
trio of 75mm f ans in addition to Gigabyte’s exclusive “Triangle Great” technology, which runs on the group
of triangular and f ins clip modules to raised direct airf low on the heatsink.
Two 8mm and f our 6mm copper heatpipes cool the storage power and chips stage. T he heatsink is covered
in an lightweight aluminum shroud that appears nicer compared to the old plastic material one, in addition to
an aluminum back again plate f or extra def ense. We don’t think Gigabyte has produced any f unctionality
claims, but we have been willing to wager the WindForce reaches least 10% better than AMD’s ref erence
Both cards f eature exactly the same power conf iguration of an 6-pin and 8-pin connector. We believed that
Gigabyte might enhance the R9 290X OC with a set of 8-pin connectors like they do with the GT X 780 Ti
OC, but this is not the case.
T he R9 and 290X 290 both assistance Crossf ire, though you can f ind no bridge connectors on these
cards. You don’t have f or a hardware strap because the PCI can be used by them Express bus rather. T he
only various other connectors are usually on the I/O panel. Our sample includes a pair of double DL-DVI
connectors, an HDMI 1.4a port and a DisplayPort 1.2 socket.
T he R9 290X and R9 290 both assistance a max resolution of 2560×1600 on around three monitors in
addition to Ultra HD (also ref erred to as UHD or 4K) over both HDMI 1.4b (reduced ref resh) and DisplayPort
Simply because usual, we tested each cards with Fraps to report its typical f rame rate in secs over a
collection amount of time. We run lab tests f or 60 secs typically. Reporting the average f ps is how stuf f
have already been done f or… properly, f orever. It’s a brilliant metric in the f eeling that it’s an easy task to
record and clear to see nonetheless it doesn’t tell the complete story, because the Tech others and
Document have shown.
To obtain a f uller image, it’s more and more apparent you need to element in a card’s body latency, which
talks about how each f rame is delivered quickly. It doesn’t matter how several f rames a graphics cards
produces typically in 60 secs, if it can’t deliver all of them at roughly exactly the same speed, you may see
more short jittery f actors with one GPU over another — something we’ve witnessed but didn’t grasp.
Assuming two cards provide equal average f rame prices, the main one with lowest stable body is going to
provide smoothest picture latency, and that’s a f airly important detail to take into account if you’re going to
drop the wad of cash. T heref ore, we’ll be including these details to any extent f urther by measuring just
how long in milliseconds it requires cards to render each body individually and graphing that in a digestible
We’ll be utilizing the latency-concentrated 99th percentile metric, which talks about 99% of results
documented within X milliseconds, and the low that amount is, the quicker and smoother the f unctionality is
overall. By detatching 1% of the very most extreme results, it is possible to f iltration system anomalies that
may have been due to other components. Test System Specs
Intel Core i7-4770K (3.50GHz) x2 4GB Essential DDR3-2400 (CAS 11-13-13-28) Asrock Z 87 Severe9/ac
(Intel Z 87) OCZ Z X Series (1250W) Essential m4 512GB (SATA 6Gb/s) Gigabyte Radeon HD 290X OC
(4096MB) HIS Radeon HD 290X (4096MB) Gigabyte Radeon HD 290 OC (4096MB) HIS Radeon HD 290
(4096MB) HIS Radeon HD 7990 (6144MB) HIS Radeon HD 7970 GHz (3072MB) Crossf ire HIS Radeon HD
280X (3072MB) HIS Radeon HD 7970 GHz (3072MB) HIS Radeon HD 7970 (3072MB) Gigabyte GeForce
GT X Titan (6144MB) Palit GeForce GT X 780 Ti JetStream (3072MB) Gigabyte GeForce GT X 780 Ti
(3072MB) Gainward GeForce GT X 780 (3072MB) Gainward GeForce GT X 770 (2048MB) Gainward GeForce
GT X 690 (4096MB) Gainward GeForce GT X 680 (2048MB) Microsof t Windows 8.1 Prof essional 64-bit
Nvidia GeForce 331.93 AMD Catalyst 13.12
Benchmarks: Battlef ield 3, Battlef ield 4
Palit’s GT X 780 JetStream place the bar with the best single-GPU consequence of 82.2f ps inside Battlef ield
3, a 15% lead more than Gigabyte’s R9 290X OC was and 19% on the company’s R9 290 OC. However, in
comparison to a typical GT X 780, the R9 290 OC was 2% quicker.
What impresses us probably the most is how quiet Gigabyte’s cards run, because they were inaudible on
the check system’s two 120mm case f ollowers, which are also very quiet. From FurMark to seemingly every
game, Gigabyte’s cards remain whisper peacef ul under load.
WindForce Cooler IS FANTAST IC, But T HINK ABOUT Pricing?
We’re both amazed and disappointed by the manuf acturing variations of AMD’s R9 290 and 290X. Along
with reducing temperatures by way of a little over 10 degrees, Gigabyte’s WindForce cooler operates very
much quieter than AMD’s ref erence style and f or whatever it’s worth, they’re much more appealing to look
at. T heref ore, what’s the catch?
Unf ortunately, the R9 290 collection’ Hawaii GPU continues to be in limited source and you can be prepared
to pay a 30% high quality over AMD’s MSRP. We were initially worked up about the R9 290X due to its $550
cost, and things just got sweeter once the R9 290 arrived f or $400. T he latter could nearly be observed as
a must-possess at that cost.
However, the R9 290 happens to be $500 to $550 while Gigabyte’s R9 290 OC is $580 — exactly the same
price because the only some other modif ied R9 290 listed, that is created by MSI. For $510, you might buy
Gigabyte’s personal GT X 780 WindForce cards, which ships having an 18% overclock which should
outperf orm or at the very least complement the R9 290 OC.
T hings are a whole lot worse f or Gigabyte’s R9 290X OC. Although the card is a tad f aster compared to the
R9 290 OC, at $700 it expenses over 20% even more. For exactly the same price, you could purchase
Nvidia’s GeForce GT X 780 Ti, while a cards such as f or example Palit’s GT X 780 Ti JetStream is $730,
works 11% f aster and makes use of less power. T hat is clearly a hard market f or the 290X.
As much as you want to recommend the R9 290 collection and Gigabyte’s upgraded versions, it’s dif f icult to
be worked up about inf lated prices. Small supply means you are getting a poor worth, which is possibly the
biggest element in our conclusions. If you’re searching f or a f lagship GPU, Gigabyte’s GT X 780 OC or GT X
780 Ti OC create more sense.
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