AMD Radeon R9 290 Video Card Review @ [H]

sk3tch

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I'm beginning to wonder if the Ref coolers are the better option.

Do you really want the non-ref versions dumping 95C heat into your case?

Seems like a trade-off between {Exhaust heat at cost of noise} or {less noise but heat in-case}

Yeah, I don't understand why everyone bags against the reference cooler so hard. Yes, it's loud - but blower is the way to go (for me). Sure, NVIDIA's blowers are way better. But these cards are also priced very competitively to offset that.

If you're comparing 780 to 290X, well, that's another story.
 

gordon151

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Many sites like Anandtech and Techreport are bashing the card because it's so loud and hot.

The fact that even AMD fans keep saying "wait for an aftermarket cooler" says a lot.

Cheap card = AMD
Good card = NVIDIA.

It's like the CPU market really.

Do you have a reference design cooler card?

Also most of AMD's reference coolers are bad and this is both a cheap and good card, so you can put up as many arbitrary statements as you want.
 
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Many sites like Anandtech and Techreport are bashing the card because it's so loud and hot.

The fact that even AMD fans keep saying "wait for an aftermarket cooler" says a lot.

Cheap card = AMD
Overpriced Good card = NVIDIA.

It's like the CPU market really.

Price/Performance is king and currently Nvidia is losing badly in this area.

The vast majority of buyers will gladly tolerate extra heat and noise for higher performance at a lower price.

That said, I'm waiting for the non-ref designs.
 

Brackle

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Many sites like Anandtech and Techreport are bashing the card because it's so loud and hot.

The fact that even AMD fans keep saying "wait for an aftermarket cooler" says a lot.

Cheap card = AMD
Good card = NVIDIA.

It's like the CPU market really.

Something I read, and it really shows Anandtech Bias, so take Anandtech's review with a grain of salt. I found this in Anandtechs forum....Really made alot of sense.

"What I see is double standards everywhere. Forum folks, reviewers.

Lets see what Ryan Smith said at the GTX 580 launch (44.4db Idle - 57.1db Load).

Load
Quote:
the GTX 580 is not whisper quiet, but at no point in our testing did it ever get “loud”.
Now lets see what he just said about the R9 290 (39.5db Idle - 57.2db Load).

Load
Quote:
With the 290 AMD has thrown out any kind of reasonable noise parameters
Consistency, that is."
 

KickAssCop

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Do you have a reference design cooler card?

Also most of AMD's reference coolers are bad and this is both a cheap and good card, so you can put up as many arbitrary statements as you want.
I have used AMD reference coolers for quite a while now. The statement that most of AMD reference coolers are bad is unwarranted. It is just that they are still using the same cooler as the 4870 to this day that is resulting in issues considering the size and power of the chip being cooled.

Hell even 7970 had a decent reference cooler. I managed to score 1250 (Sapphire) on the core and 1300 (Diamond) on the core on two different 7970s.
 

mobusta1

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What the fuck is the point of a 290x? The 290 is literally at it's heels and in some tests it BEATS the 290x!? WTF? Why did I spend an extra $150 for a card that doesn't offer any extra value?
 

Yakk

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Something I read, and it really shows Anandtech Bias, so take Anandtech's review with a grain of salt. I found this in Anandtechs forum....Really made alot of sense.

"What I see is double standards everywhere. Forum folks, reviewers.

Lets see what Ryan Smith said at the GTX 580 launch (44.4db Idle - 57.1db Load).

Load
Quote:
the GTX 580 is not whisper quiet, but at no point in our testing did it ever get “loud”.
Now lets see what he just said about the R9 290 (39.5db Idle - 57.2db Load).

Load
Quote:
With the 290 AMD has thrown out any kind of reasonable noise parameters
Consistency, that is."

Nailed!

Pcper lost their all credibility for me when they reviewed a premade origin system RIGHT after the "tier 0" fiasco from nvidia.
 

cageymaru

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Many sites like Anandtech and Techreport are bashing the card because it's so loud and hot.

The fact that even AMD fans keep saying "wait for an aftermarket cooler" says a lot.

Cheap card = AMD
Good card = NVIDIA.

It's like the CPU market really.

Value is what you see in it. I would think that any sane person could see value in the AMD lineup. You'd analyze the raw power available, and see that AMD wins hands down. After that you toss in heat equation and everyone is waiting on the nonreference coolers to come out or the [H]ardocpers are using water cooling. Then there is the unknown referenced to only as Mantle that has everyone giddy with excitement.

So in the end I would call Nvidia the Macintosh of video cards as they bill themselves as a boutique vendor. Macs typically are underpowered, cool, and look pretty. Just like the Nvidia cards. A Mac will get the job done just at twice the price of the competition.

AMD cards are the regular Joe cards. They are 'Fast N Loud'. They scream customize me to get even more out of my default state. I dare you to flip the bios switch to let my V8 scream! Nitrous baby! And they are going to let the AIB partners design their own solutions to quiet them for the Nitro crowd.

That's how I see it the current video card lineup. But opinions are like assholes; everyone has one. :)
 

sk3tch

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The reference cooler more than does the job:
http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/amd_radeon_r9_290x_review_updated_with_thermal_imaging.html

We've just been spoiled with all of NVIDIA's engineering efforts since the 690. That's not excusing AMD's...but I just feel there is a bit of hyperbole going around here. They are not THAT bad.

Something I read, and it really shows Anandtech Bias, so take Anandtech's review with a grain of salt. I found this in Anandtechs forum....Really made alot of sense.

"What I see is double standards everywhere. Forum folks, reviewers.

Lets see what Ryan Smith said at the GTX 580 launch (44.4db Idle - 57.1db Load).

Load
Quote:
the GTX 580 is not whisper quiet, but at no point in our testing did it ever get “loud”.
Now lets see what he just said about the R9 290 (39.5db Idle - 57.2db Load).

Load
Quote:
With the 290 AMD has thrown out any kind of reasonable noise parameters
Consistency, that is."

Then again - times have changed. NVIDIA stepped it up with their reference coolers. Cards have become more efficient, cooler, quieter, AND more powerful...so it isn't an absolute nailing. Opinions can change with the trends in the industry.
 

Yakk

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Also, AMD are gonna have some very happy AIB partners with all this.
 

Brackle

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The reference cooler more than does the job:
http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/amd_radeon_r9_290x_review_updated_with_thermal_imaging.html

We've just been spoiled with all of NVIDIA's engineering efforts since the 690. That's not excusing AMD's...but I just feel there is a bit of hyperbole going around here. They are not THAT bad.



Then again - times have changed. NVIDIA stepped it up with their reference coolers. Cards have become more efficient, cooler, quieter, AND more powerful...so it isn't an absolute nailing. Opinions can change with the trends in the industry.

Opinions can change if something is .1 db louder?.....really?.....LOL /facepalm
 
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The reference cooler more than does the job:
http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/amd_radeon_r9_290x_review_updated_with_thermal_imaging.html

We've just been spoiled with all of NVIDIA's engineering efforts since the 690. That's not excusing AMD's...but I just feel there is a bit of hyperbole going around here. They are not THAT bad.



Then again - times have changed. NVIDIA stepped it up with their reference coolers. Cards have become more efficient, cooler, quieter, AND more powerful...so it isn't an absolute nailing. Opinions can change with the trends in the industry.

Ahh shit, buy the Ref 290 or wait 2+ months for the non-ref.... So many decisions to make.
 

bpizzle1

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Damnit....now I have to decide whether to keep my price error 780 Classified.
 

UrielDagda

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I think what pushed me to go with the 780 GTX when the prices dropped was the heat issue.. I mean, even when they get custom cooler solutions, it's going to push a decent amount of heat out.. My small apartment already feels like a furnace sometimes, I think the R9 290 series would just make that much worse.

Just bad timing, since I needed a card now for a new build, I think a die shrink would do them a world of good, but we'll probably not see that until the next generation of cards for both companies are out next year.

I'm just glad AMD stirred things up, they helped me wind up with a 780 instead of a 770. :)
 

PRIME1

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Price/Performance is king and currently Nvidia is losing badly in this area.

The 290x had price/performance for like a day and the 780 price drop wiped it out.

I honestly don't think NVIDIA is worried here. They have the better quality card and people are willing to pay for it. They outsell AMD every year because of this.

Maybe an aftermarket cooler will help, but those will cost more. Which goes along with what I'm saying.

If you want a cheap video card or CPU, AMD is the way to go. I can't argue that. I have bought from AMD for this reason. However for my gaming system I wanted quality so I went Intel/NVIDIA.
 

KickAssCop

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What the fuck is the point of a 290x? The 290 is literally at it's heels and in some tests it BEATS the 290x!? WTF? Why did I spend an extra $150 for a card that doesn't offer any extra value?
Coz you iz nub.
 

kache

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Has anyone had the decency to compare 290x with fan at 100% with a 290 with fan at 100%? Comparing them out of the box in quiet mode is absolutely ridiculous... :mad:
 

cageymaru

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What the fuck is the point of a 290x? The 290 is literally at it's heels and in some tests it BEATS the 290x!? WTF? Why did I spend an extra $150 for a card that doesn't offer any extra value?

Think about the 7950 vs 7970 at launch. Both cards were so close together in performance that even I thought it was silly to spend extra for a few extra frames. As drivers matured over time, the 7970 and 7950 got faster and faster.

But the 7970's gap grew when games were more demanding such as Crysis 3. Those games are limited on the 7950 compared to the 7970. I consider my 7950 to be gimped on titles like that. If I try to use the same settings as the 7970, it will cause the game to have input lag and for example the mouse will be unresponsive. This difference in performance is due to the lack of ROPS, cores, or whatever that differs the 7950 from the 7970. These same settings would be completely playable on the 7970.

So initially yes, testing will say that they are so close it doesn't matter. But over time I developed "7970 fever" and almost replaced my 7950 with one. I think that in the long run your 290X will make you very happy that you spend the the additional money for the extra features that you're going to be able to enable in the future over the regular 290.

I hope that helps. :)
 

mekkanic

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Opinions can change if something is .1 db louder?.....really?.....LOL /facepalm

You are sort of missing the point he made. Lol. Yeah...57 db is 57 db. But if you have been used to the gtx 780, I can see how the 290 can be 'loud'. :x

Personally ill wait and see if asus comes out with a direct cu2 version. Not really anxious to jump on this tech just yet.
 
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Nice card ,now should I sell my water cooled 7950's for 2 of these hmm... Every one is soo about the noise.. Every video card I have owned pretty much since the 5970 has been to loud for me. Why every one has gone under water.. If you don't like noise spend the cash for a water block.. Yea it's a extra 100 bucks but that gets you higher overclocks and a nice quiet computer.. Hell right now my 9x140mm rad is bigger then my case lol. Every one is talking about after market cooler's unless it's blowing the air out of my case I don't want one :).. This is a great card for 400 bucks. I can't wait to see what it can do with some water cooling and some higher clock's .. Good job AMD kick Nvidia off that damn high horse they have been on for years now :)..
 

sk3tch

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Opinions can change if something is .1 db louder?.....really?.....LOL /facepalm

What was acceptable then (580 times) is not as acceptable now. That's all I am saying. Trends have changed - cooler, quieter, etc. - it's not that hard to understand.
 

Stimpy88

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PRIME1, you're in danger of sounding like an nVidia shill...

I just looked up the cost of the Accelero Xtreme III, and in Denmark I can get it for the equivalent of $25. So $425 for the R9 290 v $500 for the GTX 780, which IS a slower card to boot!

Your argument makes no logical sense, unless you work for nVidia
 
Last edited:

mobusta1

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Think about the 7950 vs 7970 at launch. Both cards were so close together in performance that even I thought it was silly to spend extra for a few extra frames. As drivers matured over time, the 7970 and 7950 got faster and faster.

But the 7970's gap grew when games were more demanding such as Crysis 3. Those games are limited on the 7950 compared to the 7970. I consider my 7950 to be gimped on titles like that. If I try to use the same settings as the 7970, it will cause the game to have input lag and for example the mouse will be unresponsive. This difference in performance is due to the lack of ROPS, cores, or whatever that differs the 7950 from the 7970. These same settings would be completely playable on the 7970.

So initially yes, testing will say that they are so close it doesn't matter. But over time I developed "7970 fever" and almost replaced my 7950 with one. I think that in the long run your 290X will make you very happy that you spend the the additional money for the extra features that you're going to be able to enable in the future over the regular 290.

I hope that helps. :)

Thanks, it does make me feel better :) I just hope that everything you said does indeed come true for the 290x since I made this build with longevity in mind. If I can play new games at QHD with ultra settings for 2-3 years I will be pretty happy.
 

Mr. K6

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If you want a cheap video card or CPU, AMD is the way to go. I can't argue that. I have bought from AMD for this reason. However for my gaming system I wanted quality so I went Intel/NVIDIA.
You know you have a good AMD release when WHINE1 is grasping for anything to try to lift his beloved nvidia. :D

Great review [H] team, solid presentation and some great info; really looking forward to the 290 CF review as that might be my next setup.
 

Flopper

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What the fuck is the point of a 290x? The 290 is literally at it's heels and in some tests it BEATS the 290x!? WTF? Why did I spend an extra $150 for a card that doesn't offer any extra value?

Similiar to Titan vs 780.

I bought the 7970 as it allowed me to run eyefinity with one card, even if 7950 was cheaper I just wanted that little edge. the tendency in Overclocking is the 7970 was 100mhz better there than 7950.
so its better, the question as always, is one willing to pay more for better?

seems fan noise is fine unless you go overclocking.
 

limitedaccess

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Opinions can change if something is .1 db louder?.....really?.....LOL /facepalm

Those numbers are not actually apples to apples. One is using measurement during a game, Crysis 3, the other is measured in Furmark. If you look at the 290s numbers in Furmark the measured value is significantly higher.

Sound measurements really need to be relative in the same test setting, I'm not sure if reviewers (doubt it) actually fully control all variables between tests (in this case years apart). Obviously in this case other variables are different since identical cards tested in both reviews have different measurements.

The other thing is you can measure sound values but whether or not it is "loud" is highly subjective. The most useful information to take out of test data is the relative volumes in the same test.

Think about the 7950 vs 7970 at launch. Both cards were so close together in performance that even I thought it was silly to spend extra for a few extra frames. As drivers matured over time, the 7970 and 7950 got faster and faster.

But the 7970's gap grew when games were more demanding such as Crysis 3. Those games are limited on the 7950 compared to the 7970. I consider my 7950 to be gimped on titles like that. If I try to use the same settings as the 7970, it will cause the game to have input lag and for example the mouse will be unresponsive. This difference in performance is due to the lack of ROPS, cores, or whatever that differs the 7950 from the 7970. These same settings would be completely playable on the 7970.

So initially yes, testing will say that they are so close it doesn't matter. But over time I developed "7970 fever" and almost replaced my 7950 with one. I think that in the long run your 290X will make you very happy that you spend the the additional money for the extra features that you're going to be able to enable in the future over the regular 290.

I hope that helps. :)

The 7950 relative performance to the 7970 I think has a somewhat "lost in translation" type issue. I think there often is some confusion in separating the clock for clock performance difference versus the actual stock performance difference. The actual performance difference of both at stock is actually quite significant on paper in some categories, it is just just that the maximum theoretical difference at the same clockspeeds is only 14-15% (if limited by shaders/texture units).

However the 290 and 290x is actually closer in both clock for clock and actual speeds. The shader/texture unit gap is only 10% versus the 14-15% for the 7950/7970. Then if you look at actual clock speeds the 290 is clocked much closer to the 290x than the 7950 was to the 7970.

Now you factor in how cards now have dynamic performance. This makes the issue much more complicated. I actually have some concerns regarding GPU testing (dating to when Nvidia introduced GPU boost) in light of how everyone is moving towards dynamic clock rates. The issue revolves around how reproducible results are.

The 290 though is not as efficient as the 290x (the voltage I believe is much higher to get its clock speeds), this does translate into non fps related benefits if those are important to you.
 

octoberasian

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I am wondering this as well.

The transistor count is exactly the same, so the circuitry is definitely there.

I thought about it too, but the only thing I could think of is that they probably "lasered" a few sections off and sold it as the 290 GPU. So, even with a BIOS flash, it wouldn't be a 290X.

I guess AMD learned from the last mistake (if it was a mistake...) with the X3 processors that many were able to unlock to cheap quad cores. Or, the Radeon 6950s that turned into 6970s.

Or, even more sinister: There is a hardware lock in the form of a tiny chip on the 290 itself that prevents it from being unlocked further, and is not present on the 290X.
 

InternationalHat

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Anandtech's hardware reviews are always so iffy compared to [H]. The only thing they can seemingly do pretty well is monitor reviews.

Motherboard, video card, etc. reviews are always kind of bad there now.
 

PRIME1

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Just as I suspected. The 290 and the 290X do not have as much overclocking headroom when compared to the GTX 780. Thus when all cards are overclocked the 780 comes out on top.

That's why this chip is called "volcanic Islands" hot and loud. :p

The 780ti will be here in a few days and should cool down things around here.

The 290 is a good cheap card. About the same as a 290x for a lot less.

Will be interesting to see what Black Friday brings to the table.
 

pandora's box

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That's why this chip is called "volcanic Islands" hot and loud. :p

The 780ti will be here in a few days and should cool down things around here.

The 290 is a good cheap card. About the same as a 290x for a lot less.

Will be interesting to see what Black Friday brings to the table.

In the 290's defense, once you start pushing the 780 to the extreme (1.2ghz) it turns into a furnace too. My top card hits 90C in BF4.
 

Mr. K6

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WorldExclusive

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Just as I suspected. The 290 and the 290X do not have as much overclocking headroom when compared to the GTX 780. Thus when all cards are overclocked the 780 comes out on top.

Meh, for review and basic purchase decisions, stock clocks are what to go by.
I don't see how paying $100 more for a card that card OC a little better justifies it's value.

Out the gate the GTX 780 is slower, smaller mem bus, less vram, and $100 more. That's all I need to know.
 

kache

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What the fuck is the point of a 290x? The 290 is literally at it's heels and in some tests it BEATS the 290x!? WTF? Why did I spend an extra $150 for a card that doesn't offer any extra value?
Put your 290x in Uber mode, with fan speed at 100%, and you'll see the value...
 

mesyn191

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My small apartment already feels like a furnace sometimes, I think the R9 290 series would just make that much worse.
The R9 290X only puts out about 60w more heat than the 780GTX, the R9 290 is only about 40w more heat.

You're not going to notice the difference with any high end card when it comes to heating up your room.
 

jorojr

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Anandtech's hardware reviews are always so iffy compared to [H]. The only thing they can seemingly do pretty well is monitor reviews.

Motherboard, video card, etc. reviews are always kind of bad there now.

I stopped trusting/reading Anandtech's video card reviews when 3870x2 was released. They praised the card up and down using CANNED reviews. [H] put the smack down on them when they said in ACTUAL gameplay, the 3870x2 was a stuttering mess.
 

Flopper

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Just as I suspected. The 290 and the 290X do not have as much overclocking headroom when compared to the GTX 780. Thus when all cards are overclocked the 780 comes out on top.

1300mhz 290x beats the 780 who needs 1400mhz+ to start to match it.
several 290x who already does that.
cant complain about that, can you?

so the 290x comes out on top then.

http://www.3dmark.com/fs/1095810
 
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