Ever since its release gamers have been anxiously waiting for the R9 290X to receive its usual dose of board partner excitement. Custom cooling solutions and higher out-of-box clock speeds have taken a while to make their way onto the market but they’re finally here and in this review, we take a look at what will likely be one of the most popular examples: the ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC. This certainly won’t be the only non-reference R9 290X out there but it does come with ASUS’ long history of success in the custom graphics card field.
The excitement behind this particular “launch” of custom cards hasn’t been completely fueled by the usual suspects of overclocking, a better component selection and more choices. Rather, due to AMD’s PowerTune algorithms curtailing core frequencies while they struggled to balance heat and power consumption, many felt the reference R9 290X was never able to fully reach its potential without reaching insane acoustical levels. That’s exactly what we saw in our launch day review and it continued into retail samples as well.
While the thermal issues with AMD’s latest core have been well publicized, board partners have experienced some extreme challenges when engineering heatsinks for their custom R9 290X cards. According to our conversations with them, the Hawaii architecture is one of the hottest-running they’ve come across since the original Fermi and many previous cooler designs had to either be tweaked or thrown out completely. This led to some delays for others but ASUS was able to carry over their well-regarded, DirectCU II design en masse. This is great news since every other time we’ve come across this particular heatsink, it has achieved some impressive results.
Read the full review here:
Good things come to those who wait (if we can get it at close to MSRP lol) This card seems to be amazing!