First ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC Review $570 MSRP

tobi54

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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:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...64694-asus-r9-290x-directcu-ii-oc-review.html

Good things come to those who wait (if we can get it at close to MSRP lol) This card seems to be amazing!
 

octoberasian

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If that's $570 US, that's cheaper than the $699 MSI Twin Frozr I linked in the other thread. :eek:
 

TaintedSquirrel

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Most of the cards are marked up $120 now;

280x at $420.
290 at $520.

That would put this 290x at $700, just like the MSI.

Anyway, due to price gouging, I'm calling this one a flop. You can get a 780 Ti for the same price and it's decisively a better card overall.
 

tobi54

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Most of the cards are marked up $120 now;

280x at $420.
290 at $520.

That would put this 290x at $700, just like the MSI.

Anyway, due to price gouging, I'm calling this one a flop. You can get a 780 Ti for the same price and it's decisively a better card overall.

While price gouging is certainly true its all retailer dependant, there's a couple that will stick close to MSRP and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for those, I have no problem postponing my upgrade for another six months if it means getting ripped off by the likes of newegg and NCIX at release.
 

tobi54

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If that's $570 US, that's cheaper than the $699 MSI Twin Frozr I linked in the other thread. :eek:

That's what the actual prices of all cards should have been had the litecoin craze not kicked in. MSRP for 280X is 299 DCII 280X was 309, $20 premium for a DCII cooler on a 290X is right on par with the original pricing model.
 

Yakk

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I like my dual DirectCU II 280x cards (those could use a backplate too), and going to seriously look at a few 290x DirectCU II (after moving the 280x's to a mining rig).

We need MORE production please! :)
 

DooLocsta

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LTC continues to crash nightly, if this continues I would say the cards will be back to MSRP soon.
 

Gumbi10

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Wow, I'm impressed. 1.2ghz at ~76 degrees. 60% fan speed. Some more room in the tank too (though no much, seeing as the voltage was at 1.337 as it was (lol)). Backplate is nice. Wonder what the VRM temps were?
 

edge929

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I'll be happy when the LTC craze is done. I prefer not paying more than MSRP for my video cards, thank you.
 

Schro

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Yea, just read an article about bitcoin plummeting 50% overnight.

It didn't plummet 50% overnight - it was trading around $750 yesterday and is at $550 as I type this. It IS down about 50% from its peak from a few weeks ago though.

Also, to note, LTC value tends to be tied to BTC at a seemingly fixed rate and that will drive its valuation. The rate I've observed over the past few months has been 1LTC ~= .025 to .03BTC. Back of the envelope math right now tells me that LTC miners are making ~$1 per day per 7970/280X after power costs are factored, thus the quick ROI is simply not there anymore. As long as valuation doesn't head back up, I would expect the mining craze to be done.... for now..
 

tobi54

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It didn't plummet 50% overnight - it was trading around $750 yesterday and is at $550 as I type this. It IS down about 50% from its peak from a few weeks ago though.

Also, to note, LTC value tends to be tied to BTC at a seemingly fixed rate and that will drive its valuation. The rate I've observed over the past few months has been 1LTC ~= .025 to .03BTC. Back of the envelope math right now tells me that LTC miners are making ~$1 per day per 7970/280X after power costs are factored, thus the quick ROI is simply not there anymore. As long as valuation doesn't head back up, I would expect the mining craze to be done.... for now..

Perfect timing then, as all these AIB cards seem to be coming out early January.
 

veedubfreak

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I'll be happy when the LTC craze is done. I prefer not paying more than MSRP for my video cards, thank you.

Honestly, it's not going to be done anytime soon. At least not until a better card/asic comes out for LTC. People will just keep mining and sit on them until the price is right. It did allow me to sell my used 7970 for more than I spent on it 6 months after buying it :)
 

snalleve

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Honestly, it's not going to be done anytime soon. At least not until a better card/asic comes out for LTC. People will just keep mining and sit on them until the price is right. It did allow me to sell my used 7970 for more than I spent on it 6 months after buying it :)

That seals the deal. I'm going with Nvidia.

I really wanted to try AMD, but I'm not crazy enough to buy into this price gouging by the major retailers.
 

SonDa5

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That seals the deal. I'm going with Nvidia.

I really wanted to try AMD, but I'm not crazy enough to buy into this price gouging by the major retailers.


NVIDIA has been price gouging for a long time and they don't even make cards that are good at helping people make money on bit coining.


I'm sure you can find a good deal on a 290/290x if you are patient. I see them often at around MSRP and the cards are worth the money. Much better than NVIDIA.


I still prefer reference card water cooled.
 

Nenu

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Wow, I'm impressed. 1.2ghz at ~76 degrees. 60% fan speed. Some more room in the tank too (though no much, seeing as the voltage was at 1.337 as it was (lol)). Backplate is nice. Wonder what the VRM temps were?

Something isnt right about the overclocking results.
They reached 78C at standard volts, standard clocks.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...94-asus-r9-290x-directcu-ii-oc-review-10.html

The results they showed when overclocking are not valid for comparison.
With much higher volts and clocks they show a lower temp.
The temps are still climbing quite rapidly, they need to show what it settles on.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...94-asus-r9-290x-directcu-ii-oc-review-11.html

I'd like to see [H]'s results.
 

Gumbi10

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Something isnt right about the overclocking results.
They reached 78C at standard volts, standard clocks.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...94-asus-r9-290x-directcu-ii-oc-review-10.html

The results they showed when overclocking are not valid for comparison.
With much higher volts and clocks they show a lower temp.
The temps are still climbing quite rapidly, they need to show what it settles on.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...94-asus-r9-290x-directcu-ii-oc-review-11.html

I'd like to see [H]'s results.
You may be right, but as I understand it, performance mode limits the fan speed to 47%, just like the reference cards? And they used a manual 60% for the overclock. I too am eagerly awaiting the review on this site too.
 

Gumbi10

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NVIDIA has been price gouging for a long time and they don't even make cards that are good at helping people make money on bit coining.


I'm sure you can find a good deal on a 290/290x if you are patient. I see them often at around MSRP and the cards are worth the money. Much better than NVIDIA.


I still prefer reference card water cooled.

What kind fo results are you getting? Custom cards would of course be more expensive, but with better PCB components, one might expect them to perform better under water, no?
 

Trimlock

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Dcu2s can ramp up fan rate very fast, I have my 7850 to jump to 60 should it go over 70degrees.
 

LordEC911

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What kind fo results are you getting? Custom cards would of course be more expensive, but with better PCB components, one might expect them to perform better under water, no?

If they bulk up the VRM/PWMs, like the ASUS, and are able to supply cleaner power, reducing ripple and decreasing vdroop, then yes.
The tough part in that equation is finding fullcover blocks for your specific card.
 

SonDa5

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What kind fo results are you getting? Custom cards would of course be more expensive, but with better PCB components, one might expect them to perform better under water, no?

The reference pcb design is good. My temps and acoustic performance is much much better. OC is not quite there but i blame bios and voltage control software. My best water cooled bench mark runs are around 1300/1600.
 

Gumbi10

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The reference pcb design is good. My temps and acoustic performance is much much better. OC is not quite there but i blame bios and voltage control software. My best water cooled bench mark runs are around 1300/1600.

Cool. Could you game at say, 1250? Hopefully Trixx comes out with there software soon.
 

SonDa5

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Cool. Could you game at say, 1250? Hopefully Trixx comes out with there software soon.


yes but im holding back at around 1200/1400 with lower voltage newest msi bios and beta afterburner till sapohire gets a good bios update and trixx working. i have a sapphire 290x bf4 edition with hynx memory. my highest overclocks were with asus unlocked voltage bios and voltage tweak software.
 

tonyftw

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The reference pcb design is good. My temps and acoustic performance is much much better. OC is not quite there but i blame bios and voltage control software. My best water cooled bench mark runs are around 1300/1600.
Amd's reference board is usually very good. Was with tahiti and again is with hawaii. It's just held back by a crap stock cooler that can easily be fixed with buying a waterblock.
 
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