AMD Radeon R9 280X Video Card Review w/ ASUS, XFX and MSI

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Temperature & Noise Testing

Temperatures are important to enthusiasts and gamers, so we took a bit of time and did some temperature testing on both Radeon R9 270X video cards

ASUS Radeon R9 280X TOP 3GB Video Card Idle Temperature:


MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming Video Card Idle Temperature:


XFX Radeon R9 280X Double D Video Card Idle Temperature:


All of these AMD Radeon R9 280X video cards have custom dual-fan GPU coolers, so we were expecting to see some good performance numbers when it came to idle temperatures. The XFX Radeon R9 280X with the Ghost2 GPU cooler came in the lowest at just 29C!  The ASUS Radeon R9 280X Top came in second with 30C and the MSI Radeon R9 280X came in last with an idle temperature of 31C. No one really lost here as just a 1-2C difference was noted between the cards in a room that was 22.0C (72F).  Fan speeds varied between 960-1050RPM on all of the cards.

ASUS Radeon R9 280X TOP 3GB Gaming Temperature:


MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming Temperature:


XFX Radeon R9 280X Double D Video Card Gaming Temperature:


When playing Far Cry 3 and Battlefield 3 for about 30 minutes each we took a look at load temperatures and found some very significant differences between the cards.  The XFX Radeon R9 280X Double D was hands down the winner by topping out at just 59C when gaming. It should be noted that the fans were spun up to a rather high 2120RPM though and it was the loudest of the bunch. The MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming card topped out at 69C, but the fans were spinning ~850 RPM slower at just 1264RPM. The ASUS Radeon R9 280X was found to reach 68C with the fans spinning at 1168RPM.


The XFX Radeon R9 280X Double Dissipation Edition card is one of the coolest cards that we have ever tested at load!  The ASUS and MSI Radeon R9 280X cards fall back in the middle of the pack and are in-line with other cards when it comes to load temperatures.

Sound Testing

We recently upgraded our sound meter to an Extech sound level meter with ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with ‘A’ frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.

The XFX Radeon R9 280X Double D was hitting 48.1 dB when gaming, which is 3 dB higher than the MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming. The MSI Radeon R9 280X Twin Frozr Gaming and ASUS Radeon R9 280X DirectCU II Top were within a couple tenths of one another, which isn’t significant. All are on the quieter side, but there is a major difference between the noise of the XFX card when gaming versus the coolers used on the ASUS and MSI cards.

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  • Ali

    Hi.what was the Temperatures of room in these tests?

  • nyran125tk

    theres definately issues with these cards. Many say the memory clocks are to high

  • Christofer Santiago

    Kind of stupid to put cards far out of its price range and on top of that Nvidia SLI numbers? They had the cards and could of easily did crossfire bench marks as well, especially being that they were the cards being highlighted. And btw did they disable PhysX to be fair to AMD? A’la TressFX.

  • Lianesch

    MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming Temperature:

    VDDC set to min, not max

    • Nathan Kirsch

      sorry about that!

  • Yosef

    I am dissapoint by your lack of 3-fan Gigagbyte Windforce Master Race

  • Will-0-Wisp

    The MSI R9 280X is definitely the one I’ll get!!! Thanx for the review!

  • Mombasa69

    No Crossfire testing then?

    • Gogu


    • michael centeno

      this is pro nvidia campaign here buddy.

    • KC

      Crossfire works nicely. Moreover this was crossfire tested with 7970 Ghz and it works perfectly. No issues. Its a beautiful card for very low price

  • Mombasa69

    Sapphire R9 280X Toxic, best of the lot easily.

    • lolol

      If you want a burnt-through GPU,yes.
      I’ve spoken to 2 Computer-Shop owners who build custom PCs for their customers.
      I visited them to get reliable infomation about high quality hardware. Sapphire, HIS and Powercolor have a failing rate of more than 20%.
      Asus, XFX, MSI are the only reliable ones.
      They install Gigabyte only if the customer insists to use a Gigabyte model.
      Asus oder XFX models are standard.
      I was surprised when they said XFX. Only heard bad things about it. But their numbers don’t lie.
      They have to take care of their reputation. They would bullshit themselves if they talked crap.

      • Kristijan Vragović

        I had nothing but trouble with XFX, and no problem with Sapphire.

        • Dan Mackinlay

          Likewise. “burnt-through GPU” lol