AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB Video Card Review

Jump To:

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

AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB Idle Temperature


The AMD Radeon R9 290 was found to idle at 41C with the fan running at just over 1100 RPM. It should be noted that the ambient room temperature was 22.0C (72F).

AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB Gaming Temperature:


The temperature target of the AMD Radeon R9 290 is set to 95C by default, but GPU-Z showed that we were hitting 94C and not going over that temperature. The fan was spinning at 2529RPM or 47%. You can manually control the maximum fan speed in AMD Catalyst Control Center to anything you desire, but it will impact performance as everything is dynamic and linked to one another.


We must have gotten a high leakage AMD Radeon R9 290 video card as our idle and load temperatures were pretty toasty. The AMD Radeon R9 290 has a temperature target setting of 95C by default and our reference card topped out at 94C  when gaming and 41C when at idle. AMD said that the Radeon R9 290 and 290X should be about the same when it comes to temperature, but our Radeon R9 290 was running noticeably higher at idle. In fact, this is the highest idle temperature that we have seen in some time.

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 AMD Radeon R9 290 was close to the Radeon R9 290X in terms of noise at idle.  The fan speed at idle was 10-20 different than the Radeon R9 290X, so both are around 42dB at an idle state when using your PC in 2D mode. When you fire up the games the AMD Radeon R9 290 can certainly be heard and it’s noise level is between the Quiet and Uber modes of a Radeon R9 290X.  This makes logical sense as the Radeon R9 290 has a maximum fan speed of 47% and the 290X varies between 40% in ‘Quiet’ and  55% in  ‘Uber’ mode.

Jump To:
  • Kif12345

    Just wait for the non-reference cards. They will be released at the end of November.

  • Recon

    Shop runner has mine here by Friday!

  • postie

    Don’t buy a card that games at 94 degC! That’s ridiculous, as is comparing it to Nvidia cards that are not being pushed so insanely. I have nothing against AMD; on the contrary, I dislike NVidia for their underhanded practices. But I bought an AMD card that gamed at 88 decG and it only lasted 18 months. Now, AMD has a good chip which they are overclocking wildly to boost performance. Not only that, but the reference cooler is another cut-rate AMD effort which has to scream just to keep the card from exploding. I wouldn’t reward such shoddy design with my money. And if I were given the card I would down-clock it to where it ought to be.
    If you really want to compare apples to apples, run your test cards at equal GPU temperatures, and then see who puts out more FPS for the dollar.

    • Recon

      XFX comes with lifetime replacement warranty…. Just sayin’

      • VonHaddon

        Cards with Double Dissipation (Double D) or whose product number ends in “R” get Lifetime warranty if registered within 30 days. All other cards (ex: HD 7970 Core Edition; FX797ATNFC) get 2 Year Warranty

    • Barron

      I would still buy the AMD card which performs better or on par with the GTX Titan and use some of the $600 saved on a good cooling system.
      So that would save me around $550. Not Bad At All!
      Also remember this is just the reference card. I would expect the retail versions will come with better coolers, and be priced around $450 any way.

  • Strider

    This is an amazing deal. That level of performance at $399 is about as sweet as it gets. Especially if you take into account the fact performance will only go up as the drivers mature and the non-reference cards and coolers hit the market, giving more OC headroom. Not only on this 290, but it’s big brother 290X.

    This is going to be a great holiday to be a gamer, great games and great hardware from both sides of the fence.

  • Paul Margettas


  • sri_tech

    Wow. Thats great pricing AMD.

    Keep it up.