XFX Radeon R9 290 CrossFire Video Card Review at 4K Ultra HD

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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 a pair of XFX Double D R9 290 video cards running with CrossFire mode enabled.

XFX Double Dissipation Radeon R9 290 4GB CrossFire Temps:


XFX DD Radeon R9 290 4GB CrossFire Temps in Battlefield 4 for 30 minutes:


XFX DS Radeon R9 290 4GB CrossFire Temps in Crysis 3 for 30 minutes:


At idle we got a respectable 34C on the inside card and 29C on the outside card that was getting cool ‘clean’ air. At full load we were getting vastly different temperatures on various game titles. For example on Battlefield 4 we were getting 75C/63C and then on Crysis 3 we were getting 82C/68C. At idle the fan speed was at 20% and then at full load we were hitting 67%. GPU-Z shows that the XFX DD Radeon R9 290 video card had an GPU voltage of 0.984V at idle and 1.227V when at full load running 3D games. The VRM temperatures got up to 97C on VRM1 on the hotter of the two cards and 81C on the cooler card. (The AMD Radeon R9 295X2 gets around 90C on the VRM on our test bench and that is with the GPUs being water cooled.) It should be noted that both of our XFX Radeon R9 290 cards are version 3.1 cards that have a more aggressive fan profile than version 3.0 and earlier cards.


With the temperatures averaged out, the XFX DD Radeon R9 290 v3.1 CrossFire setup didn’t due that bad. A single XFX DD Radeon R9 290 v3.0 card was much hotter, but that is due to the different fan profile that was being used at the time. If you have a version 3.0 card, you might want to ask XFX to see if they can get a BIOS flash for you.

Sound Testing

We test noise levels with an Extech sound level meter that has ±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 Double D R9 290 CrossFire setup was done with v3.1 cards and was pretty quiet at idle since the fans were running at just 20%, but at full load it became the loudest pair of cards that we have tested to date due to the fans spinning at nearly 70%. It wasn’t unbearable, but you’ll be able to hear the cards over your case fans.

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  • Sean

    how do they crossfire with out the bridge

  • Joseph Spears

    There is no wat 780ti even in SLI touchs a 295×2

  • marko

    will crossfire work with two different brands (f.e. gigabyte and shapphire)?

    • Nicholas Alexander

      it should work if you have the same chipset like the 7970/R9280x and R9280 would be 7850?

      • Eds

        7950/7950 Boost/7970/7970ghz/R9 280 R9 280x are all compatible with each other.

        • Nicholas Alexander

          Yes, if they are the same family chipset. just like what I said. like the R9 280x and the 7970Ghz editon, etc

  • Ryan O’Shea

    I just bought 2 of the XFX Radeon 290s because of your awesome review (and because they were on sale), I haven’t received them yet, but I was just wondering how you went about updating the bios (In case they are both running v3.0)

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I use ATI Winflash to update my Hawaii cards and I used the vBIOS from the 3.1 card and flashed it over to the older card. I have no clue how XFX is handling the update or if they even plan on making it readily available to their customers.

      The newer BIOS has been tweaked for memory support as well… XFX said this to me this week: “Yes
      the BIOS’s have been tweaked a bit partly due to AMD using two
      different types of memory Elpida and Hynix which both act differently. It
      is my understanding that moving forward only one brand will be used
      which will make it much easier to fine-tune everything and avoid issues
      like you had originally.”

      From my understanding the memory tweaks were done mostly for the LiteCoin guys and had nothing to do with VRM temps. Not many straight answers on this from XFX I am afraid.

      • Ryan O’Shea

        Thanks for the reply,

        Well here’s hoping that either one or both of my cards runs the update.

  • Greg B

    Once these cards are overclocked they fly. I have a pair running at 1100×1350 24/7 and have been extremely happy. I bought these when they were released and pair $399 each making my purchase even better.
    While the 780Ti SLI solution might be faster, it is more expensive and comes with less Vram.
    I’ll stick with my CF cards for now.

  • fuzznarf

    Why would you compare a 290 in crossfire to 780Ti in SLI? an appropriate comparison would either be 290x vs 780Ti, or 290 vs 780. Dont compare two $475 AMD290 cards to two $730 Nvidia 780Tis.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Fuzznarf – You did look at both charts right? The average FPS chart includes 290, 290 CrossFire, 290X, 295X2 on the AMD side and 780, 780 Ti and 780 Ti SLI on the NVIDIA side.

      I went with 290/290 CrossFire and 780 Ti/780 TI SLI in the FPS over time charts due to the fact it showed dual card scaling of matched identical cards. I could mix and match cards to do other setups, but that basically invalidates the noise/power numbers due to the different designs of the 3rd party AIB cards.

      • jz100

        I would have helped if that stupid Powercolor 290x brand didn’t leave out the crossfire name in it. I’ve never seen a brand labeled like that.

  • dkz

    How does one find out the version of their card?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      On the back of the card there is the serial number sticker and it also lists the version number of the card. I’m not sure where along the lines XFX adjusted the fan profile as they haven’t given me a direct answer on that. If your card won’t go over 45% fan speed, you likely have the original profile.

      • dkz


        They definitely go higher than 45%. My top card has been hitting 100% regularly. With my Arc Midi R2, and Formula VI board, the gap between two cards is only, 1 PCIE slot, and it’s causing my top card to hit the 95c threshold, and will throttle unless I put some fans on it.

        • Paul Young

          I got my pair for £480 or $722, when they were on a weekly offer about 4 months ago, what a bargain. I’ve always ran crossfire, mainly due to the extra VRAM, price, and bling factor, as you can’t beat a pair of graphics cards when put under water.