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

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions

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The pair of XFX Radeon R9 290 4GB Double Dissipation graphics card ran great in CrossFire mode and really did improve our 4K Ultra HD gaming experience. It isn’t easy to run games at 3840×2160, but this setup was able to do just that. Two of these cards should easily power a 3840×2160, 2560×1440, 1920×1080 or on most any AMD Eyefinity setup. The AMD Hawaii GPU with GCN is a very powerful GPU and when you aren’t gaming you can give mining litecoins a try.

When it comes to single card versus 2-way CrossFire performance in general, we saw an average performance increase of 82.5 in the six game titles that we tested. This is pretty decent scaling for a 4K Ultra HD setup. Overclocking performance was also stellar as we were able to take the cards in CrossFire from 947Mhz to 1100MHz on the core clock for a significant gaming boost. Performance was so good that we were cussing our 4K 30Hz display more than anything. There are several 4K Ultra HD displays that run 60Hz on the horizon. One of those is the ASUS PB287Q. The ASUS PB287Q is a 28-inch display that runs natively 60Hz with a 1ms response time, so should be great for gaming. And the price isn’t bad as it is expected to be around $799. Game titles support 4K and we have video cards that are powerful enough to push 4K worth of pixels, so the only thing missing is an affordable display that is aimed at PC gamers.

We had concerns about VRM temperatures on the XFX Radeon R9 290 4GB Double Dissipation in our original review, but it appears that XFX has been able to remedy that situation by changing the fan speed tables in the cards BIOS. The cards pair of fans now run at ~70% instead of 45% when gaming and that moves enough air to keep the VRM temperatures below 100C on the inside card on our open air CrossFire setup. The only downside to the ‘fix’ is that you get much more fan noise due to the fans spinning at  greater speeds.

XFX’s Radeon R9 290 graphics card with the Double Dissipation cooler is sold under part number R9290AEDFD for $439.99 shipped with a Limited Lifetime Warranty if you register within 30 days of purchase. This means you are looking around $900 for a CrossFire setup. That is a fair chunk of change, but when you look at the performance numbers compared to the $1500 AMD Radeon R9 295X2 it doesn’t look that bad.

 

Legit Bottom Line: A pair of AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB graphics cards offer solid performance for those looking at an Ultra HD setup and the price tag is better than some of the other high-end options out there.

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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

        Thanks!

        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.