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

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Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 8 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. It should be noted that we average all of our test runs. There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we’ve always done out testing ‘hot’ since the site started back more than a decade ago.

Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 337.50
  • AMD CATALYST 14.4 Beta

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

xfx-test-system

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard with BIOS 1501 that came out on 01/15/2014. We went with the Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E processor to power this platform as it is PCIe 3.0 certified, so all graphics cards are tested with PCI Express Gen 3 enabled. The Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary 16GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to XMP Profile #2. This profile defaults to 2133MHz with 1.65v and 11-12-12-30 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD was run with latest firmware available. A Corsair AX860i digital power supply provides clean power to the system and is also silent as the fan hardly ever spins up. This is critical to our testing as it lowers the ambient noise level of the room and gives us more accurate sound measurements than the old Corsair AX1200 power supply that we used from 2012 till this year that had a loud fan that always ran.

gpu-test-system-specs

Here are the exact hardware components that we are using on our test system:

The Intel X79 Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

 

Intel Core i7-4960X

 

Motherboard

ASUS P9X79-E WS

 

Memory

16GB Kingston 2133MHz

 

Video Card

 

Various

 

Solid-State Drive

 

OCZ Vertex 460 240GB

 

Cooling

 

Intel TS13X (Asetek)

 

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

 

Operating System

 

Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

 

Monitor

 

Sharp PN-K321 32″ 4K

 

XFX Double D Radeon R9 290 4GB Video Card GPU-Z Info:

290-crossfire-gpuz

 

Print
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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.