XFX Radeon R9 290 Double Dissipation Video Card Review

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XFX Throws Some DDs Up On the Radeon R9 290

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The AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics card came out in October 2013 and gets a ton of attention due to the fact that it is the flagship single-GPU card by AMD. The AMD Radeon R9 290 came out a month later and doesn’t get much attention since it isn’t the flagship card. The funny thing is both share the same Hawaii GPU, albeit the Radeon R9 290 GPU has had 256 stream processors (9% fewer) and 16 texture units (9% fewer) fused off along with a 53MHz lower core clock (5% decrease). If you are okay with owning something other than the flagship card, the AMD Radeon R9 290 might be the right card for you.

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Today we will be reviewing the XFX Double Dissipation Radeon R9 290 4GB graphics card that is sold under part number R9290AEDFD for $439.99 shipped with a Limited Lifetime Warranty if you register within 30 days of purchase. It is powered by a single 28nm AMD Hawaii GPU that has 2,560 stream processors running at 947MHz and the 4GB of GDDR5 memory on a 512-bit wide bus that is clocked at 1250MHz (5000MHz effective). These clock speeds are fairly standard for a Radeon R9 290 from any brand, so we wouldn’t consider this a factory overclocked card. If you were looking for a factory overclocked card there is the XFX Black Edition DD R9 290 that is listed under part number R9290AEDBD for $504.99 shipped. That Black Edition series card is factory overclocked up to 980MHz and for that you’ll be paying an extra $65. Paying an extra $65 to get the same card with a 33MHz higher core clock is far from a deal though, so the best bang for the buck is clearly the standard Double D card that we are looking at here today.

 

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The XFX DD R9 290 4GB has two 90mm cooling fans (actual fan blade measurement is ~85mm) that each have 9-blades on them. XFX claims that the Double Dissipation GPU cooler with Ghost2 thermal cooling should offer improved cooling and reduced noise versus the AMD Radeon R9 290 reference card.  XFX is uses seven 6mm copper heatpipes on this card that measures 11.125″ in length. The black PCB measures 10.5-inches, but the GPU cooler extends past the end of the card by more than half an inch. This is a fairly long card, so be sure to measure your case before ordering! The XFX logo on the right side of the card has white LED’s behind it that are always on when the system is running. It looks great if you have a window as the inside of your case glows, but there is no way to easily turn them off.

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Looking down at the top of the card you can see the two sets of cooling fins with seven copper heatpipes running between them to help dissipate heat from the GPU. The black fan shroud oh the GPU cooler looks sharp with the chrome accent piece that wraps both sections of the housing. If you like black and silver, you should really like the look of this card!

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The XFX DD R9 290 supports up to six displays off a single card. All of the video outputs are full sized and you have DisplayPort 1.2 with Multi-Stream Transport, HDMI 1.4b and a pair of Dual-Link DVI outputs. The DVI outputs support screen resolutions up to 2560×1600 and the DP and HDMI ports support screen resolutions up to 4096×2160.

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The XFX Radeon R9 290 Double Dissipation video card has one 8-pin PCIe and one 6-pin PCIe power connector located along the top edge of the card that are both needed for proper operation. XFX suggests using a 750W or greater power supply for proper single card operation.Note that the backplate and GPU cooler extend well beyond the PCB.

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XFX kept the BIOS selector switch on the card, but there is just not BIOS on the card that has the maximum fan speed set to 45%. There is no Uber and Quiet mode on this Radeon R9 290 card. It should be noted that the card does ship with two BIOS’s on it, but both are identical. This switch is still useful though as if a BIOS every gets corrupted you can just switch over to the other one. There are also no CrossFire interconnects on this card as they are no longer needed to run CrossFire. If you get a second, third of fourth card you can just enable CrossFire in AMD’s Catalyst Control Center and go about your day.

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Here is a quick look at the back of the card. There is no backplate or memory ICs located on the back, so the only thing really worth pointing out is the serial number sticker.

Let’s take a look at the retail box or accessory bundle before we move along to benchmarking!

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  • John Doe

    Can someone kindly post the BIOS for Rev 3.1 and 4.0 please?

  • Dying_in_this_Crap_World

    xfs what a joke.

  • John Smith

    This is a pointless review when benchmarking at 4K with a single GPU, info is useless.

  • Eduardo (Arrow_Strider)

    Can you guys from Legit Reviews point ou the differences between 3.0, 3.1 and 4.0 of this card? Just bought one and i’m looking for ways to unlock fan RPM.

  • jz100

    HardwareCanucks review got much better results out of this card than this review did.

  • jz100

    I like the looks of the casing around the card a lot. Although maybe that’s the reason why its getting so hot? It doesn’t look like there are many places for the air to escape.

  • Casecutter

    Sad… Did you happen to reach out to XFX regarding your findings, and did they respond?… From my experience probably not. I have been more apt lately to say don’t consider XFX cards, they’re now what HIS was 3-4 years ago…

    Heck today I’d promote HIS brand cards over XFX every time! XFX seemed to lost any “Cred” once they released the HD6XXX stuff, and hardly a card manufactured for enthusiasts.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      We contacted XFX about the stuttering issue and 128C temps we were hitting on VRM1 and they were quick to respond and offered to send a replacement card. That card is going on the test bench tonight and we’ll try it out and see what happens!

      • Christopher

        What does the new card say about the VRM1 temps?

        • Nathan Kirsch

          XFX sent a new card. It is a version 3.1 model, whereas the original model was version 3.0. The vBIOS ID is the same, but the v3.1 cards fan spins at 67% and the v3.0 card fans spin at 45% under gaming load. This lowered temperatures on the card (GPU, VRM1, VRM2), but it is also much louder now. When playing BF4 I am hitting 71C load on the GPU, VRM1 is getting up to 84C and VRM2 is getting up to 56C. This is much better and the stuttering is gone. Not sure anything else was done to the card besides increasing the fan speed. XFX has not responded two my last 2 e-mails and I’ve been waiting for a response for 8 days from them as to what all the changes were.

        • Kir

          Could you tell me if it safe to run the card when vrm gets so hot for a few month?

        • Nathan Kirsch

          I have asked AMD and they pretty much say it isn’t an issue. From the people I talked to it appears that between 100-110 is acceptable. The card is designed to throttle at 128C, but I would assume there is a safety margin there as well. If you plan on running something really intensive for a few months you might want to manually bump up the fan speed to get the VRM1 temps down as low as your ears will allow.

        • Kir

          Thank you mr. Kirshch. Also i’m still trying to get a clear answer if it typical for all R9 290/290X including non reference cards to drop clock under load. My card does drop in some cases (Valley, Heaven, Metro 2033) and does not in Tomb Raider, Crysis 2,3 BF3, BF4. Sometimes it happens once in a minute or 2 sometimes more frequent split second dips on msi ab core clock graph

        • Nathan Kirsch

          You can thank PowerTune 2.0 for that and it sounds normal if the card is near a limit for something. Once you get a card cool enough, say with liquid cooling, you never see that behavior.

        • jz100

          I just received this card from Amazon, but haven’t tried it yet. It says its version 4.0 on the box.

  • Hoster

    I have read a few mixed reviews on the XFX DD 290 during the last several weeks with regard to temperature output. I’ve been running the card in my new rig since March 5th, and I could not be happier with its thermals.

    I modestly overclocked the card to 1004mhz on the GPU and 1325mhz on the memory without increasing the voltage. Even at those levels, on ultra settings at 1920 x 1080, I cannot push the card beyond 78 degrees Celsius on Furmark, Valley or under multiple gaming environments (e.g., RAGE, Doom 3 and Max Payne 3). Now, perhaps that is because I haven’t run anything at higher resolutions, or perhaps it is because the ambient temperatures in my basement are pretty damn chilly (58 degrees F)… But, in relative comparison to my old Radeon 4850, which would heat up to 97 degrees after 20 minutes of Painkiller HD at 1080, the thermals on this card are nothing short of phenomenal.

    Also, I absolutely agree with the noise thresholds… The fans are extremely quiet, even at higher loads. Again, perhaps it is because I am accustomed to blower-style GPU coolers.

  • Kir

    I have an MSI R9 290X Gaming. And i got exactly the same problem with VRM1 temperature. In my case the reason why it runs so hot are trivial. Factory defect, there is no thermal pads between the VRM and heatsink.

    • ANTI GOOGLI

      Hi, I have the DC2 version from asus. And Vrm´s are very hot after 2 hours of BF3 online. The vrm1 it´s the 90ºC! At stock clocks.
      It seems the lightining and trix version are the ones who offer proper cooling

      • Kir

        Twin Frozr IV does a good job cooling the VRMs and GPU too, just not mine

  • Sherman J. Buster

    I have this exact card. Run Afterburner and set a fan profile to control temperatures. I basically match the fan speed to the temperature on a one-for-one basis (40 degrees = 40% fan speed, 70 degrees = 70%). Since doing this, I have yet to see this card overheat and start throttling performance, and it still isn’t loud. I read somewhere that these cards ship with AMD’s stock bios, that is why the fans are not being utilized like they should. The fans are being run like it is a reference card needing to balance temperature control to volume. A good fan profile in the bios would have made this card so much better. Still love mine though.

    • Dave

      This has been my experience too. I have 2 of these cards in crossfire.