XFX Radeon R9 290 Double Dissipation Video Card Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions

XFX DD Radeon R9 290

The XFX Double Dissipation R9 290 graphics card left us with mixed feelings. The card had one of the quietest GPU coolers that we have ever see on a Radeon R9 290 series card, but it also had very high VRM temperatures. On our open air test system in a room that was 66F we encountered stuttering when gaming due to the VRM overheating and the cards core clock speed was dropped from 947MHz to 300MHz to cool down the GPU. This is the first time we have encountered VRM overheating on a custom cooled Add-In-Board partner card! By improving the airflow behind our card we were able to drop the VRM temperature enough to keep that from happening, but it showed that the airflow from the fans on this card might not be enough for everyone. When we bumped up the fan speed from 45% to 100% we dropped the GPU temperature by 32C and VRM1 by 59C! Those are massive temperature decreases and since this card runs so quiet, we feel that XFX could easily bump up the maximum fan speed to better cool this card. You wouldn’t want to run the fans at 100% speed at all times, but you can use an overclocking utility and create your own custom fan profile to dial this card in to find the right settings for you.

We cranked up the fan speed to overclock this card and easily reached 1100MHz on the core with no GPU voltage increase. This overclock on the XFX DD R9 290 helped improve gaming performance by roughly 10% across the board and that meant that this card was able to perform like a reference AMD Radeon R9 290X for far less money. The XFX Double Dissipation R9 290 4GB did okay on our 4K Ultra HD monitor at 3840×2160 and should run like a champ at 2560×1440, 1920×1080 or on most any AMD Eyefinity setups. The AMD Hawaii GPU with GCN is a very powerful GPU and will do great when put to the task of gaming or mining litecoins.

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 card is by no means cheap, but it looks great and offers a great bang for the buck. We won’t be giving this cards any awards due to the high VRM temperatures, but if you have a case with good airflow it shouldn’t be an issue. If you stick this card in a small form factor chassis with poor airflow we would suspect that the VRM temperatures will be over 100C and that you might get some stuttering in game titles like we did on our open air test bench system.

 

Legit Bottom Line: The XFX double Dissipation R9 290 4GB graphics card looks great and is super duper quiet, but had pretty high VRM temperatures and that gave us some reservations.

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  • 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.