So there you have it, the R9 280 really is the Radeon HD 7950 rebadged, tweaked and boosted. But for the money, that is still a kick-ass card with a nice 3 GB of graphics memory. Next to that HIS totally revamped the product, and you can opt the factory overclocked product as shown today. As a result this product runs at roughly Radeon HD 7970 GHz/Boost edition performance, and that is nothing to be ashamed about really!
We really do like the IceQ X2 Turbo edition that HIS offers here today and the product as shown today sells for only 200 EUR (give or take a little), that is a lot of value for money performance wise. The card is lengthy though, be sure to check out that it'll fit inside your chassis with its close to 30cm thus roughly 12 Inches length. Stability and performance wise you'll never have anything to complain about and when you opt an IceQ model, noise never is an issue either. That makes their graphics card above average and well respected. But let's talk about the regulars. Now honestly, this really is the Radeon HD 7950 Boost/GHz edition (the one that can boost the clock frequency). With a few tweaks we see it perform close to or faster than that Radeon HD 7970 GHz edition. The sheer reality is that this is a Tahiti GPU plastered on a PCB with another cooler and a different label on the box. You'll maybe able to see 5 to 10% performance differences but overall that's it. The pricing however is terrific alright.
See, fact remains though that the AMD R9-280 is a very capable card with its 3GB graphics memory partition. You can play games easily at Full HD and even WQHD 2560x1440; as such the card remains in a sweet-spot.
When you look at the Radeon R9-280 overall, performance, Eyefinity features, PCIe gen 3 compatibility and all other stuff then we can only conclude that we like these cards belong in the mainstream to high-end (not enthusiast) graphics card arena. For those that embrace multi-monitor gaming, it's for you guys that AMD decided to go for that massive 3 GB framebuffer / graphics memory. This product is cooling fairly well, expect roughly 60 Degrees C or lower under heavy GPU load in a proper ventilated PC.
Directly related to the cooling are the noise levels. With one card installed you are absolutely fine. In both idle and under stress you simply can hardly hear this card. In that respect the dual-fan IceQ X² cooler is performing just really well, and that's music in our ears. Cooling performance wise you have nothing to complain about either, the idle levels hover in the low 30 Degrees C and stressed we barely got the GPU towards 60 Degrees C. That is as good as it's going to get with a GPU of this class really.
The board is rated with a fairly high 200 Watt TDP, that means when you completely stress it, that's the power consumption. Our measurements showed the board TDP is actually substantially below 200 Watt, very reasonable for this kind of performance especially when you take into account that the product is factory overclocked for you. Just as impressive is the board's IDLE power state, in desktop mode when not in use it can throttle down and disable huge segments of the GPU allowing it to draw 10 Watt only. Once your monitor jumps into energy saving / sleep mode then the power draw drops towards 2.7 Watt. Since you do not game all day long, that's where the most power saving can be found.
Overclocking then, we see average results thus far on ALL brands we tested, we could set the card at 1125 MHz with a wee bit of additional voltage. After 1150 MHz stability caves in pretty fast though. In contrast to much regulation from NVIDIA, AMD is leaving the voltage bandwidth threshold much wider Up-to 1.3 Volts, and that really is enough for a nice air-cooled overclock experience. I'll say this once, NVIDIA took away the fun from proper overclocking, AMD still is allowing a lot of stuff. Though they are slowly getting on the same path with power, load and voltage limiters. By overall tweaking this card should get you anywhere from 5 to 15% additional performance.
The Radeon R9 280 is the Tahiti Pro aka Radeon HD 7950 being re-spun. HIS did a terrific job though, nice clocks frequencies, custom PCB and cooler and a little extra tweaking room makes this one of the better 280 cards currently available. Anyone with a monitor up-to 1920x1080/1200 will see good performance with the latest games available whilst applying harsh image quality settings as well and at 2560x1440 you are still good to go albeit you will have to forfeit on AA or image quality settings with the latest titles. If you can spot this product for roughly 200 EUR then we feel it's a really nice deal that we can recommend very much. The HIS Radeon HDR9-280 IceQ X² OC is a little big in size though, but the cooling performance is great, the noise levels very low, in fact silent
Summed up - Any game will play at a resolution of 1080P perfectly fine with proper image quality settings. Even 2560x1440 is in reach. Aside from cooler and its great performance added benefits are the factory overclock, the four display outputs and overall just a really nice product that will guarantee you a pleasant gaming experience as these cards have plenty of performance to work with.
You can pick up the product for 279 USD, and you'll receive 150 USD worth of free games from the Never Settle Forever bundle to choose as well. Good deal.
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