MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC review

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Final Words & Conclusion

Final Words & Conclusion

The MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC is sexy and tasty in many ways, great looks, relatively silent, nice cold temperatures and all that combined with its overall performance makes it a very desirable graphics card. The Twinfrozr cooling is a well designed concept that gets the most out of the card alright. 

Cooling & Noise Levels

So where the reference cooled products are to be considered really average at 95 Degrees C, the TwinFrozr cooler does make a significant difference. This dual-slot simply looks and cools great, if anything the card produced the best FLIR imaging results out of all 290X cards tested. The PCB is customized and you will only see MSI's components based on their 'Military class', lovely. Two subtle and silent fans in all black make this a good looking package alright. Great looking and very sturdy I must state as well, there is a metal plate at the top of the card so the card can not bend when seated horizontally in the PC. The backside of the card comes with a really terrific back-plate, the hottest sections like VRM area and GPU have gaps, allowing hot air to vent away instead of trapping it in-between the PCB and back-plate, good stuff alright.


 

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Power Consumption

Power consumption is not bad but again not good either, the card is rated by us having a 280~290 Watt TDP. That is high, but in perspective, it is 30 to 40 Watts away from Titan. So that could have been worse. I think enthusiast consumers at this performance level will not mind that much about the power draw and be forgiving. That 290 Watt TDP also will make running multi-GPU solutions a bit more complicated. With two card we think an 800~900 Watt PSU would be sufficient. So yeah, it's not great to have a GPU consuming that much power, but it could have been a lot worse.

Game Performance

Any AMD R9 290X in most scenarios will be performing roughly at Titan or GeForce GTX 780 Ti like performance, that it pretty kick ass for just one GPU with a nicer price-tag. Performance wise really there's not one game that won't run seriously good at either of the cards, and that is at the very best image quality settings. And you do it all with a nice 30" monitor of course, at 2560x1440/1600. I mean BioShock infinite at Ultra quality levels is still oozing out 60+ FPS there. Or what about Hitman Absolution with 67+ FPS at 2560x1600 High quality and 2xMSAA?  It's really nice performance. And especially for those with Ultra High Definition gaming in mind, the 290/290X will make sense setup in Crossfire. That would be a sweet spot and you'd have 4 GB of graphics memory per GPU.

Overclocking

Overclocking then, now I expected this board to be the best overclocker out of all cards tested, and then Murphy's law kicked in as it is the opposite. Anything passing 1145 MHz resulted into issues with whatever voltage or other settings we tried. I pretty much state this in any review, our tweaking results can differ per card and batch, it looks like the role was reversed this time. Now it's not bad at all, I mean the card is already factory overclocked for you and you get to add a little extra, but sure, it's not heaps alright. You can reach roughly 1125 MHz on the GPU stable. The memory can be clocked to almost 6000 MHz (effective). Overall that brings the card another 5 maybe 10% performance when compared to reference clock frequencies. It is a reasonable tweak but nothing special. A bit of a warning, it seems that AMD still automatically apply the overclock at startup. be careful with that? Push it too far and with the settings pre-applied, there is a possibility that the card would crash during Windows bootup/start. So be sure that you know what you are doing.

Guru3d-approved

Concluding

Tweaking results aside, the MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC is a serious product that has all variables right. Proper cooling temperatures, normal noise levels, great looks, a factory overclock and obviously the raw sheer unadulterated gaming performance you need to play the very latest games at high resolutions with stringent image quality settings. next to that, we like the total of 4 GB graphics memory as well. MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC is the kind of productI'd use in my gaming PC with a smile, knowing it's all good, silent and high performing. We feel AMD made an average choice with the reference coolers of the 290X, I mean it's a great card but the 94 Degrees C temperature target is a hint troublesome for many of you guys. Cards like the MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC however eliminates that mostly thanks to the cooler. In fact you'll even have more reserve to actually be able to purchase a factory higher clocked version. In the end products like shown today will make the entire enthusiast segment will go down a little in pricing. A problem right now is that prices of the card remain artificially high due to high demand. While great for AMD, it is not so great for gamers. The 290/290X cards are truly excellent litecoin hash miners (bitcoin competition). And as such the cards are in high demand by non gamers. Regardless, we can only conclude that the MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC edition is a very smexy product, with its great volume of 4GB graphics memory and raw rendering performance it will surely offer you an extensive amount of gaming performance into your PC.

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290 or 290X ? Realistically that is a tough decision, personally if the price difference is extensive enough, the regular 290 cards will offer best value for money. In any case the MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming OC is recommended and approved by Guru3D.com

Come'on look at that, that is a nice looking card alright.


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