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ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II vs Asus GTX780 OC DirectCU II

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 9, 2014 7:40:51 PM

Hey guys, building a new PC this month & I'm debating which card to get. I've read reviews & some benchmarks & the 290X seems like the OBVIOUS choice, but I've also heard a lot about how they get very hot, even with these aftermarket coolers which is slightly concerning. Not to mention NVIDIA has much better drivers & I've always used them. Here's the two cards:

ASUS Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II OC - $599.99
ASUS GeForce GTX 780 OC DirectCU II - $589.99

I will be running an ASUS 24" 1080p monitor, so I KNOW both cards are overkill for now, but I also plan on getting a 27" 1440p hopefully near the end of the year, so I would need the extra horsepower then. The other PC components are:

- i5 4670k with h100i
- Asus Maximus VI Hero (possibly VII Hero z97 if it's available)
- 16GB G.skill either Sniper 1866 or Trident 2400 (depends what NCIX has in stock at the time)
- Samsung EVO 250GB SSD

One thing I was also debating was possibly getting 8GB of RAM and using that extra $100 to get an i7 4770k. Would 8GB be enough for gaming & better used for an i7? I don't edit videos or photos, it will just be gaming/movies.
May 9, 2014 7:52:04 PM

The 290x you have chosen isn't a Direct CUII, it is a reference card, this reference cards cooling solution is terrible and will run hot. (the non reference ASUS card would look like the 780 design).

If you chose between the 290x and the 780, both non reference cards then the 780 Cooling is better, even though they use the same design the chips are smaller on AMD cards and ASUS never modified the heat pipes to cover the whole chip meaning only 1 pipe has full contact whereas the 780 Asus card...the heat pipes actually cover the whole chip meaning it runs cooler.

this is the non reference ASUS 290x.

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5-ASUS-Graph...

I definitely would go with the 780.

8gb is plenty for gaming. It's usually what most gamers have.

Save your money and get the 4670k, for what you need the price to performance is amazing and for gaming you wont notice much of a difference. The 4670k is a fantastic CPU.
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May 9, 2014 7:52:17 PM

8gb is more than enough for gaming, I'd say get the i7. Go with GTX 780 for the gpu, it gives out less heat.

Recommendation: Use the extra $100 to buy the GTX 780Ti instead of those 2. It gives you more performance than any of those cards, and again less heat. After this build is finished save some money and buy the i7.

(I heard the i5 4670K and the i7 4770K will not work with Z97 boards, not sure though)
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May 9, 2014 8:01:17 PM

In a nutshell, get a non-reference 780, for what you need don't bother getting the 780ti.

As for the CPU get a 4670k, you will save money and the performance difference (especially in games is pretty small) in comparison to the 4770k.

You can get a Z97 board, it supports 1150 socket so the CPU will work. Although you could also pick up a nice z87 as with this build it will last you quite a few years.

8GB is plenty, most gamers have about 8GB. Games don't even use that much but 8GB is a good amount.
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May 9, 2014 8:04:16 PM

Thanks both for the quick replies. I did some reading and I am just going to stick with the i5 for now. i7 is more for rendering/encording/photo or vidoe editing & I will just be gaming. As for the RAM, looks like I will just save some money & get an 8GB kit then.

As for the video card, it's the wrong picture but the right card. The part # listed is: R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5
If you type that into the ASUS website, you get THIS. So it actually is the right card, they just messed up the picture.

In any case, I was leaning towards the 780 but the 290X seems to outperform it in almost every benchmark. The only issue is the fact that it runs much hotter & the drivers are definitely not as good as NVIDIA's.

Oh & the z97 boards will be using socket LGA1150, so yes, they will work with both current i3/i5/i7 CPU's and the new Haswell refresh ones as well.
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May 9, 2014 8:13:31 PM

Ow yeah, Again for your needs 3GB is plenty, I didn't realise you were looking at the 4GB 290x, then that would out perform the 780 but to be honest 4Gb is for like 3+ monitor surround gaming and price/performance it loses.

Agreed Nvidia drivers are MUCH better (always from the website, not geforce experience). Defiantly go with the 780.

And yeah since they support your CPU then get a z97, gives you the option to upgrade in the future (long future with this build) although get a nice make and read reviews etc. I favor ASUS motherboards most because of the quality, features and customer service.

And the reason the 290x runs hotter is because Asus didn't adapt their heat pipes/cooling solution for AMDs smaller chips. here is a good picture.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/R9_290X_Direct_...

You see how only one heat pipe is in FULL contact then half of the other heat pipes and then the two outer heatpipes aren't even touching the chip.
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May 9, 2014 8:22:49 PM

IRyannHD said:
Ow yeah, Again for your needs 3GB is plenty, I didn't realise you were looking at the 4GB 290x, then that would out perform the 780 but to be honest 4Gb is for like 3+ monitor surround gaming and price/performance it loses.

Agreed Nvidia drivers are MUCH better (always from the website, not geforce experience). Defiantly go with the 780.

And yeah since they support your CPU then get a z97, gives you the option to upgrade in the future (long future with this build) although get a nice make and read reviews etc. I favor ASUS motherboards most because of the quality, features and customer service.

And the reason the 290x runs hotter is because Asus didn't adapt their heat pipes/cooling solution for AMDs smaller chips. here is a good picture.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/R9_290X_Direct_...

You see how only one heat pipe is in FULL contact then half of the other heat pipes and then the two outer heatpipes aren't even touching the chip.

Thanks for the reply, you definitely helped me make up my mind. I can't believe ASUS couldn't even be bothered to tailor their cooling solution to the 290x, seems quite lazy.

Looks like I will stick with the i5 4670k, save $ and get only 8GB of ram & then spend the extra few bucks to get this z97 board when it comes out next week: ASUS Maximus VII Hero
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May 9, 2014 8:42:01 PM

inphared said:
IRyannHD said:
Ow yeah, Again for your needs 3GB is plenty, I didn't realise you were looking at the 4GB 290x, then that would out perform the 780 but to be honest 4Gb is for like 3+ monitor surround gaming and price/performance it loses.

Agreed Nvidia drivers are MUCH better (always from the website, not geforce experience). Defiantly go with the 780.

And yeah since they support your CPU then get a z97, gives you the option to upgrade in the future (long future with this build) although get a nice make and read reviews etc. I favor ASUS motherboards most because of the quality, features and customer service.

And the reason the 290x runs hotter is because Asus didn't adapt their heat pipes/cooling solution for AMDs smaller chips. here is a good picture.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/R9_290X_Direct_...

You see how only one heat pipe is in FULL contact then half of the other heat pipes and then the two outer heatpipes aren't even touching the chip.

Thanks for the reply, you definitely helped me make up my mind. I can't believe ASUS couldn't even be bothered to tailor their cooling solution to the 290x, seems quite lazy.

Looks like I will stick with the i5 4670k, save $ and get only 8GB of ram & then spend the extra few bucks to get this z97 board when it comes out next week: ASUS Maximus VII Hero


Yeah, big mistake on ASUS's end, I think they may have been behind so they rushed out their cards with the same design to keep up with the competition, it still works but no where near as efficient as it could be. I'm surprised they haven't changed it to adapt now they are still in the market along with EVGA, MSI etc.

And I've heard from leaks and other sources it's meant to be a BEAST of a motherboard.
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May 9, 2014 8:58:34 PM

IRyannHD said:

Yeah, big mistake on ASUS's end, I think they may have been behind so they rushed out their cards with the same design to keep up with the competition, it still works but no where near as efficient as it could be. I'm surprised they haven't changed it to adapt now they are still in the market along with EVGA, MSI etc.

And I've heard from leaks and other sources it's meant to be a BEAST of a motherboard.

Yeah it was a mistake for sure. I'm still kinda torn though since they are the SAME price at the moment and a 290x is definitely the better card. I won't be getting a 1440p monitor for a good 6 months or so though, & by that time, I was planning on getting a second video card. I've heard SLi is better than Crossfire too, so that's another thing in favor of the NVIDIA.
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May 9, 2014 9:05:27 PM

It's really up to personal preference, if they are the same price then get the 290x 4gb as it will run better, faster and hotter, although go for a different brand like EVGA.

Knowing how ASUS cheaped out on the AMD cooling. I prefer Nvidia for their drivers, SLI, game optimization + the crazy performance increase from each driver. But if other 4gb 290x brands are dearer then personally I would go for the 780, purely because I would rather have a card that runs cooler and close in performance than a cheaper card where the cooling solution was not properly done.
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May 9, 2014 9:12:23 PM

IRyannHD said:
It's really up to personal preference, if they are the same price then get the 290x 4gb as it will run better, faster and hotter, although go for a different brand like EVGA.

Knowing how ASUS cheaped out on the AMD cooling. I prefer Nvidia for their drivers, SLI, game optimization + the crazy performance increase from each driver. But if other 4gb 290x brands are dearer then personally I would go for the 780, purely because I would rather have a card that runs cooler and close in performance than a cheaper card where the cooling solution was not properly done.

Alright, you convinced me, GTX780 it is. Thanks for your input.
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May 9, 2014 9:14:48 PM

No problem man, happy to help and have fun with the build :D 
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