Sapphire Releases Performance-boosting BIOS for its R9-290
Sapphire has released a performance-enhancing BIOS for its R9-290 graphics cards, and given us the announcement that we've all been waiting for.
The Radeon R9-290 and Radeon R9-290X graphics cards have become known for being very powerful, though very loud as well. One of the key characteristics of the graphics cards is the way that their thermals, fan speeds and clock speeds are managed. Since the graphics cards stock coolers are not powerful enough by default to run the card at full speed, AMD's PowerTune technology will dynamically turn down the GPUs clock speed to prevent the GPU from overheating.
Previously, the default maximum fan speed that the cards operated at was 40 percent. While this still stands for the R9-290X, to give the R9-290 a performance boost, AMD had released a driver update to get the fan running at 47 percent. Now, Sapphire has done the same thing for its own R9-290, however, rather than releasing it in the form of a driver, it has released a new BIOS for the graphics card. While in practice you're unlikely to notice a difference between a driver fix or a BIOS fix, it is somewhat reassuring knowing that it is now hardcoded into the BIOS, and not ran as an override.
Furthermore, while no details were provided, Sapphire has announced that in the coming weeks it will be coming out with various different R9-290 graphics cards built on its own designs, with better cooling solutions. If you're in the market for an R9-290 card, you're probably better off waiting for custom cards to come out, unless you don't mind the hassle of slapping a big Arctic Accelero Xtreme III cooler onto it.