Sapphire Reveals Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X Tri-X Cards

At last, custom Radeon R9-290 and R-290X graphics cards are coming out. Sapphire has joined the crowd and expanded its arsenal with its R9 290 Tri-X and R9 290X Tri-X graphics cards.

The cards are based on the reference PCB, though feature custom cooling solutions, making them address the biggest complaint of the 'Hawaii'-based graphics cards.

The Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X GPU is clocked at a frequency of 1040 MHz, which is a 40 MHz boost over the reference speed. It still features the same 4 GB of memory, but it is now clocked at an effective speed of 5.2 GHz – 200 MHz faster than reference.

The  Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X OC's clock speed has been bumped to 1 GHz, and the memory has received the same bump as the R9-290X variant of the card.

Sapphire's Tri-X cooler was first spotted on the company's R9 280X TOXIC edition card. The cooler features three fans, each with dust repelling bearings as well as aerofoil section blades. These blow air through a pair of aluminum fin stacks, which take heat from the GPU through heat pipes.

The cards will ship with BattleField 4 and will be arriving to shops soon. Currently, the cards are in production.

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  • jkhoward
    Beautiful. I hope this card ships with a back plate.
  • Innocent_Bystander
    Hope your case has a lot of fans if this baby dumps the heat of a 290x in it.

  • Christopher Shaffer
    Speaking of heat, I will never buy another Sapphire card until I see they've improved their cooling solution.

    My 7870 was a great card, in terms of performance, but their cooler just didn't cut it. It ran a full 10C hotter than my Asus DCII or Gigabyte Windforce cards.

    I eventually removed the cooler to inspect and try to get a better contact. What I found was horrendous: There was enough thermal paste to probably cover 3 or 4 cards and it had spilled all over the edges of the GPU. The contact area (copper plate) of the cooler was milled to a surface quality of maybe a meat tenderizer. It was seriously rough to the touch and the mill marks were clearly visible. The surface angle was actually convex; probably about 3-5 degrees, and it wasn't even convex to center. This might be okay on a CPU, but considering the Pitcairn GPU is actually perfectly flat, it's clearly less than optimal. Some 0000 steel wool helped to smooth out the surface and flatten it, but not without some serious (and what should be entirely unnecessary) elbow grease.

    Sapphire makes great cards. Their coolers need some work. This same issue scares me away from the MSI cards as their Frozr coolers look exactly the same; it's like they're manufactured by the same company.

    For a card as hot as the 290/290x I'd be weary of any Sapphire solutions until I see some performance reviews.