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VisionTek Makes a Cheaper Than DIY Water Cooled R9 290

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 19 comments

VisionTek makes a water-cooled Radeon R9 290 that's cheaper than a DIY solution!

VisionTek is announcing a new graphics card; this one is a bit interesting to say the least. The interesting thing about it is not so much the Radeon R9 290 graphics card or the EKWB water block that VisionTek has decided to equip it with, but rather the way it has been priced.

VisionTek's CRYOVENOM series cards are simply reference AMD Radeon R9 290 cards but with a water cooling block from EKWB slapped onto them. The clock speeds are set at 1175 MHz GPU, while the memory runs at an effective speed of 5.8 GHz. AMD reference clocks are 947 MHz GPU with memory clocked at an effective speed of 5.0 GHz.

We are used to seeing manufacturers sell graphics cards with water blocks on them, but normally when this happens you find a notable premium above the purchase price of both the graphics card and the appropriate water block. VisionTek has decided to take a different approach by pricing the set for less than that. It claims that its CRYOVENOM R9 290 graphics card is over $100 cheaper than doing it yourself, though that's assuming a $400 graphics card, $140 for the water block, $36 for the backplate, and testing and overclocking verification valued at $75. VisionTek even gives you a one-year warranty, which you won't have if you do it yourself.

The graphics card is already listed on VisionTek's website with an MSRP of $550.

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  • 15 Hide
    jcaulley_74 , January 8, 2014 9:13 PM
    @jin_mtvt The block is made by EK, it is a nickel plated solid copper heat plate that covers all the hot components. The top cover is Acrylic and the connector part is acetal. EK has been in the water cooling business for a while and makes some of the best water blocks around. Considering the card costs $400, the EK block is $140 and the backplate is $36. $550 for what you can't buy for less than $576 is a decent value. If you were looking to water cool a 290, you would be stupid to pay more than what you can get this for. And the one year warranty, the moment you remove the cooler from your card, your warranty is void, so one year is 365 days more than you get it you do this yourself and you save $26 in the process.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    Zac Lloyd-Jones , January 8, 2014 8:25 PM
    Wow that is really cheap. Usually when manufacturers stick a waterblock on for you they rip you off.
  • 8 Hide
    jcaulley_74 , January 8, 2014 8:54 PM
    I normally don't get too excited when I see an OEM water cooled card announcement. They always wayyy overprice (ahem, EVGA). I've never bought a VisionTek card before, but this might just be the excuse to give them a try seeing as how I have been eyeballing 290s and EK blocks already. It so rare and so very refreshing to see a company offer up a good value.
  • 15 Hide
    jcaulley_74 , January 8, 2014 9:13 PM
    @jin_mtvt The block is made by EK, it is a nickel plated solid copper heat plate that covers all the hot components. The top cover is Acrylic and the connector part is acetal. EK has been in the water cooling business for a while and makes some of the best water blocks around. Considering the card costs $400, the EK block is $140 and the backplate is $36. $550 for what you can't buy for less than $576 is a decent value. If you were looking to water cool a 290, you would be stupid to pay more than what you can get this for. And the one year warranty, the moment you remove the cooler from your card, your warranty is void, so one year is 365 days more than you get it you do this yourself and you save $26 in the process.
  • -1 Hide
    psychodegu , January 8, 2014 9:40 PM
    I feel like the only reason this is "cheaper" is because of the inflated price the R9 card have due to Bitcoin mining. Since the Bit miners don't water cool, they will have a harder time selling these at the inflated rice.
  • 0 Hide
    firefoxx04 , January 8, 2014 9:52 PM
    Can we shut up about the bitcoin/litecoin miners? Everyone is sooooo butt hurt that the cards keep selling out. You can buy the cards and use them for whatever you want.Anyways, $550 for one of the best cards on the market seems like a great price. Just look at past flagship card prices and compare them to this. Its a great deal regardless what the original reference cards went for.
  • 0 Hide
    tigger888 , January 9, 2014 12:54 AM
    When did this become engadget?
  • -5 Hide
    cats_Paw , January 9, 2014 12:56 AM
    I dont kile marketing tricks like these.
  • 1 Hide
    realibrad , January 9, 2014 7:04 AM
    Offering a product that other dont offer at a price point that is lower than the end user could DIY, then its not a "Trick." A luxury car that puts an umbrella in the door is not a trick simply because I dont want a luxury car and already have an umbrella.
  • -2 Hide
    DRosencraft , January 9, 2014 7:31 AM
    Umm... where does this price come from for the water block? I'm in the US, and from every retailer I've seen (not directly from EK) the most expensive 290 block from EK is $120. I won't quibble over the few dollars on the backplate, but the "verification and overclocking" is really an addition if you're comparing to a DIYer. Really, a direct comparison would be the warranty status and the price of parts and labor. Under that rubric the pricing is actually exactly the same, though as mentioned, you get the assurance of a warranty for the first year. Still a pretty good deal, just not the amazing deal they're suggesting.
  • 2 Hide
    Rhinofart , January 9, 2014 9:00 AM
    Damnit! They are sold out. I agree with Firefoxx04. Who cares about mining Bitcoin. You waste more money "mining" than you earn from it. The parts, the electricity, and for what? Some BS "currency" that the Chinese have likely already hacked (Would explain their outlawing of BitCoin and dumping it all so they can just steal it all later anyways). These cards are a good deal. Prebuilt with a good waterblock, factory overclocked and benched for max speed / stability. How can you go wrong? Which is why I ordered 2. Just have to wait for them to be back in stock. But in the meantime, I'll continue gaming away on my DIY Watercooled pair of 5990s. I just want to be able to play Titanfall at 2560x1440 with absolutely everything cranked to max.
  • 1 Hide
    lowguppy , January 9, 2014 12:17 PM
    Considering you pretty much have to spend $500 on a stock 290 right now anyways that is definitely a good price. It is a very pretty water block too.
  • 0 Hide
    jin_mtvt , January 9, 2014 5:05 PM
    I agree the price is right for the current situation.But it is nothing extraordinary as suggested.The reference card prices are coming down,i can currently get a 290 reference for ~480$CAD including BF4 .This particular card was 460$ when it launched.Newegg.ca and.com been having 290 and X version ( reference ) in stock for a few weeks now, though newegg is still boosting the prices because well, stupid people paid 550-600$ for a reference 290.Can you really blame newegg ? You can blame the little kids that couldn't wait for buying at that price after the mining boom.Plated copper? well then nice ...still if this sells for 120$ it actually means you get a year of warranty vs a diy solution for the same price.
  • 0 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , January 10, 2014 11:31 AM
    The $140 / $36 pricing is BS as:1. It's $26 more than I have ever paid for a EK WB / BP combo.2. What I paid included reseller markup3. As an OEM, they are certainly paying less per set than the EK resellers are.Still .....it's one of those win-win deals ..... the customer wins cause he feels like he saved $26 (even if the savings is based upon a bogus markup), but he dors get a warranty which he would not have had otherwise.EK wins cause a) they getting a lot of sales in one oder offsetting the price cut they musta gave.Vision Tek wins cause the WB / PC purchase is significantly offset by not having to add air cooler.Of the three, I'd have to say VT gets the most outta the deal tho.Oh, almost forgot..... I only charge myself $20 for testing and overclocking verification .... way less than VT
  • 1 Hide
    Rhinofart , January 10, 2014 1:12 PM
    WTF is with people and their grammar and spelling?
  • 1 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , January 10, 2014 1:18 PM
    If you're referring to me, my typing is a bit off as I have Dupytrens and am awaiting my 3rd hand surgery .... sorry that it bothers you.
  • 0 Hide
    lord hircine , January 10, 2014 7:14 PM
    Is this card maintenance-free like do i have to refill or clean the waterblock in this card from time to time or is it work free like the asetek sealed liquid coolers? And is this card stock as good as a stock gtx 780ti?
  • -1 Hide
    thequn , January 24, 2014 9:02 AM
    Assuming for a second that this was not sold out and you could buy this now it would be a good value. However if prices were normal and that default Card was back at 400 instead of the 529 dollar Default card that's on all the sites now its about 50 dollars over do your self value. Most of the Water-coolers don't use back plates so that nulls the idea out the gate. Right now the reference card is 120 dollars over market and if your forced to buy this is would be worth it. sadly.
  • 0 Hide
    Rhinofart , March 24, 2014 3:17 PM
    @ Jack. WTF does hand surgery have to do with knowing how to spell a simple word? I have ET and I still spell crap correctly.