PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X Review: Cool, Quiet, And Priced Right

Box Contents, Dimensions, And Weight

Box Contents

PowerColor does not include many accessories. Its box contains one driver CD and a 6-to-8-pin PCIe power adapter. But why bother with accessories that most customers don't even need? I prefer an aggressive price tag to a big bundle every single time.

Lab Note about the Dimensions

The dimensions reported here don't necessarily match the manufacturer's official technical specifications. Rather, we measure them by hand to assure they're correct. The image and chart below should help illustrate what each measurement actually means. Auxiliary PCI Express power connectors are not included; they have to be added depending on the power plug and cable design.

Dimensions Comparison

While the PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X is a 2.5-slot card, and consequently requires that you set aside three expansion slots to accommodate it, the board's 4.3" height is the lowest we've ever seen from a Radeon R9 290X. The PCS+'s other dimensions confirm that this card is indeed massive, though.

ModelsLength (L)Height (H)Depth (D1)Depth (D2)
Asus R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5 R9 290X DirectCU II OC11.3”5.6”1.5”0.16”
Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X12.0”4.5”1.5”0.16”
Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD R9 290X Windforce OC11.1”4.8”1.5”0.16”
HIS R9 290X IceQ X² Turbo11.7”5.3”1.4”0.16”
MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G11.0”4.7”1.5”0.24”
MSI R9 290X Lightning12.0”4.8”2.1”0.20”
PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X11.6”4.3”1.8”0.23”

Weight

The weight of a card might be interesting if you're trying to figure out if any additional support is needed, or to calculate the amount of stress your motherboard might be under in a CrossFire-based setup. Compared to its impressive volume, however, the PCS+ R9 290X is actually quite light. In fact, only HIS' slim card is lighter.

Models
Asus R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5 R9 290X DirectCU II OC2.5 lbs
Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X2.3 lbs
Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD R9 290X Windforce OC2.3 lbs
HIS R9 290X IceQ X² Turbo2.2 lbs
MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G2.3 lbs
MSI R9 290X Lightning3.5 lbs
PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X2.24 lbs
Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
30 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • CaptainTom
    I just want to point out that this and most 290X's beat a stock 780 Ti. The fact is both 780 Ti and the 290X are trade blows and belong on the same GPU tier. However only one does cost $150 less and come with 4GB VRAM...
    18
  • Other Comments
  • combine1237
    For some reason I thought the pcs+ used hynix.
    0
  • CaptainTom
    I just want to point out that this and most 290X's beat a stock 780 Ti. The fact is both 780 Ti and the 290X are trade blows and belong on the same GPU tier. However only one does cost $150 less and come with 4GB VRAM...
    18
  • Memnarchon
    Anonymous said:
    I just want to point out that this and most 290X's beat a stock 780 Ti. The fact is both 780 Ti and the 290X are trade blows and belong on the same GPU tier. However only one does cost $150 less and come with 4GB VRAM...


    Well, since you are comparing a non reference GPU, you should take also a non-reference GPU to compare.
    Tom's using Gigabyte's 780ti OC which costs the same as the reference card...

    So even the non-reference models are on a different tier as well as their reference...
    5
  • bemused_fred
    Any chance of measurements in metric as well as imperial?
    -1
  • FormatC
    Anonymous said:
    Any chance of measurements in metric as well as imperial?


    Typical translation errors, the original is in metric ;)
    http://www.tomshardware.de/powercolor-r9-290x-pcs-review,testberichte-241519-3.html4

    I will clearify with Chris, that we use both in the future. Metric is worldwide more common :D
    4
  • dave_trimble
    Surprised the benchmark graph show performance at 1080p. Aren't the 290 series kind of wasted at that resolution? I would love to see the results at 1440p or even 4k. I have a feeling the 780ti might not look quite as good in comparison at higher resolution.
    3
  • photonboy
    A stock GTX780Ti is 7% faster at 2560x1440, and 8% faster at 1920x1080 (18 games averaged):
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/EVGA/GTX_780_Ti_SC_ACX_Cooler/26.html

    With such a HUGE difference in prices, quality, and performance on all top-end cards you really have to do your research.

    The R9-290X prices vary from $550 to $780 USD!
    3
  • dave_trimble
    Anonymous said:
    A stock GTX780Ti is 7% faster at 2560x1440, and 8% faster at 1920x1080 (18 games averaged):
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/EVGA/GTX_780_Ti_SC_ACX_Cooler/26.html

    With such a HUGE difference in prices, quality, and performance on all top-end cards you really have to do your research.

    The R9-290X prices vary from $550 to $780 USD!


    Thanks for the response! I thought I had seen reviews elsewhere that showed the 290 series really closing the gap, or even surpassing the 780ti at higher resolutions, but perhaps I was remembering wrong. I recently decided to upgrade to a dual-290 setup, but if I had gone with a single card, the 780ti was at or near the top of my list (until the 290x prices came crashing down, that is).
    0
  • That_Guy88
    So is the difference between 290x's almost entirely due to cooling (and some OC)? I have someone who wants to sell me a reference 290x for $350, but I have a gtx 770, so it would seem that I would need to buy an after market cooler as well to make it worth my while. Thoughts?
    0
  • vertexx
    Anonymous said:
    So is the difference between 290x's almost entirely due to cooling (and some OC)? I have someone who wants to sell me a reference 290x for $350, but I have a gtx 770, so it would seem that I would need to buy an after market cooler as well to make it worth my while. Thoughts?

    See these articles for after-market cooling options:
    Air cooling:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/r9-290-accelero-xtreme-290,3671.html

    Liquid Cooling:
    How to:
    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Using-NZXT-Kraken-G10-Watercool-Radeon-R9-290
    And results:
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/radeon-r9-290-and-290x,review-32872.html
    1
  • RedJaron
    If nothing else, I'm happy to see Radeon prices returning to normal.
    5
  • Laytonoid
    Get the Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X. This is almost exactly the same thing except that Sapphires card has a LED Sapphire logo that changes color based on heat and looks way cooler. Also, being an owner of the Vapor-X myself, I can tell you that this card has the Hynix Memory. Highly recommend. Also, the temp has never gone over 65C in my small MATX case in a room that is 71F.
    1
  • Laytonoid
    Get the Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X. This is almost exactly the same thing except that Sapphires card has a LED Sapphire logo that changes color based on heat and looks way cooler. Also, being an owner of the Vapor-X myself, I can tell you that this card has the Hynix Memory. Highly recommend. Also, the temp has never gone over 65C in my small MATX case in a room that is 71F.
    -1
  • Laytonoid
    Sorry. Didn't mean to double post.
    0
  • Laytonoid
    Oh also, the Vapor-X card has the same benchmarks as a 290x in Firestrike Extreme, Valley and Heaven. I got it for 460 bucks.
    1
  • That_Guy88
    Anonymous said:
    Get the Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X. This is almost exactly the same thing except that Sapphires card has a LED Sapphire logo that changes color based on heat and looks way cooler. Also, being an owner of the Vapor-X myself, I can tell you that this card has the Hynix Memory. Highly recommend. Also, the temp has never gone over 65C in my small MATX case in a room that is 71F.


    I was more wondering about the value of getting the 290x for $350. I could buy an after market cooler for $50-75. I'm just not sure if it is a worth while upgrade.
    0
  • RedJaron
    These types of cards have the benefit of being factory OC'd and cooled. Generally speaking, if you swap the cooler and personally OC your card, you void the warranty. If that's a big deal for you, then the 3rd-party boards might be to your liking.

    For total upgrade worthwhileness ( is that even a word/term? ) what kind of resolution are you going for? Most of the top-end cards are complete overkill if you're not playing above 1080p. If you're not using 1440p or triple displays, I wouldn't bother going above a GTX 770 / R9 280.
    0
  • redgarl
    After buying a pair of those, I can only recommend them. They are quiet as hell and perform incredibly.

    I am questioning Toms review about the temps. Temps on Hardwarecanucks are showing something entirely different giving the PCS+ the best temps of all the 290x cards offered. A wooping 63C... even mines have never reach up 67C...
    0
  • redgarl
    Quote:
    I just want to point out that this and most 290X's beat a stock 780 Ti. The fact is both 780 Ti and the 290X are trade blows and belong on the same GPU tier. However only one does cost $150 less and come with 4GB VRAM...


    Not to forget the only viable 4k option right now in Crossfire.
    1
  • Laytonoid
    Sapphire aftermarket cards = Hynix memory
    0