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Technical Specs And Manual Overclocking

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review: The Right Way To Cool Hawaii
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This high-end board comes factory-overclocked to 1080 MHz, so its stock performance should exceed competing Radeon R9 290X boards (remember from Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD's Back In Ultra-High-End Gaming that reference-class cards run at up to 1 GHz). The question is whether that advantage translates to real-world performance.

First, let's have a look at the factory specifications of the seven Radeon R9 290X boards we've tested already:

Models:
GPU Clock, in MHz
Memory Clock, in MHzMemory Bandwidth (GB/s)
Pixel Fillrate (GPixel/s)
Texture Fillrate (GTexel/s)
Asus R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5 R9 290X DirectCU II OC1050
1350
345.6
67.2
184.8
Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X1040
1300
332.8
66.6
183.0
Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD R9 290X Windforce OC1040
1250
320.0
66.6
183.0
HIS R9 290X IceQ X² Turbo1060
1350
345.6
67.8
186.6
MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G1040
1250
320
66.6
183
MSI R9 290X Lightning
1080
1250
320
69.1
190.1
MSI R9 290X Lightning (Overclocked)
1150
1350
345.6
73.6
202.4

GPU-Z Screen Shot

Manual Overclocking

Let’s start this section on a good note, with a stable overclocking profile we can use through our review, posted up next to the card's stock settings. Because we don't have access to voltage settings, there's not a ton of headroom available, unfortunately. Hitting 1158 MHz was all the board could muster after increasing the power target to 50%. Any higher and the card simply wasn't stable. At 1165 MHz, it'd last a few minutes; the card could only handle a load at 1200 MHz for a few seconds.

Hence, we set the GPU clock to 1150 MHz and increased the memory clock to 1350 MHz. While higher memory clocks are possible, they do not result in further performance increases.

Clock Rates under Load, With and Without Manual Overclocking

We saw clock throttling in both cases, but only briefly, and it didn't appear to affect measurable performance.

Increasing the power target allows the GPU to overclock beyond 1100 MHz, where it remains stable enough to use daily.

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