When the R9 290 and R9 290X came along, one of the biggest complaints about the cards was their cooler. The reference cooler was, simply, not good. It didn't allow the GPUs to run at their full potential, and it was very, very loud. On top of that, it let the GPUs run at 95 C, which a lot of users simply weren't comfortable with.
AMD addressed these issues when it built the R9 295X2, as it was cooled with both air and water. The result? A superb cooler, for which almost no vendors built aftermarket solutions. That last bit may have had something to do with vendor restrictions, but there simply wasn't a need – it kept both of the fully-enabled Hawaii GPUs running at their stock speeds, and it wasn't noisy while doing so.
There is now a rumor on the web, based off an image and an announcement from Asetek, that AMD is building its next Radeon R9 390X graphics card with a similar cooler. Yep, that's right; we might be looking at the first single-GPU reference design that's liquid cooled.
The image of the cooler shroud that was leaked on the Baidu forums is clear, although what isn't clear is the announcement from Asetek: the company announced on August 14 that it had secured the biggest design with 'an undisclosed OEM.' This win would result in $2 - $4 million dollars of revenue for this undisclosed OEM, and the undisclosed product in question would start shipping during the first half of 2015. The announcement did indicate that it would help Asetek's success in the graphics liquid cooling market. So take these two details, put them together, and we can say that there's a good chance that the R9 390X reference design will be partially liquid cooled. (One plus one equals, two, you know.) Of course, this is still a rumor, so do be sure to take it with a pinch of salt.
So, what do you think? Would you like to see this happen, or do you think it's going a little far for a single-GPU solution?