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VisionTek Makes a Cheaper Than DIY Water Cooled R9 290

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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Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • Zac Lloyd-Jones
    Wow that is really cheap. Usually when manufacturers stick a waterblock on for you they rip you off.
    Reply
  • jin_mtvt
    That is not cheap.First off, we all know that AMD has a defective cooler setup on the reference cards.Soon, they might be "stuck" with reference cards that cannot sell well because of much more efficient ( no throttling ) partners boards will come back to regular pricing.What we see here, is a way to "move " reference boards ( or some other stock managing plan )Then, how do you think this water cooler plate is worth at manufacturing level ?1- no moving parts , no fans2- we can't tell the material from the picures 100%, but if there is some expensive copper in that heatsink, it does not represent a large portion of it.3- acrylic/plastic/aluminum are all very easily machinable materials with current low cost for any large manufacturer.This water cooling block probably has a similar cost to the reference cooler.1 year warranty @ 550$?? non merci ...I will never buy any computer products with less than 3 years of warranty.Less is almost an insult or should carry a substantial discount.But, it would probably make a superb paperweight when it stops working after 1 year and a few months of use.So the price of the product is ok...nothing specialbut the warranty of only 1 year breaks the intentionmy 300w
    Reply
  • jcaulley_74
    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.
    Reply
  • jcaulley_74
    @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.
    Reply
  • psychodegu
    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.
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    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.
    Reply
  • tigger888
    When did this become engadget?
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    I dont kile marketing tricks like these.
    Reply
  • realibrad
    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.
    Reply
  • DRosencraft
    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.
    Reply