An EK Block And Custom Clock Rates
Most enthusiasts associate water cooling with overclocking. Given that this is indeed an enthusiast-oriented product, PowerColor must have felt obligated to overclock its LCS AXR9 290X from a stock clock rate ceiling of 1000 MHz up to 1060 MHz. But in order to realize that speed-up, you need to change the stock Quiet firmware to PowerColor's customized Uber mode using the switch on top of the card.
Of course, Quiet mode is named as such because it corresponds to a lower fan speed ceiling. This is a liquid-cooled model that runs silently, so it makes more sense to call the shipping BIOS Default mode instead. In any case, remember to flip the switch for maximum performance.
PowerColor uses a custom-engraved version of EK’s FC R9-290X cooler in the Copper/Acetal version. EK still applies its own logo, assuring customers of the quality within. Fittings and locations are compatible with EK’s other parts, including its EK-FC Terminal multi-card cooling links.
The EK website indicates that the matching aluminum back cover isn’t required. But that cover provides another excellent place for PowerColor to brand its board. It also improves overall appearance, while protecting the components beneath from minor impacts.
Switching to an angled view of the I/O panel allows us to see all of the Radeon R9 290X’s standard connectors as we evaluate the card’s overall thickness. The cooler is thin enough to allow single-slot spacing, but the card’s extra DVI connector prevents that configuration.
$100++ from GTX 780 Ti
It has a $150 cooler (including the back plate, etc).
Of course Asus has a special cooler too. But Asus had the opportunity to drop its price, and the 290x has indeed dropped by $50 to $100 in the past two weeks. Supply is catching up with demand.
Unfortunately for PowerColor, its LCS 290X has been out-of-stock for more than two weeks. So they get stuck with prices that are at least two weeks old, at least until someone gets new inventory and lowers their price.
Sucks to be them, they should have restocked their sellers more quickly :)
But it's still cheaper than a water-cooled 780 Ti :)
Did you happen to notice any variability under load for your core speed while overclocked on the LCS card?
I have a Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X that is rock solid at its stock 1040MHz, but that starts bouncing the core clock all around when any core overclocking is applied.
With my quiet fan curve, load temps top out around 85°C; well below AMD's specified throttle point of 95°C.
If your liquid cooled cards are solid at 1200MHz, I am curious if Power Tune starts to throttle in a less severe way after going above 70- or 80°C.
Thanks for confirming that your test card was not throttling; back to troubleshooting my setup!
Good point; I will have to retest with a cooler fan curve.
Not sure if this will be the issue though as even a 20MHz bump to the core, and +50% power limit added to this, causes throttling with under 85°C temps.
Thanks for the thoughts!