Results: Battlefield 4
The PowerColor LCS AXR9 290X's clock rate advantage again barely outpaces the air-cooled card at low ambient temperatures, which are ideal, but rarely faced by folks in warmer climates. And dropping to the card's Quiet mode appears to trigger slight throttling in this title.
So why ship this liquid-cooled card with AMD's Quiet firmware selected by default? We're not certain; what we do know is that this switch uses the unaltered firmware from the original air-cooled Radeon R9 290X.
Gamers looking for minimum frame rates around 40 FPS will want to use PowerColor’s Uber firmware and the High preset, while those looking to maximize the title's graphics detail will likely prefer the Ultra setting.
At an average of 33 FPS, we have to start wondering if the Ultra detail level at 5760x1080 is a reasonable combination for playable performance.
The good news is that minimum frame rates aren’t much lower than averages in our test. The LCS AXR9 290X's 27 FPS floor is largely acceptable as we proceed through this taxing graphics-bound benchmark sequence.
$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!