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PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X 8 GB Review: Dual Hawaii on Air

Pictures And Features

The incredibly heavy PowerColor Devil 13 employs a true three-slot design. After all, the two separate heat sinks (one for each of the GPUs) need a lot of space. Using three 86 mm fans was quite certainly unavoidable to provide the needed airflow, but all of that cooling could also lead to audible turbulence, especially from the center fan. We’ve made a video about this that we’ll get to later. Five heat pipes per sink dissipate thermal energy quickly from the base to the fin arrays.

The board itself was developed by PowerColor in-house but, just like the reference design, uses a PLX switch for communication between the two GPUs. Power circuitry is split between both processors, also similar to AMD's reference card, enabling separate power supplies. Part of our testing covers why this doesn't work out as well for PowerColor as it does for the Radeon R9 295X2.

The frame that stabilizes the Devil 13 doubles as cooling for the power circuitry and memory packages. We have a picture of a pre-production sample, but PowerColor's retail offering is finished in black.

Around back, the Devil 13 sports another elaborately-designed frame as a backplate and counterpart to the internal frame.

Up top you'll find an oscillating red Devil 13 logo, auxiliary PCIe power connectors, and an illuminated BIOS switch.

This is going to blow your mind: PowerColor's Devil 13 Dual Core employs four eight-pin power connectors, which is to say two per GPU. That should be plenty (considering AMD only arms the 295X2 with two).

The BIOS switch activates a performance mode when it's pushed down. In essence, the fans react more aggressively, though the clock rates do not change.

There's nothing notable about the card's bottom edge. You'll find a few spots for exhaust, but that's about it.

A closer look at the back gives you a view of the copper heat pipes, as well as the stabilization and cooling frame, the cooler’s cover, and the fans.

The display outputs are standard fare, and include two digital dual-link DVI connectors, DisplayPort, and HDMI.

  • fl-gators-fan
    Looking at page 4, that screen is insane!! Love it!
    Reply
  • jlwtech
    Was this card staying at 1000Mhz during those benchmark runs?
    The FPS difference at 1080p is ~7%, yet the clock difference is less than 2%.

    Also,
    Did you find the Devils maximum stable overclock? With all that power available, I'd imagine this thing could achieve better overclocks than the 295x2.
    Reply
  • FormatC
    OC makes no sense, because the card will be really loud. And please read the review attentively! The performance difference between both cards reflects the difference in power consumption nearly 1:1! To handle this cooling by air, the power color card uses a lower power target. Since AMDs Power Tune and Nvidias Boost the pure core clock rates says nothing about the final performance! In my eyes this is also a good study about the limits of an air-cooler.

    Take a look at the page with the HiRes power draw. This card isn't a perpetuum mobile. Less power consumption = less gaming performance. OC brings really nothing. Ok, you can destroy your ears... (or the card). We had to handle this rare card very carefully, so I was not able to break the voltage barrier.
    Reply
  • jlwtech
    13766047 said:
    OC makes no sense, because the card will be really loud. And please read the review carefully! The performance difference between both cards reflects the difference in power consumption! To handle this cooling by air, the power color card uses a lower power target. Since Power Tune and Boost the pure core clock says nothing abou the final performance!

    Take a look at the page with the HiRes power draw. This card isn't a perpetuum mobile. Less power consumption = less gaming performance. OC brings really nothing. Ok, you can destroy your ears...

    "Destroy my ears"?
    "OC makes no sense because the card will be really loud"? Are you serious??????
    Since when has that stopped anyone?
    This thing is quiet compared to high end cards from 5+ years ago....

    Have we become so spoiled by the advances in technology, that has enabled higher performance at lower noise levels, that we will not push the limits in fear of a little noise!?


    It's an ultra high end GFX card made for the kind of people who like to push the limits. It should absolutely be overclocked and benchmarked. With a big fat mind-blowing power usage chart with figures higher than any card has ever pushed!

    Also, clock rates still directly correlate to performance. Lowering the power tune limit will limit clock rates, and vice versa. Lower clock rates equals lower performance, but lower power does not always equal lower performance.
    Reply
  • Mac266
    EDIT: Typo Fixed :D
    Reply
  • jlwtech
    I just got done reading 3 other reviews for this card, and each of those reviews had this card slightly above the 295x2 in their gaming benchmarks. (despite the Devil's boost clock being slightly lower).
    That seems a little odd.

    The games, game settings, drivers, average clock rates, and Bios mode used for the benchmark figures/comparison, are not listed in this review. (unusual for Toms) That information would be very helpful.
    I suspect that the 295x2 was maintaining a higher average clock rate, in this comparison. (higher than 2%, anyways)
    PowerColor, almost certainly made sure that this card meets-or-beats the performance of the 295x2, before sending it off for review.
    Reply
  • Menigmand
    It's interesting to see this kind of enormous, powerful, noisy card being developed in a market where most games are designed to fit the limits of console hardware.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    Why have they called this a 290X? Rather confusing, it should be called a 295X.
    Having it listed in the 290X section on seller sites is dumb. Also, it's not an 8GB
    card, it's a 2x4GB card. I really wish tech sites would stop GPU vendors from
    getting away with this inaccurate product spec PR. Call it for what it is, 2x4GB,
    and if vendors don't like it, say tough cookies. The user will never see '8GB' so
    the phrase should not be used as if they could (though PowerColor seems happy
    to have such misleading info on its product page). I'm assuming you agree with this
    Igor, because the table on pp. 11 does refer to the Devil 13 as a 2x4GB... ;)

    Btw, checking a typical seller site here (UK), the cheapest 290X is 1040MHz core,
    so given the Devil 13 uses 3 slots anyway, IMO two factory oc'd 290Xs make more
    sense, and would save more than 300 UKP.

    Ian.

    PS. The typo Mac266 mentioned is still present.

    Reply
  • jlwtech
    Why did the person who wrote this article focus primarily on power consumption and efficiency?

    This review has 4 pages of power consumption/efficiency data, with some impressively detailed information. But, it only has 2 pages of actual performance data, with almost no details at all.

    Who wouldn't want to see this card overclocked to a ridiculous extent, with plumes of smoke coming off of it, and the only power consumption figures showing that it's consuming more power than any other card ever made?


    (I had to edit this comment. That first revision was a little crazy.)

    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    13766675 said:
    The primary focus of this review is absurd!
    Why did the person who wrote this article focus primarily on power consumption and efficiency?

    This review has 4 pages of power consumption/efficiency data, with some impressively detailed information. But, it only has 2 pages of actual performance data, with almost no details at all.

    The performance is so close to the performance of the liquid-cooled R9-295X that it would basically be a repeat of that review. If you want an idea of its performance, just re-read that review and maybe reduce each frame rate by 3%-ish.

    OT: 60Db? Into the trash it goes. I don't care how expensive a card is, if it's too loud that I can't have a goddamn normal conversation near my computer, it's going in the skip. I don't want to surround myself in an anti-social bubble of noise-induced hearing loss every time I want to game.

    Reply