PowerColor Cools Two Hawaii GPUs Using Air
To call PowerColor’s air-cooled dual-GPU project daring would be an understatement. We know darned well how hot AMD's Hawaii GPU can get. Just one is enough to push most thermal solutions to their limits. That's why AMD went with liquid cooling for its Radeon R9 295X2 (a card we found to be well-built, by the way).
Now, PowerColor is trying to improve upon the first workable reference design we've seen from AMD in years with a gigantic air cooler. Is this an act of deft engineering or blind ambition?
Since AMD's sampling policy (at least over in Europe where they tested these cards) is best described as weird, we went the extra mile to make this head-to-head comparison and bought our own Radeon R9 295X2. It performs a little worse than the card we have in the U.S., but the difference is small. There's no reason to suspect anything other than normal variance between them.
Air versus water. A huge chunk of metal versus hoses and a radiator. We can hardly wait.
The three-slot bracket on the back of PowerColor's Devil 13 Dual Core is the first hint that this card means serious business. Picking it up, the thing appears built like a tank, and you have to wonder if your motherboard's PCI Express slot will take all of the weight. This is a graphics card you need to hold with two hands.
PowerColor is asking the same $1500 that AMD wants for its own Radeon R9 295X2. But the Devil 13 board attempts to differentiate itself by including a Razer Ouroboros in its bundle. That's a nearly $140 add-on. And the mouse is extremely comfortable, too. What's more, at least at the time of writing, Newegg is running a special on the Devil 13 that includes a 120 GB Samsung 840 EVO valued at $100.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the specifications we're dealing with. After all, PowerColor promises us the world’s fastest graphics card, even though the Devil 13 operates at 18 MHz below the peak clock rate of AMD's Radeon R9 295X2. But company representatives are sure they can compensate for this small disadvantage with a higher memory frequency.
The FPS difference at 1080p is ~7%, yet the clock difference is less than 2%.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
PS. The typo Mac266 mentioned is still present.
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.)
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.