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PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X Review: Cool, Quiet, And Priced Right

Gaming Performance

Test System and Benchmarks

We ran four carefully selected benchmarks at the highest quality settings, then normalized and added the individual results, which yields a performance index for each card.

SystemIntel Core i7-4930K (Ivy Bridge-E), Overclocked to 4 GHzAsus Rampage IV Black Edition, X79 Express32 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3-2133Enermax TLC 240 Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler1 x 512 GB Samsung 840 Pro
Power Supply:Corsair AX860i
Operating System:Windows 8.1
Drivers:AMD Catalyst 14.2 BetaNvidia GeForce 334.89
Benchmarks:Metro Last LightBioshock InfiniteBattlefield 4 (Single-Player)Crysis 3 DX11

Performance Rating

In order to achieve realistic and comparable results, we heat up the cards prior to benchmarking, subjecting them to a 3D load that takes their GPU temperatures up to a steady state. This creates a level playing field for factory-overclocked cards.

PowerColor's card delivers impressive results, placing third behind the higher-clocked MSI R9 290X Lightning and HIS R9 290X IceQ X². Differences between the cards are small though, and almost certainly not worth a $100 difference to enthusiasts better-served putting that money into a larger SSD or faster processor.

  • combine1237
    For some reason I thought the pcs+ used hynix.
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    I just want to point out that this and most 290X's beat a stock 780 Ti. The fact is both 780 Ti and the 290X are trade blows and belong on the same GPU tier. However only one does cost $150 less and come with 4GB VRAM...
    Reply
  • Memnarchon
    13232466 said:
    I just want to point out that this and most 290X's beat a stock 780 Ti. The fact is both 780 Ti and the 290X are trade blows and belong on the same GPU tier. However only one does cost $150 less and come with 4GB VRAM...

    Well, since you are comparing a non reference GPU, you should take also a non-reference GPU to compare.
    Tom's using Gigabyte's 780ti OC which costs the same as the reference card...

    So even the non-reference models are on a different tier as well as their reference...
    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    Any chance of measurements in metric as well as imperial?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    13232896 said:
    Any chance of measurements in metric as well as imperial?

    Typical translation errors, the original is in metric ;)
    http://www.tomshardware.de/powercolor-r9-290x-pcs-review,testberichte-241519-3.html4

    I will clearify with Chris, that we use both in the future. Metric is worldwide more common :D
    Reply
  • dave_trimble
    Surprised the benchmark graph show performance at 1080p. Aren't the 290 series kind of wasted at that resolution? I would love to see the results at 1440p or even 4k. I have a feeling the 780ti might not look quite as good in comparison at higher resolution.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    A stock GTX780Ti is 7% faster at 2560x1440, and 8% faster at 1920x1080 (18 games averaged):
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/EVGA/GTX_780_Ti_SC_ACX_Cooler/26.html

    With such a HUGE difference in prices, quality, and performance on all top-end cards you really have to do your research.

    The R9-290X prices vary from $550 to $780 USD!
    Reply
  • dave_trimble
    13233877 said:
    A stock GTX780Ti is 7% faster at 2560x1440, and 8% faster at 1920x1080 (18 games averaged):
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/EVGA/GTX_780_Ti_SC_ACX_Cooler/26.html

    With such a HUGE difference in prices, quality, and performance on all top-end cards you really have to do your research.

    The R9-290X prices vary from $550 to $780 USD!

    Thanks for the response! I thought I had seen reviews elsewhere that showed the 290 series really closing the gap, or even surpassing the 780ti at higher resolutions, but perhaps I was remembering wrong. I recently decided to upgrade to a dual-290 setup, but if I had gone with a single card, the 780ti was at or near the top of my list (until the 290x prices came crashing down, that is).

    Reply
  • That_Guy88
    So is the difference between 290x's almost entirely due to cooling (and some OC)? I have someone who wants to sell me a reference 290x for $350, but I have a gtx 770, so it would seem that I would need to buy an after market cooler as well to make it worth my while. Thoughts?
    Reply
  • vertexx
    13234604 said:
    So is the difference between 290x's almost entirely due to cooling (and some OC)? I have someone who wants to sell me a reference 290x for $350, but I have a gtx 770, so it would seem that I would need to buy an after market cooler as well to make it worth my while. Thoughts?
    See these articles for after-market cooling options:
    Air cooling:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/r9-290-accelero-xtreme-290,3671.html

    Liquid Cooling:
    How to:
    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Using-NZXT-Kraken-G10-Watercool-Radeon-R9-290
    And results:
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/radeon-r9-290-and-290x,review-32872.html
    Reply