Fixing The Radeon R9 290 With Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III

The Arctic Accelero Xtreme III, Detailed

The great thing about this aftermarket cooler is a reasonable price relative to the Radeon R9 290. At $75, you can add it and still come in well under an R9 290X, but match or exceed the pricier card's performance. Of course, it's great that the Accelero Xtreme III is compatible with AMD's new cards, and is also pretty light as well.

Compared to the Alpenfoehn Peter and Prolimatech's MK-26, this thermal solution is less expensive and bundled with fans, which cost you extra after buying those other kits. It even matches the PCB's dimensions fairly well, aside from a few minor differences that we'll address during the assembly stage. They don't pose a problem, though.

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ModelArctic Accelero Xtreme III
Heat Sink / Heat PipesCopper Heat Sink 5 x 6 mm Copper Heat Pipes 84 Cooling Fins (0.3 mm Aluminum)
Fans3 x 92 mm Fans (0.12 A / 12 V)
RPM Range:900-2000 RPM (PWM-Controlled)
Maximum Noise0.5 Sone
Power Consumption4.32 W
Dimensions288 mm (Length) x 104 mm (Height) x 54 mm (Width)
Weight653 g
WarrantySix Years
Product WebpageAccelero Xtreme Webpage

As I browsed through the cooler's contents, I noticed that we were short four memory heat sinks (the R9 290 needs 16 for its 256 MB packages, and Arctic only includes 12). Fortunately, this isn't a show-stopper. Part of AMD's approach to this card was widening the memory bus to 512 bits and running its GDDR5 at more conservative frequencies, scaling back on voltage at the same time. The memory packages don't get so hot that they pose a thermal issue. If you still feel compelled to cool them off, buying an optional kit for the GeForce GTX 260/275/280 should suffice.

The Modified Card's Specifications

The cooler's specifications are interesting enough, but we needed to know if it'd fit in our case. So, next, we measured the Radeon R9 290's weight and dimensions with the new cooler set up.

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The Modified Card's Specifications
Length320 mm
Height120 mm (From Top Edge of PCIe Slot)
Depth60 mm (2.5-Slot)5 mm Back-Side (Through Back Plate)
Weight978 g
  • rolli59
    I will wait and get the Gigabyte Windforce then I will not have to pay full price for the cooler. (just saying)
  • MauveCloud
    I can't find anything to confirm that you tested this inside a case, and I'm curious what it does to case and cpu temps compared to the reference card, and what it does to a second gpu running in crossfire mode.
  • CaptainTom
    I gotta say I agree with AMD's opinion that reference coolers are just there to get the job done as cheaply and consistently as possible since non-references will rule the market anyways.

    But at the end of the day reviewers are gonna continue to mark down cards for these silly things for whatever reason. AMD might as well just make the reference coolers at least as good as SAPPHIRE's Dual-X so that everyone shuts up...
  • sha7bot
    I want AMD and NVIDIA to start selling their boards without a cooler. I can buy a waterblock from any number of retailers, but I can't get the damned GPU. Discount the boards and sell them OEM to us consumers.

    Also, try and make your layout a standard so I don't have to keep buying after-market coolers or blocks. I can just move them from board to board.
  • FormatC
    I've proofed this construction in my Corsair Obsidian 900D and it works as described, I had to turn on my case fans but only @800-900 rpm. To test a crossfire setup I would have to destroy two cards - sorry, but this was too expensive for me. One modified card is ok, but I cant kill all my samples :D
  • ingtar33
    that 1150 clock speed is actually on the low side. on several other forums i frequent people are hitting mid 1300's pretty consistently with aftermarket air coolers, and 1400s on water.

    it seems the r9-290x is pretty much identical clock for clock to the 780ti... so putting a non-reference cooler onto it is almost mandatory; because when it's not temp throttling it's pacing nvidia's $700 monster.
  • brainrazer
    I was going to say same thing as sha7bot. Overall though I hope one day we can buy a gpu and fan/cooler in drop it in the Mobo socket like a cpu. Hell even have multiple sockets in a row to take up less space at the end of the mobo to give room for pci slot devices. It always sucks having to decide between these graphics cards or "this" card and a sound card or ssd.
  • horaciopz
    Maybe, later on the road Accelero will launch a R9 290 version of this cooler as they did with the HD 7900 version.

    Also, look that, that cooler is barely spinning. You can squish more of it, that would be even more noticable in performance gains!
  • s3anister
    "Obviously, if you spend $400 on a new Radeon R9 290 and immediately take it apart, your warranty is void."

    Are all the Vendor's cards like this? If I remember correctly Sapphire used to allow (or still does) people to take the stock cooler off to attach a waterblock without it voiding the warranty.
  • bemused_fred
    Blimey, that is so much fuss to put together, not to mention the fact that it voids your warranty.. AMD have really, really shot themselves in the foot by not offering after-market cooling at launch.