No Surprise: Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III Is Recommended
Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III does exactly what it's supposed to do: it cools. But it does that job so effectively and quietly that you end up wondering if AMD's Radeon R9 290 is even the same card in your PC.
We'd like Arctic to include three additional full-sized sinks and one lower-profile RAM sink for the Radeon R9 290 and 290X. It might also want to consider increasing the contact area of its VRM coolers.
Of course, the Accelero wasn't designed for the R9 290, and Arctic doesn't even try claiming AMD's latest is officially compatible. But after our experimentation, the results were so convincing and the list of alternative options so short that we're almost forced to recommend this modification.
This isn't just an endorsement of the Accelero Xtreme III, but a must-have fix for anyone who can't wait for AMD's board partners to start selling Radeon R9 290 and 290X cards. You'll spend an extra $75 on the heat sink and fans, but save money on mandatory headphones, we suppose. Additionally, the performance you'll pick up due to the Hawaii GPU running at its peak clock rate, rather than dithering down to lower frequencies, will make the reference cards look antiquated.
Our Smart Buy award goes to Arctic's cooler, which turns AMD's newest high-end cards into faster, quieter, better versions of themselves. AMD needs to take a page out of Nvidia's book. Its reference cooler shouldn't be considered reference at all. It's more of a torture device for an otherwise very capable graphics processor. Someone over there should be thanking Arctic for providing a reprieve.