Technical Specs And Manual Overclocking
This high-end board comes factory-overclocked to 1080 MHz, so its stock performance should exceed competing Radeon R9 290X boards (remember from Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD's Back In Ultra-High-End Gaming that reference-class cards run at up to 1 GHz). The question is whether that advantage translates to real-world performance.
First, let's have a look at the factory specifications of the seven Radeon R9 290X boards we've tested already:
|Models:||GPU Clock, in MHz||Memory Clock, in MHz||Memory Bandwidth (GB/s)||Pixel Fillrate (GPixel/s)||Texture Fillrate (GTexel/s)|
|Asus R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5 R9 290X DirectCU II OC||1050||1350||345.6||67.2||184.8|
|Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X||1040||1300||332.8||66.6||183.0|
|Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD R9 290X Windforce OC||1040||1250||320.0||66.6||183.0|
|HIS R9 290X IceQ X² Turbo||1060||1350||345.6||67.8||186.6|
|MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G||1040||1250||320||66.6||183|
|MSI R9 290X Lightning||1080||1250||320||69.1||190.1|
|MSI R9 290X Lightning (Overclocked)||1150||1350||345.6||73.6||202.4|
GPU-Z Screen Shot
Let’s start this section on a good note, with a stable overclocking profile we can use through our review, posted up next to the card's stock settings. Because we don't have access to voltage settings, there's not a ton of headroom available, unfortunately. Hitting 1158 MHz was all the board could muster after increasing the power target to 50%. Any higher and the card simply wasn't stable. At 1165 MHz, it'd last a few minutes; the card could only handle a load at 1200 MHz for a few seconds.
Hence, we set the GPU clock to 1150 MHz and increased the memory clock to 1350 MHz. While higher memory clocks are possible, they do not result in further performance increases.
Clock Rates under Load, With and Without Manual Overclocking
We saw clock throttling in both cases, but only briefly, and it didn't appear to affect measurable performance.
Increasing the power target allows the GPU to overclock beyond 1100 MHz, where it remains stable enough to use daily.
MSI 290x Lightning $699.99 + $4.99 shipping
Sapphire 290x Tri-X OC $649.99Sapphire 290x Tri-X $639.99Gigabyte 290x Windforce $579.99 ($549.99 after rebate)
This makes the Lightning $125 ($155 after rebate) more expensive than the Windforce. MSI is really stretching the price here.
Got to agree that the Tri-X seems a better value proposition
The main aspect of a GPU and its most important job is to make games run smooth.
In this review there is only a Performance ratio chart. This does not give the important data at all.
I dont care if that GPU has 80 or 85 FPS in farcry3, but I Do care if it has 25 or 30 on more demanding games/settings.
Finally, this card seems like itsmissing its purpouse a bit.
It has a huge heatsink, but dosent actually run cool or quiet.
It has an OC that is decent but dosent increase performance that much.
You could water cool that GPU for a similar price and get better performance in every aspect as long as you are willing to have a loop in your PC.
"I hereby declare this video card to be of the utmost quality and thereby further and henceforth declare this same electronic device to be 101% stable to the fullest of my capabilities to determine it as such. Sincerely, Your Mom".
Definitely something to frame and hang on your wall above the monitor.
If you're just going for overkill, I want to see one of these with phase change cooling. It can't cost that much more, can it?