Noise And Video Comparison
The Radeon R9 290X review covered fan speeds and how noise level relates to different loads. AMD's new Catalyst 13.11 Beta 8 driver doesn't really improve the situation. We don't get more performance from any specific optimization, but rather by increasing the noise level.
We’re presenting separate videos for the two drivers to demonstrate progression from the first to the second one. Unfortunately, the louder of the two is the driver AMD apparently plans to ship. For comparison, we also include the Nvidia GeForce GTX 780, as well as a Radeon R9 290 that we upgraded ourselves with a third-party cooling solution. These nicely show just how much performance AMD leaves on the table due to its reference cooler. As always, the measurements are taken with a studio microphone perpendicular to the middle of the card from a distance of 50 cm.
AMD Radeon R9 290 Noise Comparison Before and After the Driver Update
Both videos show the noise level during a long gaming loop and illustrate the result in the graph.
At idle, the AMD Radeon R9 290’s radial fan is definitely noticeable, but bearable.
Noise Comparison with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 780
Same gaming loop, different graphics card. The GeForce GTX 780 at stock speed and settings is a lot quieter, but it pays for it by reaching its thermal limit quickly. The fan needs to be pushed quite a bit to achieve consistent GPU Boost frequencies. Seventy percent are enough for a cold card, but once it’s warmed up, a fan speed of 80 percent is needed to maintain those higher clock rates. This is the only way to get an apples-to-apples comparison of the two competing graphics cards.
Chris, these results differ drastically from real world results from 290X owners at OCN... I understand that your observations are anecdotal and based on a very small sample size but do you mind looking into this matter further because putting such a statement in bold in the conclusion even though it contradicts real world experiences of owners just provides a false assumption to the uninformed reader...
The above claim has already escalated further than it should... A Swiss site actually has already rebutted by testing their own press sample with a retail model and concluded the following:
Now to wait for the non-reference cards at the end of the month!
It looks like a good card for the price as it even keeps up with the $100 more GTX780. This is good as NVidia may drop prices even more which means we could also see a price drop on the 290X and I wouldn't mind a new 290X Toxic for sub $500.
Best to wait a month or two before buying to see how this all goes down