Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD's Back In Ultra-High-End Gaming


Since we've already spent plenty of time talking about fan behavior, explaining noise levels under different loads is really easy. Right upfront: the cooler's moderate stock setting and the GPU's high target temperature make for a relatively quiet card, so long as you don't mess with it. But make no mistake, this thing is in no way as good as the partner solutions that'll undoubtedly be gracing R9 290Xes soon. As usual, the measurements were taken with a studio microphone perpendicular to the graphics card’s middle from a distance of 50 cm.

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Header Cell - Column 0 IdleLoad
Quiet Mode (Default)33.4 dB(A)45.2 dB(A)
Uber Mode (Default)34.1 dB(A)51.2 dB(A)
+25% Power Limit + 70 °C Target TemperatureFan Speed up to 100%34.3 dB(A)72.9 dB(A)

Low Load: 30 Percent RPM at 38.8 dB(A)

Quiet Mode: 40 Percent RPM at 45.2 dB(A)

Uber Mode: 55 Percent RPM at 51.2 dB(A)

We decided to forgo the video demonstrating what a 95% duty cycle sounds like. It’s pointless and potentially bad for your long-term hearing. The noise is simply unbearable without commercial-grade ear protection.

  • beta212
    That's incredible. Especially at high res, I wonder how they do it. But the low price alone is enough to blow the competition away. Seriously think about it, it's around half the price for higher performance!
    - AMD: We're not aiming for the ultra high end.
    I think Nvidia just got trolled.
  • slomo4sho
    Great price point. This card has already broken world records just a few hours after release!

  • esrever
    2 of these for 4k looks amazing but Im a little disappointed by the power consumption when you crank up performance.
  • aznguy0028
    I was thinking about hopping on the 7970ghz when it's on sale, but after seeing this, it's time to break apart the piggy bank for the 290x, what value!
  • Benthon
    Like the conclusion said, you just can't argue about aesthetics and thermals at this price point/performance. Well done AMD, lets see team green's response! Go consumer!
  • tuklap
    This is awesome for us ^_^
  • Shankovich
    Wow, and it's pegged at 73% too. Even if nVidia's "780ti" beats the 290X, it probably won't beat a 290X running at full power. And if mantle does make some big performance boosts, nVidia is going to be in a really tight spot. Looking forward to what they'll do. In the mean time, loving this competition! We all win in the end.
  • julianbautista87
  • anxiousinfusion
    Wait the 290 X... X? is going to be $550?! Forgive me, padre for I have sinned.
  • Darkerson
    Good job, AMD!