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.

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 Temperature
Fan 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.