Skip to main content

Radeon R9 295X2 8 GB Review: Project Hydra Gets Liquid Cooling

Test Hardware And Benchmarks

As always, the hardware and benchmarks used in today’s review are important. However, methodology is also more relevant than ever, particularly in light of the dynamic clock rate behavior we described when AMD’s Radeon R9 290X first launched.

To that end, all of our testing happens in the aforementioned Rosewill Throne chassis. And rather than simply firing up benchmarks after an idle period, we heat up every card with several minutes of gameplay prior to recording results. If a configuration is prone to throttling, that gets documented. Really though, AMD effectively addressed variability on its reference Hawaii-based board through a driver, and most third-party solutions are better-cooled.

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-4960X (Ivy Bridge-E) 3.5 GHz Base Clock Rate, Overclocked to 4.2 GHz, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardMSI X79A-GD45 Plus (LGA 2011) X79 Express Chipset, BIOS 17.8
MemoryG.Skill 32 GB (8 x 4 GB) DDR3-2133, F3-17000CL9Q-16GBXM x2 @ 9-11-10-28 and 1.65 V
Hard DriveSamsung 840 Pro SSD 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s
GraphicsAMD Radeon R9 295X2 8 GB
2 x AMD Radeon R9 290X 4 GB (CrossFire)
AMD Radeon HD 7990 6 GB
2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB (SLI)
2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3 GB (SLI)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4 GB
Power SupplyRosewill  Lightning 1300 1300 W, Single +12 V rail, 108 A output
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8.1 Professional 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 14.4 Beta
Nvidia GeForce 337.50 Beta

AMD claims that the Radeon R9 295X2 is designed for gaming at 3840x2160. However, we also ran benchmarks at 2560x1440, which is still a popular enthusiast-oriented resolution. All tests at QHD are run through our FCAT system; numbers are generated using video captured from a DVI display output. Testing at Ultra HD was conducted through a mix of technologies; the GeForce GTX 690 and Radeon HD 7990 wouldn’t cooperate with the dual-HDMI method of getting FCAT working at 4K. This shouldn’t be an issue when frame pacing is working properly, since there are no dropped or runt frames to report. Where it results in suspect data, however, we’ll call that out.

Benchmarks And Settings
Battlefield 42560x1440 and 3840x2160: Ultra Quality Preset, v-sync off, 100-second Tashgar playback. FCAT for 2560x1440; Fraps/FCAT for 3840x2160
Arma 32560x1440 and 3840x2160: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x FSAA, Anisotropic Filtering: Ultra, v-sync off, Infantry Showcase, 30-second playback, FCAT and Fraps
Metro: Last Light2560x1440 and 3840x2160: Very High Quality Preset, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, Normal Motion Blur, v-sync off, Built-In Benchmark, FCAT and Fraps
Assassin's Creed IV2560x1440 and 3840x2160: Maximum Quality options, 4x MSAA, 40-second Custom Run-Through, FCAT and Fraps
Grid 22560x1440 and 3840x2160: Ultra Quality Preset, 120-second recording of built-in benchmark, FCAT and Fraps
Thief2560x1440 and 3840x2160: Very High Quality Preset, 70-second recording of built-in benchmark, FCAT and Fraps
Tomb Raider2560x1440 and 3840x2160: Ultimate Quality Preset, FXAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, TressFX Hair, 45-second Custom Run-Through, FCAT and Fraps
  • SVMreborn
    The pricing of this beast really impressed me.
    Reply
  • Marsian Gustrianda
    Many people doubt about Dual GPU Hawaii will be Blow Up. It seems AMD really do well job. Nice Looking Card
    Reply
  • ohim
    This card is like the Veyron of WV , show the world what you can do (R295x2) but you`ll still relay on the sales of your WV Golf for revenue (270x, 280x)
    Reply
  • ferooxidan
    Finally the review of this beast! Now continue reading
    Reply
  • outlw6669
    Impressive performance, temperatures and fairly low noise!
    I would prefer a bit lower price, but this looks like a great card for the gamer that has everything!
    Reply
  • getochkn
    Surprised you didn't do a mining hashrate test on it to see what it can push out.
    Reply
  • gunfighter zeck
    the name Dreadnaught originated from Dread Nothing or, fear nothing.
    Boss ship.
    Reply
  • Maxamus456
    Hope this price stays low and not get bloated from bit con miners like its predecessors.
    Reply
  • blubbey
    So let me get this straight. It runs pretty cool, quiet, performs well and (for the moment) is able to play a good selection of games at 4k admirably and is priced competitively. Plus if you are going to drop a bit more on watercooling your GPUs (which is a possibility if you're spending $1200+) that gives this card even greater value. Nice work AMD.
    Reply
  • marciocattini
    Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval? =( clearly this card diserves some love!
    Reply