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

Results: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

2560x1440

Like Arma 3, four of our six graphics solutions are bottlenecked in Assassin’s Creed IV using the game’s most demanding quality features. AMD achieves slightly lower minimum frame rates than Nvidia, though the R9 290X in CrossFire and 295X2 never dip below 50 FPS.

See how the top four configurations maintain a fairly narrow performance band? Those solutions appear limited by some aspect of our overclocked platform. The Radeon HD 7990 and GeForce GTX 690 span a broader range dictated by the graphics workload.

AMD’s frame time variance is slightly higher across the board, though even our worst-case figures are still impressively consistent.

There are far more frame time spikes in Assassin’s Creed IV than there were in Arma 3, again, predominantly from AMD’s cards.

3840x2160

As with Arma 3, the apparent platform bottleneck in Assassin’s Creed IV isn’t as much of an issue at 3840x2160. Instead, these cards demonstrate low averages and less-than-ideal minimum frame rates using the game’s most taxing details.

The GeForce GTX 780 Tis don't appear to be limited by their 3 GB of GDDR5. Instead, the SLI array takes a first-place finish ahead of AMD’s Radeon R9 295X2 and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titans.

Our Assassin’s Creed IV benchmark requires a ton of manual intervention, so the frame rate over time charts isn’t as consistent as we’d like from one run to the next. The four fastest solutions clump up in a less-than-10 FPS-range, while the Radeon HD 7990 and GeForce GTX 690 drag along in unplayable territory.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 780 Tis and Titans in SLI offer very low frame time variance. The Radeons are also well-behaved in this gauge of smoothness.

It’s the GeForce GTX 690 that encounters the most serious issues. That card simply isn’t a player at this resolution, though. So, while it’s good to illustrate the limitations of 2 GB per GPU at 3840x2160, I’ll refrain from mentioning the board’s performance every time we test a game at 4K.

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115 comments
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  • SVMreborn
    The pricing of this beast really impressed me.
  • Marsian Gustrianda
    Many people doubt about Dual GPU Hawaii will be Blow Up. It seems AMD really do well job. Nice Looking Card
  • 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)
  • ferooxidan
    Finally the review of this beast! Now continue reading
  • 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!
  • getochkn
    Surprised you didn't do a mining hashrate test on it to see what it can push out.
  • gunfighter zeck
    the name Dreadnaught originated from Dread Nothing or, fear nothing.
    Boss ship.
  • Maxamus456
    Hope this price stays low and not get bloated from bit con miners like its predecessors.
  • 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.
  • marciocattini
    Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval? =( clearly this card diserves some love!
  • spp85
    Sheeeer muscle power
  • Plusthinking Iq
    this is what i want for all my high end gaming, but i would rather like to see aio water cooling only and a 140mm version that could go silent if needed, full cover water block like the tundra series is some of the best. but single card is the best like a 780ti cooled with a 140mm aio at 500rpm and quiet pump. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
  • ferooxidan
    After reading the article my conclusion is: we need a beefier GPU next year for a truly comfortable 4K gaming experience. OMG games this day really take tolls on our rig. Some games only hit around 40-ish and some even down to 30-ish fps on 4K. Imagine next year AAA titles, even this beast will be tamed.
  • Wisecracker
    Vesuvius erupts !! ... nice job, Toms.

    Conspicuous by their absence are power, temp and noise numbers from the Green Team -- which likely means they got smoked (in a really good way) across the board by dual Hawaii.
  • AMD Radeon
    good guy AMD
  • tristangl
    ok that just prove that 4k gaming for the average joe is still not around the corner
  • chuckydb
    I hope some OEM make the cooler with a double radiator. That card can be cooler and completely silent.
  • JoeArchitect
    @marciocattini

    "Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval..."

    This is addressed in the conclusion of the article:

    "We have an estimated price and an estimated date for availability. The past several launches were peppered by misses on both fronts, and we’ve learned our lesson about recommending gear before you can buy it."
  • St0rm_KILL3r
    Well, at 1440p r9 295x2 = gtx 780ti sli. But at 3840x2160 it totally dominates every gpu. Wondering if gtx 790 will be able to keep up with it.
  • ekagori
    I like what AMD has done, it's good to know they are making a better effort with high end parts. Hopefully all this goodness trickles down to the next generation 20nm consumer friendly products.
  • Steveymoo
    I'm gonna get flamed for this, but AMD still have crossfire issues. A high framerate is cool and all, but micro stutter is still more annoying than a slightly lower fps. I tried Xfire on two r9 290s in BF4, and frankly, you get a less lumpy experience with just one. Granted, Nvidia has their share of SLI issues (like a lack of support for new releases,) but throughout all the years of owning a gtx 460 SLI rig, I'm still convinced Nvidia provides a smoother, more refined overall experience.
  • patrick47018
    It seems like a really good card, good job AMD
  • de5_Roy
    great read, very informative. the card itself looks good, which is a major departure from amd's previous ultra high end cards. :P

    i didn't quite understand if gpu performance and vram capacity was holding back the nvidia cards or vram size and bus-width both, in 4K gaming benches. imo, this might be worth exlporing in a different article.
  • vertexx
    What GPU are the temperature measurements coming from? Given they are connected in series, I would expect one to be hotter than the other.

    Edit: After some additional research on the web, it looks like there is only a 2 degree difference between the two GPUs under load - somewhat surprising.