Solid Performance And Pricing Come Together
PowerColor's PCS+ R9 290X currently sells for $600 on Newegg. That's about $30 higher than it was a week ago. Still, though, that's a good price for an overclocked card cooled by a third-party thermal solution. The cheapest R9 290X boards also equipped with non-reference heat sinks start around $570. And the least-expensive GeForce GTX 780 Tis go for $700.
After a drastic spike up in pricing and a slow pullback, we're finally ready to start recommending the Hawaii GPU-based flagship to enthusiasts looking for high-end performance, effective cooling, conservative acoustics, and a reasonable price tag.
The success of PowerColor's PCS+ R9 290X is partly attributable to market conditions, sure. But the board is also well-built. It's fast, light (given its size), fairly quiet, and, despite the fact that there are a number of pricier 290Xes, relatively affordable. There is but one minor piece of feedback we'd give to PowerColor: the automatic fan control is a bit course, cranking up rotational speed quickly once the GPU temperature hits 72 °C (162 °F). As a result, the PCS+ R9 290X isn't able to beat MSI's R9 290X Lightning in our acoustic test.
With that said, PowerColor successfully build a Radeon R9 290X that's as large and powerful as MSI's premium competition, weighing a full pound less. Yes, there are a couple of things the company could have done better, but we're nitpicking.
If you are back in the market for a Radeon R9 290X, having watched their prices dip back down into sane territory, PowerColor's PCS+ R9 290X is one of our favorite choices. The card doesn't suffer any debilitating flaws, but rather offers excellent gaming performance behind an effective cooler. And speaking of heat sink design, PowerColor's fits like a glove. The implementation would be tough to beat.
As we've seen, some competing vendors built their Radeon R9 290Xes in a hurry and missed the mark. Haste makes waste, so to speak. So, it looks like the long wait for PowerColor's card was worthwhile.