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The AMD Radeon R9 290 Review

by Ryan Smith on 11/5/2013 12:01 AM EST
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295 Comments

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  • Pierreso - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Amazing indeed! $400 for a card up there with Titan often and leaving behind the 780. This is really great! Reply
  • Jimminycricket - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Was waiting patiently for 290 reviews all night and read several. What a read this is.

    This here is THE card to get. The value and performance is off the charts. AMD 290 performs better than nvidia Gtx780 in almost every case and you can overclock it for even more coming up towards 290X numbers. The new review AMD drivers made performance through the roof. AMD 290 also is right there with $1000 wallet-buster Titan.

    And $400! Finally we get amazing value and beastly performance at a good pricepoint.I was considering the Gtx780 but with this beast from AMD nvidia needs another $150 pricecut on GTX780 down to $350 otherwise it is $400 AMD 290 in my rig allday. $400 Beast!
    Reply
  • jerkchickens - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    no doubt, nvidia, time for another price cut GTX780=$350 value now. R9 290 $400 and kicks its butt Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I'm surprised AMD isn't selling a first-party solution for this if the cooling benefit is so substantial with GCN 1.1

    Water cooling kit = volume solved.
    Reply
  • holdingitdown - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Custom cards will be here in no time. Per reviewers comments elsewhere AMD is waiting for 780ti to release then they drop the custom 290x and 290 cards and crush that card too.

    So much for nvidia trying to charge $699 fir 780ti. Propaply that card will be $599 oi instead.
    Reply
  • crispyitchy - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    290 is the best card to release on 28nm.

    Wicked fast and priced right $400.

    With these new AMD cards and their aggressive pricing and top tier performance, nvidia's entire lineup is irrelevant until they do some serious price drops.

    290 is indeed a beast!
    Reply
  • crispyitchy - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Take a look at this review

    It really paints how amazing the card is.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/11/04/amd_rade...
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    440W. Reply
  • designerfx - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It's definitely refreshing to know AMD is definitely going for direct competition with Nvidia with the 290. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, November 08, 2013 - link

    And, water cooling bumps the price up at least $75 for the block, assuming you have an existing pump and radiator that will take the added load.

    It is the only card to get IF you don't care about noise or are willing to spend a significant amount of money to get rid of the noise, don't care about G-sync, don't care about PhysX, and don't care about Shield compatibility. Me, I'd rather spend $500 on a card that doesn't give up those things and doesn't force me to change the cooling solution.
    Reply
  • TempAccount007 - Saturday, November 09, 2013 - link

    What part of REFERENCE COOLER do you not understand? Reply
  • johnny_boy - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    The IF isn't so big, I think. A lot of gamers already have blocks for their graphics cards, or don't care much about the additional noise, or want a block anyway at some point and the 290 presents an opportunity to get one now (and then cooling is quieter/better than the competing nVidia cards for the same price when figuring in the watercooling costs for the AMD card). I'd rather get the 290 (over the 780) and use my current watercooling solution. If I didn't have watercooling then I'd still rather buy the 290 and upgrade to watercooling. Reply
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    Reply
  • tgirgis - Thursday, February 20, 2014 - link

    That's really extremely one sided, first of all, AMD already has a response to G-Sync, (their version for now has been dubbed "Free-Sync" but no idea if that nomenclature is final) and they have TressFX (which, at the moment, does look better than Nvidia's "Hairworks" but Nvidia will probably soon catch up), and they've got Mantle, which is definitely a massive advantage.

    Not to mention the R9 290 comes with 4GB Vram, as opposed to the GTX 780's 3GB, though it's really not a huge issue except in 4k gaming. Finally, shield compatibility isn't really a benefit, it's a $250 handheld game system, it's only beneficial if you interested in purchasing one of those, as opposed to being an included feature.

    Nvidia is not without it's advantages however, they still have lower power consumption and thermals which is great for mini-itx systems (although manufacturer custom cooled cards can help bridge the gap for thermals) and they do still have Physx.

    If Mantle keeps going the way it is now, Nvidia might be forced to pay royalties to AMD similar to how they did with Intel a few years back. If anything, AMD should throw "Allow us to use Physx" in the negotiations :)
    Reply
  • slickr - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    O yeah, Nvidia at this point has no choice, but to lower its prices again. I mean for $400 this card is amazing. It performs on the same level as the $1000 Titan and on the same level as the $550 290X, so a giant performance at a very cheap price.

    Even with the high noise(just wait 2 weeks for custom cooler) this card blows the GTX 780 out of the water, the performance is so much better.

    I think if Nvidia wants to stay in the competition they would need to cut the GTX 780 price to at least $400 as well and try and get sales due to better acoustics and a lower power consumption, but if it was just performance in question they would need to lower the price of the 780 to $350 or 300 euros.

    Of course that would mean that the 770 should get a price reduction as well and be around $270.
    Reply
  • holdingitdown - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Yes this card is incredibly disruptive. The performance makes the 780 look like a mess. Expect to see at least another $100 slashed off the 780 and the 770 needs a little more taken off.

    The R9 290 is a monster!
    Reply
  • crispyitchy - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Best card to release yet as far as I am concerned.

    The noise profile is not perfect, but every card is noisy once gaming to one degree or another.

    What is perfect is the giant performance for this perfect price.

    Newegg here I COME
    Reply
  • Wreckage - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I doubt NVIDIA will cut their price. This card is so loud that most people will stay away and get a 780 or 770. AMD is so desperate to increase performance that they sacrifice everything else. It's like the last sad days of 3DFX. Reply
  • Da W - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Remember what happened after 3Dfx died? Higher price and mediocre performance.
    I'd buy AMD if only to keep them alive and force Nvidia to drop their prices.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Actually, traditionally, 3dfx was overpriced until the very end. ATI was always there competing with nVidia and 3dfx, anyway.

    So competition existed for as long as we've had discrete GPU's in any meaningful way. It's AMD that wants to end competition by standardizing PC gaming high performance around a GCN-based API only they can use meaningfully.
    Reply
  • swing848 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It will only get loud for me when playing games or the occasional benchmark. During games I wear

    a headset, and during benchmarks I can leave the room. I have a room dedicated to computer use

    and the house has good sound proofing, so, it will not bother other people.

    If I want it quiet I will use a water cooler with a large radiator and fan, my Cooler Master HAF

    922 case already has sealed holes for tubing for an external radiator.

    Water cooling is better than dumping all the hot air from the video card into my case, even if it

    is well cooled with 200mm fans. I overclock my CPU and I do not want it, RAM, or chips on the

    motherboard to get any hotter than necessary.

    The only thing I will miss on this card are Black Diamond Chokes and Digital Power 8+2+2 phase

    used on the Sapphire R9 280X Toxic [Black Diamond Chokes are also used on Sapphire R9 280 Vapor-

    X]. To be honest I do not know how many mosfits are dedicated to cool GPU functions on the R9

    290. In any event, both the Toxic and Vapor-X dump hot air into the case.

    Another thing I would like to have seen on the Sapphire R9 290 is a metal back plate.
    Reply
  • somethingwicked - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    what the holy gee whiz

    the new AMD drivers are insane! 290x is speeding past Titan now and 780 is a turtle while 290x is a ferrari... the new 290 is performing like the 290x was at launch and now the 290x is a card unto its self at the top of the food chain

    thank goodness for competition

    i smell more deep nvidia price cuts cause AMD is kicking butt
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    rofl. So NV just has to release a "fan that drives you out of the room" driver now to respond. IF NV did this all of you would be falling all over yourselves to moan and groan claiming NV was cheating. AMD does it, and wow this is awesome, I love the noise anyway...LOL. Technically this is all NV has to do though right? Raise the fan speed until it hits another 10DB's and blow them down again.

    Perf is great, but not if it drives me out of my room. There is nothing stopping NV from adding 10DB's to their cards and calling it a day. But I don't want this being called normal. IMHO this is a crap way to get perf and a game both sides can play. If NV does this tomorrow and says we're hiking prices because if we overclock our cards also (which is essentially what they're doing here, just reverse, raise fan so clocks boost higher, same story) we blow AMD away.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djvZaHHU4I8
    Both cards clocked to max (290x vx. 780, NOT TI mind you).
    Fast forward to 8:40 for benchmarks...AMD is blown away. The 780 didn't lose ANY game. Not one. And in star citizen blows AMD away. I don't believe these cards will be used mostly on 1600P or 1440p either. 1080/1200p is running on 98.5% of our screens and a large portion of the 1.5% that is above these two resolutions are running TWO or more cards. Steam's surveys don't lie. Already they turn down nearly every game at 1440p here which to me means you won't run there anyway (they are not reporting mins here for most games). Everything is pretty maxed in linustechtips vid above at 1080p, and you should be able to stay above 30fps (probably?) doing it. They are reporting avg's here at anandtech and already turning stuff down. Meaning maxing graphics on a lot of games would be unplayable under 30fps especially when lots of crap is going on. LOW DETAIL? Seriously? So Ryan is assuming you'll buy one of these cards (or any single gpu card) to then go out and buy a 1440p monitor (which are still over $550 for any brand you'd recognize the name of on newegg, and start there when you choose NEWEGG ONLY) and then run the details on low to play games? I don't think so. If he's assuming we're all going to buy new monitors, might as well get Gsync instead (though I'd say wait for more models first even if Asus has a decent one out of the gate). Heck some of the games have details DOWN on 1080p here (total war2, medium shadows? still looks like it would hit below 30fps on most cards).

    For anyone saying get a water block...LOL. How much did my card cost if I have to add that and how many regular users even know what water is or are even capable of adding one? I say that as a guy who has as Koolance kit. Or even adding an aftermarket fan. Isn't this upping the cost of the card then?

    Both solutions are unacceptable and attempting to fix a problem caused by shipping a card that already is unacceptably NOISY, hot and sucking up watts vs. it's competition. No games either.

    Add on top reviews elsewhere show other games that give an opposite story. Techpowerup, Techspot, Guru3d, Hardocp show wins for AC3, COD Blackops2, Diablo3 (spanked by NV), FarCry3, SplinterCell Blacklist, Star Craft2 (spanked, heck 770 does well), World of Warcraft (spanked), Skyrim (lost 3 resolutions, 290/x won 1600p, oddly lost upping to 5760), Resident Evil 6.

    So maybe you need to take a bit of a WIDER view than anandtech ;) I don't call 53 more watts than 780 (or 70 more than 770) a victory. Never mind the noise it creates while doing it. Is running 10DB's higher really a better card? Do people here realize that noise in DB's is EXPONENTIAL? A 10Db noise difference is HUGE (ryan did say 2x as loud). 12 degress hotter for this kind of perf isn't good either. I see a clear reason NV should be charging more than AMD's cards. They are better. I can OC and beat them easily without all the noise, heat, watts. I don't need a waterblock to do this either...ROFL. Whatever I already have on my card can do this easily and come in UNDER Ryan's 7970 noise levels that he calls acceptable.

    I see no price cuts, but probably a few more videos poking fun at AMD like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV5vs27wnCA
    Tell me that isn't funny ;) I'm wondering if someone at NV paid for this vid to be made...LOL. Sparks, dripping fire, ROFL. Great job of getting the message across.
    Reply
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    i couldn't give two s***ts because when i game i wear noise cancelling headphones that i use for listening to music on the bus Reply
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    so i'm happy. and with the exception of skyrim i could set the graphics card to 10% fan profile and max the game. i run quite afew mods for skyrim don't play it anymore.
    but i can see how the noise can be a major issue for a lot of people.
    Reply
  • Morawka - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    your not understanding. At this level of noise, not even noise canceling headphones will drown it out. This is louder than a 747 jet from 100 meters away. Reply
  • mgl888 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You'd better be trolling.
    60dB is the intensity of a normal conversation.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Comon, a 747 jet 100 meters away... you gotta be freaking stupid to only think it could be true :O Reply
  • ahlan - Saturday, November 09, 2013 - link

    @Galidou
    What do expect from nvidia fantards who think higher price is better.
    They are so unsecure and delusional that they comment in every AMD review...

    Nvidia is loving their stupidness...
    Reply
  • 1Angelreloaded - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    120 decibels is a 747 I would know I work around them, But AMDs new cards are crap, 550$ to add a water cooling system totaling around 200-300$.......either way its not a deal really, Nvidia cards have more headroom on air and water, while AMD's cards are impressive to an extent Hawaii is a bastard step child of sorts, it is probably a failed version of the next chip to compete with Maxwell but had no choice but to release it. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I love you use steam surveys to justify comparing the cards at 1080p because "1080/1200p is running on 98.5% of our screens" and then reference a review that benchmarks based on bleeding edge overclocks of each GPU... Reply
  • geok1ng - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    well, while it may be true that an overclocked 780 is about as fast as an overclocked 290/X, it is also true that under water a 290/x will blow away an OC 780, and that the cost of a waterblock more than compensates the price NVIDIA asks for a 780. it may well be true that most of 780 and 290 buyers are running it at 1080p, it only points towards how irrational/stupid enthusiasts can behave, i am speaking as a 1600p gamer whose games do not demand more than a 4870x2 but has upgraded to a 6950 and then to a 7950. There is one point in favor of the 290/X that all your whining can not deny: THESE CARDS ARE 4K GAMING READY. We are ending 2013, and buying a new card today may well mean that one will use it on a 4k display over the next 2 years. Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    ''buying a new card today may well mean that one will use it on a 4k display over the next 2 years''

    Or simply means that one will use it to continue maxing graphics no 1080p for the enxt 2 years... like if new gen consoles and games will not make graphics improve so 1080p will never ever be a challenging resolution for 2 years old graphics card... sigh...
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Sparks, dripping fire? Was it a GTX 590? Sorry, didn't watch the vid ;) Nothing quite like a fanboy making up the other side's arguments for them. Reply
  • swing848 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It looks like you and Anand almost see eye to eye, GeForce fan boys. If I remember correctly the GeForce 480 [and 470] fan was very noisy in an effort to keep the HOT GPU from melting down, along with may be part of your motherboard.

    [IMG]http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p266/Swing848/A...[/IMG]
    Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Well, as long as your PC is in sound dampened closet with a usb extension cable and your dvi/hdmi cables comming out of it, yes, this is an amazing card. But I certainly wouldn't want something that is in the mid 50db range in my bedroom or office. Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Then wait for Asus or gigabyte cards with aftermarket coolers... comon you guys denying amazing cards because they have 2 weeks to be sold with a crappy cooler... COMON are you that stupid? Reply
  • yacoub35 - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    7970 is still the best bang-for-the-buck right now. This card will be too, once it's been out for a year or so and has a price drop to $299. Reply
  • Galidou - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    I've got to agree that the 7970 at the current price is the bargain hunter best deal. If you run 1080p monitor and even above, you REALLY can't go wrong. It usually performs better than GTX 770 and can be overclocked like... Anyway, you get the point. Reply
  • mgl888 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Too much of the article was dedicated to noise.
    Personally, if it came down to saving $100 or having my GPU run loudly (but stably at factory speeds), I'd take the $100 savings any day.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I don't think you get how loud they're saying this card is, but go on, buy it. I think you'll figure it out pretty quick. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    That will be completely irrelevant in a couple of weeks when aftermarket designs become available. The reference cards are pretty much for water block users only. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I get it that being quiet is a nice feature... but it's way at the bottom of my list. I want the most frames for the dollar followed by thermals and then power usage. Then, way under that, I care about acoustics. The article sure fusses a lot given that AMD very rarely makes quiet coolers. The aftermarket cards will all sport more efficient dual/triple fan setups... or silent water blocks... Reply
  • hoboville - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Basically this, if 3rd parties make custom PCBs with custom VRMs, you probably won't be able to affix a waterblock, because they are usually built for reference designs.

    To the guy who says "he's focusing too much on noise" has no idea what a fan at 60 DB sounds like. Basically, take an industrial fan, and point it at your face, and turn it on medium. Or, drive with your windows down at 45 MPH. It's distracting.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Exactly. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I don't know about you, but I have my PC under my desk about 4-6 feet from my face. I think AT measures decibels at 12 inches. Even if they measure from 24 inches, that's a HUGE difference in perceived noise in real life. Between deflection, pitch, and attenuation, these decibel measurements are a waste of time in many applications. It's good to have objective data to compare, but unless your PC is sitting right up on your desk next to your monitor about the same distance from your face would it be distracting... and only under load... assuming there were no other sounds coming from your speakers (silent gaming?).

    Come to think of it, my HTPC is stored in an AV closet (totally silent) and my other HTPCs are hidden away and not audible. This card is amazing despite its SPL.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Wait for the new custom coolers, improved fps with upcoming drivers like any new products that takes time to adjust. Another comment about a crappy AMD cooler, like if anyone of us didn't know it's crappy, you had to fanboy comment about how crappy it is, I ALREADY got it from reading the review thanks!

    ''Basically, take an industrial fan, and point it at your face, and turn it on medium. Or, drive with your windows down at 45 MPH. It's distracting. ''

    Drive your 100k$ car right in a wall, destroy it, it's annoying. Everyone knows that, how obvious life can be sometimes. Another comparison that sounds as stupid as can be. PS I was sarcastic about the car, don't do it... while the guy above thought he was serious... OMG

    Wait for aftermarket coolers, Nvidia got amazing launch results cauz they have very good coolers, this is already AMAZING and that's with the WORST cooler EVER, 2 weeks from now everyone will be in exctasy with the superb Asus DCU II or other amazing silent solution that will allow for overclocking.
    Reply
  • Mirshaan - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    BS. It's not that loud. 60db is normal conversation levels. HARDLY the sound of an industrial fan blowing in your face, or windows down at 45mph.... and that is coming from several sources online....

    http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.h...

    http://airportnoiselaw.org/dblevels.html

    https://www.chem.purdue.edu/chemsafety/Training/PP...
    Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The only problem I can see at this point is that these aftermarket solutions are usually open designs...... this is going to result in a LOT of heat being pumped into the case. Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    With a good aftermarket cooler, this doesn't dissipate more than 1-2 degree celsius than a GTX 780 while being superior, I don't see too much of a problem. Reply
  • DMCalloway - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Not sure how to interpret your analogy. Heat is measured in watts (energy) needing dissipation. This card is running up to 95*C while drawing around 50 more watts of power than a 780 . The 780 while drawing 50 less watts of power is running up to 80*C. Out of the gate the heat sink on the R290 is going to have to be at LEAST 20% more effective than the current 780 heat sink, and this thermal excess is still being pumped into the case. Reply
  • Galidou - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Well as I can see you are rather unfamiliar with power leakage due to temperature... anyway I won't get into the subject, I'll let you google it. Getting a card to run a lot cooler at the same frequencies can reduces power usage depending on how bad it affects certain node.

    A 20 degree celsius difference can have a great impact on power usage which I think might turn the tide around. In 28nm design, power leakage has been a bigger problem than before, probably a reason why Nvidia has been using better reference coolers thus, enhancing the performance/watt for the last generations of video cards.

    That is the basis of my previous analogy.
    Reply
  • TrantaLocked - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    With the card in the case, with headphones on, with sounds/music from the game playing, hearing the 290 or any card would be tough. I know what loud video cards sound like (I owned the 4890 with a single fan design, and I always ran the fan at manual 40%-50% speed for gaming), and when playing a game with headphones the sound is barely audible and definitely not distracting. Reply
  • Calinou__ - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I have a reference 570 in a sound dampened case and a headset and I can easily hear it, even at idle (40% fan speed)... and I guess the R9 290 is more noisy. Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    A reference 570 if not cleaned regularly(once every two months) goes easily up to 62 db. GTX 480 went up to 64 db(brand new) and Nvidia fans praised it even if AMD fans were saying it was loud, nothing new in here... Nvidia fans once said that 64 db is ''nothing'' for a good performing card... Look at them now speaking and whining about the same situation, really fun to see the tides turn around...

    That was in a time when reference coolers where much more used and represented a MUCH bigger % of the market, I would never buy an AMD reference cooled card. Nvidia fans started to care about noise and temperature when they got the 600 series out and for the first time had an advantage.
    Reply
  • Finally - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Whoever buys a card with the default fan? Get one with a custom design and problem solved. How hard is that? Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Anyone that buys it right now? =P Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I used to think that too, until I actually bought a loud HD4890. I ended up having to get an Accelero, which made it dead quiet. My current NVidia based card is also really loud, but I fixed that buy underclocking it most of the time. Really loud cards are just not fun to deal with. I'd wait for third party cards to come out with better cooling solutions. Reply
  • hoboville - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Except that it's hot, noisy, and basically pointless to overclock because it's as loud as a medium party without music. So as it is, it's a bad card.

    However, since it's only $400, one could go out and buy a water cooling setup and have a card faster than the 290x for about the same or less money. For Titan money, you could get a second 290 and add some more rads to your setup. The thing is...if you do want to OC (and why wouldn't you with water cooling?), you'll have to dissipate over 800 watts of heat...
    Reply
  • Slomo4shO - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Well done AMD. Competition at its finest! Reply
  • blank001 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Intense review, but I think the custom cooler will make it a solid buy ultimately. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    definitely needs a better cooler. ridiculous potential held back by an intel-esk cooler. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    *esque Reply
  • RagnarKon - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Sold. I am very impressed.

    Such a dramatic decrease in price makes me feel like that both AMD and Nvidia were essentially ripping us off with the previous generations. I'd like to know what their profit margins were, and what they are now. Either way, I appreciate the seemingly competative pricing coming from AMD this time around.

    $550 for 290X was a little outside my price range, but I can do $400. I shall be waiting patiently by my phone for until I get a notification that it is in stock.
    Reply
  • BPM - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I think the profit margin for 290 is less than 290x percentage wise. We may have cheaper flagship amd next year Reply
  • RagnarKon - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You are probably right. Still just leaves a bad taste in my mouth knowing that I paid so much for the previous generation, and that they are willing to cut launch prices but so much.

    I re-read the review after my head cooled down a bit and am now a little more concerned about the noise level. It isn't a deal-breaker for me, but it is a concern. I may have to wait for the non-reference coolers to come out before I take the plunge.
    Reply
  • Ananke - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Noise level is LESS than 5850/5870. I had such card, it was pretty normal to me. It is at least twice less noise than 4870... Reply
  • Sandcat - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The 5850/70 didn't need to run their fans at 60%. In fact, at stock profiles, mine never went above 65c, unlike these furnaces. Reply
  • slickr - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Just wait 2 weeks for custom cooler cards and this card is a beast. I mean it will probably be even faster with a natural OC on custom cooler cards, so add 4-5% more performance on top of the current one and lower noise levels at $400 and you have yourself a winner.

    I'll be waiting 2 weeks(hopefully less) and getting one with custom cooler and hopefully factory OC. I mean right now it pretty much beats Titan in half the games, with a factory OC and better cooler it going to come close to beating Titan at almost all the games.

    So wait two weeks like me and get a custom cooled 290, for $400 its an amazing choice, I might consider getting a GTX 780 though if Nvidia lowers its price to $400 as well, so with 3 free games at $400 it may be better worth, but as of now the 290 is the king.
    Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You still have to dissipate the heat. Custom coolers are usually open design, so while it will be quieter all that heat is now going to be pumped into the case. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Simple economics...NV doesn't make as much as they did in 2007. They are not gouging anyone and should be charging more (so should AMD) and neither side should be handing out free games. Do you want them to be able to afford engineers and good drivers or NOT? AMD currently can't afford them due to your price love, so you get crap drivers that still are not fixed. It's sad people don't understand the reason you have crap drivers is they have lost $6Billion in 10yrs! R&D isn't FREE and the king of the hill gets to charge more than the putz. Why do you think their current card is 10db’s higher in noise, 50-70 watts higher and far hotter? NO R&D money.

    NV made ~550mil last 12 months (made $850 in 2007). Intel made ~10Billion (made under 7B 2007, so profits WAY UP, NV way down). Also INtel had 54B in assets 2007, now has 84billion! Who's raping you? The Nvidia hate is hilarious. I like good drivers, always improving products, and new perf/features. That means they need to PROFIT or we'll get crappy drivers from NV also.

    Microsoft 2007=14B, this year $21B (again UP HUGE!)
    Assets 2007=64B, 2013=146Billion HOLY SHITE.

    Who's raping you...IT isn't Nvidia...They are not doing nearly as well as 2007. So if they were even raping you then, now they're just asking you to show them your boobs...ROFL. MSFT/INtel on the other hand are asking you to bend over and take it like a man, oh and give me your wallet when I'm done, hey and that car too, heck sign over your house please...

    APPLE 2007=~3Bil profits 2013=41Billion (holy 13.5x the raping).
    Assets 2007=25B, wait for it...2013=176Billion!
    bend over and take it like a man, oh and give me your wallet when I'm done, hey and that car too, heck sign over your house please...Did you mention you're planning on having kids?...Name them Apple and I want them as slaves too...LOL

    Are we clear people. NV makes less now than 2007 and hasn't made near that 850mil since. Why? Because market forces are keeping them down which is only hurting them, and their R&D (that force is AMD, who by the way make ZERO). AMD is killing themselves and fools posting crap like this is why (OK, it's managements fault for charging stupidly low prices and giving out free games). You can thank the price of your card for your crappy AMD drivers

    Doesn't anyone want AMD to make money? Ask for HIGHER PRICES! Not lower, and quit demonizing NV (or AMD) who doesn't make NEAR what they did in 2007! Intel killed their chipset business and cost them a few hundred million each year. See how that works. If profits for these two companies don't start going up we're all going to get slower product releases (witness what just happened, no new cards for 2yrs if you can even call AMD's new as it just catches OLD NV cards and runs hot doing it), and we can all expect CRAP DRIVERS with those slower released cards.

    AMD finally made a profit in the last year 1/2 this Q (only 48mil and less depending on if you look gaap, non-gaap). AMD has lost over 6Billion in 10yrs. They are not charging you enough. I expect them to lose money again as they owe $200mil to GF Dec 31st which will wipe out last Q profit and kill this Q also. See the point? They need to make money. How is it possible for either side to be ripping us off if neither has made as much as they did in 2007 for 6 years with AMD losing their collective ARSE?

    I could give you the Hard Drive makers profits etc and would show the same (or worse) as MS, Apple, Google. The flood allowed them all triple profits (quad in Seagates case). YES, this is ripping us off.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    TL;DR Reply
  • Senti - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Good drivers from NV? Ha-ha-ha! You've never run anything besides few overhyped games I guess. They are awful the moment you start programming them:

    You use some obscure feature of standard that is not used in games? Here, have a bluescreen! Even AMD video drivers weren't so bad recently.

    File in bug report? Ignored, who cares about you, you are not making one of top tier games.

    Want OpenCL 1.2 like the rest of the world has (even integrated Intel videocards)? No, it's not important – here you are ten new versions of CUDA!

    And how about crippled OpenGL for non-Quadro cards? Sure I know what I'm talking about since I have Quadro too.
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, November 11, 2013 - link

    Your comment is nothing but an exercise in ambiguity. So basically what you're saying is that because Nvidia's drivers don't work perfectly for every user, AMD's drivers are superior. Really?

    The one sentence that's actually applicable to gaming is just about as vague as you can get, maybe because you don't actually know what you're talking about? Bluescreen, really? Okay... And from an end user perspective wtf does it even mean to program a driver? Are you suggesting you're something more than an end user? Are you suggesting you work for Nvidia? lol...

    Whatever driver related bsod problems you were having is unlikely to be systemic, and may not even be driver related at all. Almost all of the Nvidia driver issues I've read about in recent memory (past couple of years) have been isolated incidents that may result in instability for certain users, none of which I've experienced myself (GTX480). Optimizations compared to the competition have been spot on, and title support has been fantastic. The only exception I can think of was the fan controller issue a couple years ago. Compare that to AMD's recent driver issues (xfire, surround, 4k, frame pacing, etc), all of which are systemic and widespread. I think most AMD fanboys choose to either ignore these problems, or accept them as the norm (same with fan noise on stock coolers), which is stupid and self defeating in my opinion. That sort of attitude doesn't drive AMD or Nvidia to improve.
    Reply
  • Senti - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I'm talking from developer's point, can you even read? You probably have no clue about programming if those sounded ambiguous and you even suggested that I work for NV, lol.

    I don't say that AMD's drivers are superior, but I can surely say that "NV drivers are superior" is one big lie. They are both bad, really.

    I can tell you some fun things about AMD's drivers too: like, uploading textures of certain sizes crashes them, or how their OpenCL compiler crashes on certain C99 features. But those are just program-level crashes (not system-level) and I see texture crash only in recent beta versions, not the last stable version; haven't really investigated OpenCL ones. On the other hand I can reliably send NV drivers into bluescreen, but as already said, it's quite obscure feature and simple users have very low chance to stumble upon it.

    Conclusion: we do love AMD for their performance/price ratio while there is nothing to love NV for except being mindless fanboy. My personal view of current situation, feel free to disagree.
    Reply
  • nsiboro - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    TL;DR

    Nvidia isn't doing only GPU. Do not forget Tegra - acquisition of comm IP, etc. do require $$$.

    The raping is true.

    GPU revenue dump into ARM/mobile for future survival.
    Reply
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I like how they actually explicitly recommend against the card and the first 5 comments are praising it XD.

    That's a LOT of noise... but when we get custom coolers this will be really, really exciting.
    Reply
  • RussianSensation - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Yup, customs coolers will fix both the noise levels and temperature issues. After that, this card will be a must buy. 2 Windforce 3x (dual slot) and $699 780Ti is irrelevant. In fact, after-market versions of R9 290 will make 780/R9 290X and 780Ti very overpriced. They can't get here soon enough. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Well, sometimes you just can't fix fanboism. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    How puerile. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Fanboism? I know right? Reply
  • EJS1980 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    He was referring to you, and you know this. Reply
  • Mondozai - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    EJS1980 the buttboy for Nvidia has spoken! Reply
  • JDG1980 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Well, what the review fails to take into account is that for the vast majority of the card's lifetime, all or nearly all the cards actually sold will be using third-party coolers which are much better than AMD's halfhearted effort. All the noise measurements are completely irrelevant once Asus and MSI get their hands on the silicon and start releasing custom cards. Reply
  • A5 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    They can't review a card they don't have. I would think they will do a 290 round-up once some of the custom designs come out. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Quite right. This is a perfectly fair review. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    And then there's the disturbing revelation on Tom's that retail cards are underperforming AMD's reference review cards by a significant margin. But it's AMD, so it's okay.

    I mean seriously, could you imagine the uncontrollable outrage there would be if Nvidia tried to pull something like this? There would be an uproar from the community unlike anything the interweb's seen before. But if it's AMD? Largely silence, driven by either indifference (AMD fanboys), or AMD fanboy appeasement (confrontation averse reviewers). We wouldn't want to directly oppose the AMD fanboy agenda, lest we have to deal with yet another uproar from AMD's zealous fan-base, which occurs whenever a reviewer says anything remotely negative yet entirely relevant about an AMD product (Bulldozer, HD6990, R9 290, etc...)
    Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    I've been watching this battle since the Radeon 8500 Geforce 3 days.. and to be absolutely honest with you.. don't matter what amd or Nvidia does fanboys will rage against the rival. It's the way they are... (shrug)

    Both companies have had their fair share of tricks btw.. (just in case you didn't know that or had forgotten)
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    Uh, definitely haven't forgotten, otherwise there would be no context for the vastly different reactions I'm referring to. And honestly dude, I think you and other people who refer to the fanboy situation on both sides being the same are just displaying your own ignorance and unfamiliarity with the situation. I've noticed that despite how bad it can get here, I've never seen it get even remotely close to the norm on Tom's. It's gotten so bad at times (Bulldozer, HD6990, recent buyers guides, etc...) that the authors and reviewers have had to address the AMD fanboy situation directly in forums and comments. To which the zealous AMD fanbase becomes even more enraged, even resorting to malicious personal attacks against Chris, Don, etc, demanding to know why Nvidia/Intel fanboys are never addressed directly in the same way. Well, because they don't behave the same way... lol.

    When you genuinely believe that any author who doesn't conform to your inherently biased agenda is biased and bought out, and you adamantly defend that belief (over and over again) with childish and at times downright offensive remarks directed at both the authors and other readers, then it's not something that can be ignored. It never ceases to amaze me that despite how often they're thoroughly shutdown, and lose practically every argument they start, they still press on. They just ignore and continue. In fact if anything it seems to give them strength and further cement their delusional beliefs. They're an endless source of astonishment, those AMD fanboys, I'll give them that much.
    Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    From everything I've read, reference cards sell a lot more often than you'd think. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It's really strange what AMD has done with the 290. Sure it has great price and performance, but AMD has also ramped it up in the key complaint areas, power and noise to get there. As a result, the performance of the 290 is close enough to the 290X that you have to wonder if AMD even wants to sell any 290Xs at all. They are hard enough to find to begin with, but at a $150 price difference for ~5% difference in performance, it seems as if AMD is cannibalizing their own SKUs and dissuading people from purchasing the 290X and choosing the much cheaper 290 instead. It also comes close enough to the 280X while thoroughly stomping it to make the 280X seem much less attractive in that $300-$400 range.

    In the end the 290 seems like a strong buy for anyone who is willing to tolerate the heat and the noise. It's amazing that the 290 is even hotter and louder than the 290X, even taking the crown from the previous high-end, noisy fireball GTX 480 (thanks for including it in these results this time btw). It's certainly possible AMD wants this SKU to sit by itself in that $400 slot, safely away from the 770/280X below it and the GTX 780/290X above it.
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The GTX480 is not the previous 'noisy fireball'. AMD has introduced many cards since that make the 480 seem downright reasonable. Take the 6990 and 7970GHz for example. AMD has gone so far and beyond Nvidia in terms of heat and noise it seems comical to still hear people talk about the 480 as though it's some kind of benchmark to compare these cards against. The stock coolers on these recent gen high-end cards from AMD have been much louder. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Everyone who knows anything knows the FX5800 is the benchmark of loud cards. Seriously, that thing was, is, and will always be the Leaf Blower of Legend.

    That said, the 290 is a very well executed attempt to catch the myth and make real the loud card of lore we once thought dead and gone.
    Reply
  • creed3020 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    LOL, I too remember the term Leaf Blower being used with the FX5800 for the first time. A friend had it in his rig and we couldn't stop bugging him about it. This was coming from another friend who have three 80 mm Antec Tornados in his case! Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Agreed that the 480 was probably not as loud, it's fan had issues but didn't have the same high pitched whine characteristic of AMD's blowers. But it was the previously hottest, highest power consuming single-GPU and as an owner of 2 in SLI I can say for sure the heat was a lot to deal with. Reply
  • Mariosti - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Now think about this:
    290X with new drivers, and proper cooling enabling it not to just "not throttling" but also to get some minor oc. The difference will be much bigger. That's why nvidia must go all the way with GK110 unlocking to make the 780Ti a viable competitor.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Or NV can just OC their cards until they hit another 10DB or 50-70watts and laugh right? This is all AMD has done. Why didn't AMD just include this magical fan in the ref design? Overclocks show there isn't much in the tank either. Don't forget they're using NV ref here also. You can buy OC cards that are already clocked 10%+ faster out of the box and reviews show they are quiet in comparison which NOBODY buys. Reply
  • jnad32 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The way I look at it, AMD is looking like an absolute genius. Everyone was ripping them on the 290X for it being too hot and too loud anyway. So instead of keeping the sound levels down they just went for what they do best, price/performance. They are now blowing every other card out of the water. There isn't a card on the planet that can touch this card in price/performance. Yea its loud as hell but, at least you have to think about it now just because of the price. What I really want to see is them unleash the 290X sound threshold and see what kind of raw numbers it can put up. Lets be honest, the only people who should buy reference cards are the ones who are putting water blocks on them. Reply
  • Dal Makhani - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    hmm seems like this card in a somewhat "uber mode" fan profile cannibalizes AMD's own R9 290X? Reply
  • HanzNFranzen - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Ok, fine, the reference cooler sucks. But we all know that sooner rather than later there will be several versions with non-reference coolers available. So instead of get 106% of a 780's performance for $100 lees, we will get it for $70 less. (and possibly some more OC headroom?)Any way you slice it, AMD has done a service for all of us enthusiasts no matter if you're an NVidia or AMD fan... The price/performance has come back down to earth. I will be buying one of these cards, no doubt. But I will be waiting to see what Sapphire or Asus come up with as far as cooling or I may just drop for a 3rd party cooler and a reference board. Reply
  • RussianSensation - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Spot on. People continue to focus on reference GPU performance but unless you have a cramped case (which you shouldn't really have with such premium components) or are going quad-fire, using a reference cooler is almost always inferior to open-air dual slot designs with heatpipes and larger 80-100mm fans. Reply
  • hoboville - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Yup, there have been some cards (EVGA 780 w/ ACX cooler) that have benefited tremendously from special dual-slot coolers. That card was highly overclocked, ran cooler than reference, and was 95%+ of Titan performance. It was also only $10 more than the base 780.

    It just makes no sense that AMD has to flash around their reference cooler for 2 months with a shoddy card before we, as consumers, can buy a decent card that isn't just for looks (cooler shroud, anyone?).
    Reply
  • aznjoka - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    This makes Nvidia's price drop, well looked over. The price/performance ratio of the 290, is quite well and back down at practical levels. AMD has done us all a great doing, saving our pockets from being emptied by the hungry Green men. Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The same AMD that charged us out of our rears for the newly-launched 7000 series, mind you. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    They're both as guilty as each other on that one. Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    " we cannot in good faith recommend a card this loud when any other card is going to be significantly quieter."

    That's nothing at all. Try throwing that against my 3 9000RPM Delta fans, each at -65dBA. -57dBA? Hah!

    I could put four of these 290 GPUs in my tower and my three Deltas would still scream louder.
    Reply
  • jljaynes - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Agreed - I consider myself an old school PC builder. If my rig doesn't sound like a prop plane taking off when I press the power button I am doing something wrong. I come from an era where a nerd's worth is measured by the number of case fans he has on his PC. I thought builders that put fan controls on their rigs were sissies. It's all or nothing - on or off, don't you turn down the speed.

    That, and any self respecting gamer uses a good set of headphones => noise is pretty much irrelevant, at least IMO.
    Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    That's right. Hunt with your ears as your FOV is very limited. Headphones are the only way to go in this regard with the super-power of Delta in your case. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It must be nice thinking everyone is talking low, but your hearing damage causes you not to notice what you're missing. When you're asking everyone to speak up, don't be surprised. Reply
  • jljaynes - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Go look up "noise isolation" or "noise canceling" Reply
  • jljaynes - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    i said "good headphones" - I don't need to turn the sound way up to drown out my case fans - foam cups around my ears do that quite well Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Most serious gamers are likely to be using cans with some form of sound isolation or cancelling. Even my crummy $10 Sentry cans can cut about -10dBA off, which is surprisingly good for semi-open backed headphones. Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "That, and any self respecting gamer uses a good set of headphones"

    Uh huh. Keep telling yourself that.
    Reply
  • Ranger101 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Ryan we didn't realise you were such an Nvidia fan boy, thanks for clarifying. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I'm kind of surprised there haven't been more AMD fanboys in here accusing Anandtech and Ryan of bias and being bought out by Nvidia. What's going on? I can usually tell the time by you guys. I feel sort of insecure now, you guys are shaking my faith in your profound and reliable idiocy. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The AMD fanboys know that there was no way of disguising this launch as anything but a complete miscalculation on AMD's part. If they'd done anything less than what they did, well, they'd have seemed AMD biased. This is their cover. The more important ad dollars purchase will be a positive review of Kaveri, which should be coming up soon-ish. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    That's some twisted logic, HDO. Even for you. Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    That's interesting to say, in light of the very obvious free advertising grabbed by AMD employees who have jumped the gun when the NDA dropped and have grabbed the first comment on a pretty big handful of AMD product launches. Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    On AnandTech, that is. Reply
  • boot318 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The reference cooler is the only downer about this card. Anyways, I think every reasonable human being was expecting this to be $450.... so great job AMD!

    BTW, Anandtech, I'll take the heat & noise for that performance & price. Another great review by you guys. I respect you guys for giving us you honest opinion during this review. Best on the net ;)
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Haha, spoken like someone who's never heard a card this loud. I can't wait to see all these cards on sale on ebay and forums everywhere. "I tried it and it's not for me, sidegrading to a 780," they'll say.

    This card is so loud you're going to be shocked by it. It's going to blow people's minds and it may even convert a few fanboys.
    Reply
  • Finally - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    If he buys one with a nice custom fan, there won't be anything left to complain about. Truly terrible outlook for an Nvidiot, isn't it? Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You're forgetting they are using ref NV also. You don't get that when you buy an NV card and they come overclocked on top of quiet. Also this thing will draw the same watts no matter what. It remains to be seen how good a different cooler will actually be. Did AMD really choose two terrible fans for their product launch? Seriously? I'm wondering how much they can really fix this situation. AMD had to know this would cause bad reviews about noise nearly everywhere and even on AMD loving sites. I can't believe they are completely dumb, and chose a total piece of junk for the fan/heatsink here. I really think people are putting to much faith in a fix with a fan change. They are at 95 all day basically, how much fan do you need to fix that?

    If NV runs their gpus at 95 tomorrow (and cranked up even more to meet the noise they're getting here) these cards will both be spanked. You get a better cooler on NV cards that are NOT ref also.
    Reply
  • jnad32 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The way I look at it, AMD is looking like an absolute genius. Everyone was ripping them on the 290X for it being too hot and too loud anyway. So instead of keeping the sound levels down they just went for what they do best, price/performance. They are now blowing every other card out of the water. There isn't a card on the planet that can touch this card in price/performance. Yea its loud as hell but, at least you have to think about it now just because of the price. What I really want to see is them unleash the 290X sound threshold and see what kind of raw numbers it can put up. Lets be honest, the only people who should buy reference cards are the ones who are putting water blocks on them.

    People have been saying this about the temp since launch, and I still don't get it. If AMD designed the chip to run at those temps, what's the big deal as long as it's not damaging it.
    Reply
  • swing848 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It will only get loud for me when playing games or the occasional benchmark. During games I wear headphones, and during benchmarks I can leave the room. I have a room dedicated to computer use and the house has good sound proofing, so, it will not bother other people.

    If I want it quiet I will use a water cooler with a large radiator and fan.

    It is better than dumping all the hot air from the video card into my case, even if it is well cooled with 200mm fans. I overclock my CPU and I do not want it, RAM, or chips on the motherboard to get any hotter than necessary.
    Reply
  • zeock9 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The burning question on my mind at this point is why AMD is restricting board partners from releasing their own custom designed and obviously better performing coolers on this otherwise fantastic card? Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    They likely don't want to look bad.

    It's okay. It's tough doing thermal management. I cram 1,000w of LED into a 30mm x 30mm space. AMD doesn't have the cooling problems that I have. Nor does nVidia nor intel. They should be grateful. :D
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    They don't have them yet. That's why they haven't made custom boards. They're just getting them right now. They're going with what they have, which right now are just the reference boards. In a month or so, they'll have QA'ed some solutions with pre-existing cooling options, assuming said cooling options are good enough to benefit these cards.

    The thing is, you have to know these cards are running REALLY, REALLY hot to hit these levels at 95 degrees, so... custom coolers may have a hard time handling these cards without some tweaks. Perhaps to get faster fans on there.

    Also, it takes time to redesign a board to add VRM's and the 290 and 290X are still very, very new. You're not going to get an MSI Lightning version overnight.

    It's a solid deal in price, but man it's a shame AMD didn't offer a better custom cooler more attuned to the very special needs of the 290 series. It's also a shame their board is being pushed so hard and so much above what it seems capable of doing with reasonable power levels.

    This is like the Bulldozer of GPU's.
    Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    AMD could have just spent a few more dollars and used copper instead of aluminum, I would think. They could have easily doubled or tripled thermal conductivity and thus not needed to run the reference cooler anywhere near as high, plus that would leave a LOT of extra overclocking room.

    I still would buy it for the extra $45 that would have likely entailed, though I do worry about weight at that point. My 9800 GTX+ was pretty hefty, to say the least.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    THIS. why does amd, or heck, any manufacturer, insist on using aluminum fins on a 250 watt+ gpu? my old amd 2600xt had a full copper heatsink, and it was nowhere near as power hungry as this card (and it ran cool to boot. never over 47c).
    use the exact same heatsink, but make those fins copper. wonder how much lower the temps would go?
    Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I agree. My major concern at this point isn't noise or that custom coolers will not be able to dissipate given thermals, but 95*C is a LOT of heat to dissipate into the case. Usually custom coolers are open. It's going to be like running a serious hair dryer in the case. Reply
  • looncraz - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The 95C figure doesn't matter, only the TDP. This card is by no means in new territory - just in new territory for a stock AMD card with this cooler. A better cooler will still run at 95c if that is the driver and fan speed target, so you will have to rely on the quieter, better, coolers AND custom fan profiles or CCC lower target temperatures. Set the target temperature too low for the cooler and the speed will throttle... so performance will be directly related to the quality of the cooling - which really makes me wonder why AMD didn't consider upgrading their cooler... just looking at their design I can see several ways to improve it for virtually no R&D and very little extra manufacturing cost... a card that has to throttle at stock is a card that needed a little more love before release. Reply
  • DMCalloway - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I get that part. It's still a chip running at higher temps. while drawing at least 50 more watts of juice. Of course the chip will run fine at 95*C+ temps, my concern is with an open heat sink the amount of thermal energy being dissipated into the case is going to be higher. Better coolers more effectively cool the chip, irrelevant for case temps. Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    THG got some retail 290x and they perform a lot worse than the review sample so at this point it seems unclear what the actual perf is for 290 and 290x. You guys need to check if AMD cherry picked the review samples,sending cards that clock well and they sell far slower cards. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I'd love it if they'd start testing these cards in some cases. Testing them on open air benches is the best way to ignore the obvious heat that's going to build up in a case that's got one, let alone two of these boards, using passive heat loss to help them.

    Boards this hot running continuously need to be in a case to test for how long it can maintain its boost.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    We do test in a case. All of our tests take place in a NZXT Phantom 630 WE. Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "All of our tests take place in a NZXT Phantom 630 WE."

    That's about as acoustically horrible as the old black and purple SGI Irix cases. No wonder you registered such a high noise level.
    Reply
  • Nikhilanand - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    R9 290 is a performance beast for its price. Almost nearing its big brother R9 290x. Nvidia's latest price cut won't help GTX 780's further sales now. But AMD's partners need to make this one cooler and quieter. Reply
  • woolfe9998 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I never comment on reviews, but I was taken aback by the reviewer's final comments. Presuming on behalf of every enthusiast that the noise generated by this card makes it unacceptable even with such a strong price/performance ratio is odd. Everyone has a different noise tolerance. Judging from the comments, most of us are excited about this card, in spite of the reviewer's final remarks which seem to suggest the card's status as a bad product as objective fact when actually the issue of noise tolerance is subjective. The reviewer doesn't seem to understand that even if the noise level actually IS unacceptable, we're not stuck with the reference cooler for very long. Better coolers will come quickly. What a strange review. Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Some of us won't wait for the aftermarket cooler if we want it quiet. We'll rig a water block to it and hook it into the loop. :) Then it will be absolutely silent, the only noise coming from the radiator fans. Three 9,000 RPM Delta fans. ;) Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Unless the cards heat up your water so much you start watching your CPU get too hot for whatever overclock you've got. ;)

    What will you do then? Weep? Shake your head? Get another radiator? You might want to give them their own loop.
    Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Three Delta Fans. 9,000 RPM. -64dBA. If those don't keep whatever I have attached to them nice and cool, there's something wrong with them, there's a blockage in the lines/block/radiator, or I screwed up applying the thermal paste. :) Also, CPU always comes first in the loop since it's the lower power device versus a GPU. If anything, the CPU would be heating the GPU. Reply
  • faster - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I agree. With this chip set to run at 95C, it is going to put abnormally high load on any cooling loop stressing the other components. Best to have its own dedicated water cooling loop. Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    " Best to have its own dedicated water cooling loop."

    Given how low-power newer CPUs are, no, it makes sense to have the CPU first in the loop as running a second loop does nothing regarding your reservoir temperatures, you're still drawing from the same cooling source.

    I do liquid cooling with 1,000w pieces in form factors far smaller than that GPU (try 1,000w in 30mm x 30mm.)
    Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    .... and what?.... put it in the closet? LOL Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    .... and everyone knows those fans are whisper quiet. In essence what's the difference here? ; ) Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You can't rate a card on speculation on what a custom card would be. You have to rate it for what it is now, and the product being sold today is unacceptably loud. There will be separate reviews for custom cards in the future and they will be judged on their own merits. Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    " the product being sold today is unacceptably loud."

    One of my Delta fans is almost twice as loud as one of these GPUs with reference coolers at max speed. You're still looking at the raised indoor voice level of noise, I have three Deltas.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    We all know Delta fans are loud. Delta black fans are loudest. They are also unacceptably loud for the majority of users. Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Delta blacks are not the loudest. I've got some 80mm and 120mm impeller fans that can fit in a case, and do sound like jet engines, -83dBA at the high end. You can find just about anything in China! :) Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Which is why I won't buy this or Deltas :) as both are "unacceptably loud" Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Do you really think AnandTech readers are representative of your average R9 290 buyer? You're quite misled, if you do. Reply
  • JimmiG - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Custom PCB's and coolers are going to make this card truly awesome. With better cooling and lower noise levels it will easily match the 290X... Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    What I'm waiting for is for all the GPU makers to catch up to me and start making multi-layered metal thermal PCBs so they can ditch the plastic nonsense and get some real thermal dissipation going. No more need to dedicate some heat sink to RAM or VRM, just use all of that on that GPU and cram more power in there! Reply
  • dishayu - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I would LOVE to know how much noise it makes at 100% fan speed. I'm sure Ryan can find a pair of earmuffs and run that test as well. Just for fun. :D Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Ha. Keep in mind that noise is generated by a mechanical vibration. 100% fan speed might damage the card. Also, their sound measurement equipment might blow a fuse ;-) Reply
  • kiwidude - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I'd be interested to know what your sound level testing methodology is PCPer measured 48.5dB and Techpowerup measured 49dB. I have no idea what PCPer's method is but TPU measures from 100cm with the side of the case open. They both mentioned the card was loud so I'm not crying bias here just interested. [H] said the card wasn't too loud for them at 47% and only got obnoxious at 65%. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Side of the case open, at a foot.

    Though on a subjective basis all the testing we do means I'm listening to the card for hours on end while the case is fully closed up, so anything that loud when the case is opened for sound testing is still loud even when closed up.
    Reply
  • techkitsune - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    " so anything that loud when the case is opened for sound testing is still loud even when closed up."

    That's because you used an acoustically horrible case choice.
    Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Wait, case open, one foot away? Is this a joke?

    Is the volume level noticeable, in gaming, with game audio on at a reasonable level, with the case closed and the distance being around 4 foot (assuming the computer is under the desk and your head is looking at a monitor on top of the desk)?
    Reply
  • YazX_ - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    This is the case for reference designs, i wouldnt expect that custom designs will suffer from noise and heat issues, as an example, 770 GTX reference temp under load is 80c, i have 770 gtx Gigabyte OC windforce3 andi have never seen the GPU temp reaching 65.

    290 for now is the best bang for the buck, gr8 job AMD, and for us, it means another price cut from Nvidia which is the best part in these competitions.
    Reply
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I think there is too much critic made on the subject of noise. You get a water block and the problem is solved. And you also pay less money for this combo, than what you would've pay'd for a GTX780.
    But, the thing that really strikes back from this review, is the unused potential of the 290X. Just imagine how it would run unlimited by its cooling system. I think it could hold its own against the comming 780Ti from nVidia.
    And, we should stimulate AMD, because if it weren't for them, nVidia wouldn't ever dropped their prices. Now, they are even releasing the full GK110 core, at a smaller price than Titan.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    So how many people you think there are running water? Also how much does that add to the cost of my shiny new hot card? Newegg isn't likely to be shipping water cooled cards by the millions...LOL. You are aware this is a REF NV card tested too right?

    Tomshardware seems to think noise and heat and how it runs IN GAMES after a period of time is an issue:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-290-...
    "On the R9 290X we received from AMD, and in the seven games we tested, a 40% fan speed is good enough to average about 874 MHz. But when you’re actually gaming on a hot card (and not just benchmarking a cold one), our two-minute Metro: Last Light test suggests you’ll be spending more of your time in the upper-700 MHz range. In fact, in some titles, you’ll dip under 1000 MHz before even getting out of the menu system and into the action (Arma and BioShock).

    You could call that questionable marketing. After all, the only way you’ll actually see a sustained 1000 MHz is if you either let the R9 290X’s fan howl like a tomcat looking for action or play platform-bound games."

    How fast will these be after running a few hours in game? Or even 1hr? Most won't purchase water for any gpu so they'll be dealing with it as it is or with a better fan at some point (assuming OEM's get them soon):
    "AMD’s scheme undoubtedly suffers a lack of clarity, and after piling praise onto the R9 290X’s value story, I now have to hope that Nvidia doesn’t follow AMD down this muddy little rabbit hole."

    I hope they don't follow AMD and release a driver tomorrow doing the same crap too. But if I was them that is EXACTLY what I'd do in response along with videos everywhere explaining this should not be done, "but we have to do the same crap the other guys pull to beat us and when pulling this crap, you can clearly see there is no reason for us to drop prices agian" :) Or something like that...LOL. I really think AMD is going to be hurt by people buying the first rev and complaining all over forums about their silent PC (or nearly noise free) sounding like a jet engine now. Also as toms points out, are people really going to get the full perf while playing for longer than COLD periods that reviews bench under? A lot of people game for HOURS and they noted it slowing down even in menus before even playing the actual game. How does this card affect the rest of the temps in your PC during hours of playing? How does a gpu temp of 94 affect the PC vs. 81 for NV? I'll take 81 thanks.
    Reply
  • 1H4X4S3X - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Does anyone remember Ryan Smith's review of the even louder GTX 480?
    Anyone who can't see the bias is blind himself.
    Reply
  • Drunktroop - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You treat FurMark as a more meaningful/real-life test than Crysis 3? Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Shh.

    The simple fact is, whilst incredibly fast, this baby needs modding with a better cooling solution. Early adopters are usually hit the hardest, so I'd recommend waiting until customised cards hit the shelves. A GTX 780-style cooler would be very interesting indeed.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Which is actually why we threw in the GTX 480 in our charts for this one, to offer some perspective. The GTX 480 is quieter than the 290. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    And certainly you must account for the possibility that expectations and tolerances change over time right? Read the 580 review and you will see he says it is basically "Fermi Done Right", setting the new standard for high-end temps and cooling. The 580 design put a ring on the fan to reduce the whine on the fan, so to go back to something as shrill and annoying is easily understood as taking a step in the wrong direction. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    To add to that, there was a time 60mm and 80mm high RPM fans were the norm on CPU coolers, no longer, I could never stand for one of those high-pitched coolers again now what we are spoiled with 120mm/140mm CPU fans or multiple fans on radiators. Reply
  • Drunktroop - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I think you should be ready for noise when the maker is not willing to disclose power figures?

    Too bad Hawaii for SFF gaming is a no-go.
    From performance perspective it is unbeatable.
    Reply
  • nushydude - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The gap between the 290 and 290x seems to shrink when you go up the resolution. Does that mean the cards are held back by the memory? If not, what could be the reason for this behavior? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    At those resolutions they're more likely to be held back by ROP throughput. Keep in mind that both cards have 64 ROPs, and that the 290 is on average clocked higher than the 290X. So the 290 actually has at least marginally greater ROP throughput than 290X. Reply
  • nushydude - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I cannot imagine how fast the 290 and 290x would be with proper cooling. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    About as fast as the many overclocks around the web show. :) Not much faster than that. If by proper you just mean a better fan/heatsink set up. I don't call water proper. If that's what it takes to run "proper" you need to redesign your chip.

    With 780 vs. 290x overclocked to max they could get 780 won every benchmark:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djvZaHHU4I8
    Both ref designs, benchmarks at 8:40 or so, so proper cooling won't change much I don't think. You will just get less noise or heat, they already run max at 1075 OC'ed as they show here in the 290 review even. You might end up tied or something with 780 (assuming an OC'ed card with better fan gets 5-10% better) but it's not going to blow your mind and a NON ref fan would get more on 780 over what linustechtips vid shows also.
    "Similarly we didn’t encounter any throttling issues with our overclocked settings, with every game (including CoH2) running at 1075MHz sustained."
    Above from the OC page in this review. It was never throttled and nobody on the web hit higher than 1125 in a review so you're not going to get much more than anandtech did without maybe water or something.

    Guru3D OC: 1075/6000
    Hardwarecanucks OC: 1115/5684
    Hardwareheaven OC: 1100/5500
    PCPerspective OC: 1100/5000
    TweakTown OC: 1065/5252
    TechpowerUp OC: 1125/6300
    Techspot OC: 1090/6400
    Bit-tech OC: 1120/5600

    I can't remember if they mention how high they got the clock in the linustechtips unboxing video above but you can assume they landed somewhere in the group above.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Amazing performance and value from AMD. This seems just like the GPU for me, since my PC sits in the "server" closet and cables are routed through the wall to my room. Also, amazing compute performance, which is mostly what I need, I might be getting this to replace my aging 470. Reply
  • cartmanasan - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "To get right to the point then, this [Windforce, DCU2 et.al] is one of a handful of cards we will wholeheartedly recommend. The performance for the price is stunning, ..." - Ryan Reply
  • shodanshok - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Hi Ryan,
    the review is generally very well done, and I 100% agree with you the at 150$ price difference, the 290 is basically eating into 290X terrirory.

    However, the 290X is clearly an super-enthusiast product, headed to an audience that rarely will not overclock the card (replacing its cooler, maybe with a water block). For this audience, loud/power are rarely of any real concern. So we should consider that, while 290 is very near to 290X, the latter has its "uber mode" to be used. Moreover, as the 290X has a lower voltage, and so an higher efficiency, raising the fan speed even above the 47% threshold should give higher performance boost in respect to the 290. HardOCP did a test with a 290X and a >60% fan speed, and performance was quite higher the "normal" uber mode.

    Moreover, while I agree that "loud limit" is a personal affair (and my limit is quite low!), it seems that AMD cooler has a not-so-disturbing pitch. To quote another review:
    "Subjectively speaking, there are much more annoying coolers in this territory on the decibel meter. The impressively smooth, gradual ramp of fan speeds up and down in the new PowerTune algorithm helps make the noise less noticeable, too. This ain't an FX-5800 Ultra, folks."

    Had you the possibility to hear, side-by-side, the new 290 against, say, a 5870? What was more disturbing? It will be fantastic if you can post a wav/mp3 file recorder at normal distance and closed case...

    Anyway, as my "GPU performance ego days" are very far away, I think that Nvidia solution retain some strong appeal to silence-lover.

    Thank you and regards.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "Had you the possibility to hear, side-by-side, the new 290 against, say, a 5870? What was more disturbing?"

    We've benchmarked both of those cards of course. The 290 is without a doubt subjectively louder, which the hard data backs up.
    Reply
  • Per Hansson - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Some constructive critisism: You can't measure the power of the whole computer and then run a full page on how the 290 draws more power than the 290X.
    That can be down to any number of things, like the CPU load being higher because of the different VGA load or the computer just deciding to do something in the background, which the later Windows releases loves to.
    Techpowerup isolates the card when measuring power, their numbers are here: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/R9_290/24.h...
    Load GPU voltage for the 290X measured at a coil is 1.14v, for the 290 it is 1.17v, so very similar to your card but entirely different power consumption numbers.
    Reply
  • faster - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    This review makes me appreciate what a value the 280X is. At $300 it performs admirably in games at 1920 x 1080 where the majority of gamers reside. It has much lower noise than the 290 (46 - 50 under load) and temperatures less than the GTX 770 under load. $100 price differential between the 280x and the 290 is not insubstantial to a budget gamer. The 33% increase in price from the 280x to the 290 is rewarded with a 20% increase in performance (approximately). The 280X is the sweet spot for a budget gamer.

    AMD's competition with Nvidia is an awesome thing for the consumer. Too bad they can't challenge Intel more. I would like to see Intel cut their extreme edition chips down from $1000 because AMD released a killer alternative.
    Reply
  • kwrzesien - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I would agree with you if the 280X was actually a re-spin of the Tahiti silicon and included TrueAudio and whatever other IP and low-level changes come with the Hawaii die, just with Tahiti configuration and speed. Unfortunately it's not, and is already out of date.

    I was hoping that the 290 would be the perfect solution with all the newest features but cut down to reasonable power/temp/noise limits - but that is not to be. Maybe they need a 290L.
    Reply
  • cactusdog - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I thought most people bought custom cooler highend cards these days anyway, unless you're on water. The reference cards don't seem to last very long, if you look on newegg for current cards like NVidia 7 series and AMD 7970 etc, most cards on sale are non-reference models. For some models you cant find a reference model. Personally, I haven't bought a reference blower cooler for a couple of generations, even the "quiet" versions are much louder than a good non reference cooler like Twin frosr, Asus DCUII or Sapphire Toxic and Giga Windforce. Reply
  • Braincruser - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    nVidia is in no trouble, even if it doesn't sell a single card anymore, all it has to do is move to making hearing aids. Reply
  • Conduit - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Anandtech showing it's ignorance as usual. This is THE high end card to get right now, who cares if it's loud? Most people game with headsets so won't even hear it in game. Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "it's ignorance"

    Lol. A bit of a hypocrite, are we?
    Reply
  • Da W - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Dear ASUS, MSI, XFX, HSI and others.
    I usually purchase AMD to help them stay alive.
    You have until Christmas to come up with a 290X card using a Nvidia 780 style cooler, or even a water cooler unit by default.
    Else i will make due with a GTX 780 and their better bundle of game.
    Reply
  • Conduit - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Don't worry lol, there is still 7 weeks to go until Christmas, if they can't get out custom cooled cards by then then they deserve to get bankrupt. Reply
  • ruthan - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I personally prefer fanless solution, but if you need performance, i cant use it.. But those cards, are abomination of the week.

    We need performance gained by better effectivity, not by add other 50Watss power and vacuum cleaner fan inside.

    I think that resonable power consumation limit is around 150W, this could be cooled, by big passive cooler and 2-1000 RPM Noctua or others quit fans.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    I wish we could just stick to 150W but with this many transistors of computing it just isn't possible. Your probably won't get this level of performance at 150W till next generation. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Dear AMD,
    Please either:
    a) make sure you launch with the option of blower AND open quiet cooler
    b) make sure you launch with partner custom cards
    c) give up making blowers

    These cards clearly have headroom and are incredible value. Don't give people a reason to moan about them.
    Reply
  • geok1ng - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    blowers are not inherently bad, take a look at HIS ICE Q reviews for the 7950 and you will see that as long as the TDP is compatible with the cooler, blowers can beat open air solutions in temps and noise. Reply
  • jnad32 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Blowers are also nice because they put most of the hot air outside the case, instead of dumping into the case to cool faster. Reply
  • misfit410 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    If the custom cooling solutions come quickly, that's a steal. Reply
  • konzelmann - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Great card for the money. If you can't live with the noise then obviously it's not the card for you, but I think the majority of serious gamers who would be buying such a card probably are going to be able to live with the noise by using headphones which they probably would be using anyway for the sake of voice communication while they're playing, etc. Or you can spend the money you saved and get a good aftermarket cooler that will be quiet and you'll still have great performance for a good value. Reply
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Quite simply, Anad is WRONG on the noise level. 57dba is a considerably higher measurement than recorded by Hexus and Guru3d (my prefered as they put noise levels into context) while [H], Techp. and Bit-tech all say its much the same as the 290x and in no way a deal breaker.

    And it seems noise doesn't scale:
    290x @ 40% fan = 53dba
    290 @ 47% fan = 57dba
    290x @ 55% fan = 58dba

    Only Anad has come out so empthatically against the 290 ...but with a dba reading 17.5% higher than anyone else ...is that a surprise?

    To be recording this card at over 10dba more than any other review site tells us that Anad should revisit this test.
    Reply
  • A5 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You should read the byline of the review and learn how to spell "Anand" correctly.

    Also, it's probably a difference in measurement procedure. You can't compare dB numbers across sites.
    Reply
  • awg1031 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    guru3d praises this card with their review..but their review doesn't covered as much as anand

    kudos to anand..

    but since anandtech keep whining about the noise without proper solution..kudos to tomshardware for having review and a simple review of how 3rd party solution could solve the noise issue..

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-290-...
    Reply
  • Yuriman - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I already have a waterblock that fits this card. Anyone with a watercooling loop can basically throw out *all* of the negative aspects of the 290. Reply
  • JaredC01 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I agree completely. You can pick up this card and a full-card waterblock for less than the total cost of a 290X, and you still get nearly 100% of the performance of the 290X out of the box. Add in the overclock and silence of watercooling, and there's literally no reason for anyone with a water loop to buy a 290X. Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Running a single loop with this card linked in is going to add heat that needs to be dissipated and those fans on the radiator aren't usually silent. Silent water cooling is still kind of an oxymoron. Granted it will be quieter than reference cards, however cards with after market cooling solutions should offer a fairly quiet choice. Reply
  • A5 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Yeah, just spend an extra $300+ on custom WC gear to make your $400 GPU usable. That's a viable solution. Reply
  • jnad32 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    They said anyone with a water cooling loop. Reply
  • madwolfa - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    And that's 10 people including you? Reply
  • Da W - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Ryan.
    I usually like your reviews. But this one feels like a review of AMD's reference cooler. I think it fails to demonstrate the full potential of this GPU IF it was properly cooled.
    Tom's hardware have a nice demonstration of what Hawaii could be with a custom cooler installed on their 290. In short: it blows away everything.
    Hawaii in a monster, may be too much for AMD's cooling crew.
    Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    AMD has needed to retrofit their stock coolers for ages. Hopefully this will get the point across to them. Reply
  • jnad32 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Do people still buy ref cards who aren't putting water blocks on them? Reply
  • MrHorizontal - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    With the release of various water blocks for the 290(X), could you test to see what the effect would be with a proper cooling solution that makes the cards not throttle so much - it'd be good to see what would happen if these GPUs actually had a proper cooler on board.

    Nevertheless, I expect down the line, this provides an amazing opportunity for OEMs down the line to put on a proper cooler - but more importantly, shouldn't AMD get their act together and put on a first rate cooler like the greenies have done?
    Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "Shouldn't AMD get their act together and put on a first rate cooler like the greenies have done?"

    Yes. Honestly, thermal management is just as important as the silicon itself.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It could be the main reason for the price differential (or inversely, why AMD is able to price them so low). Reply
  • jnad32 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Do people still buy ref cards who aren't putting water blocks on them? Reply
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Yeah, saw that. Dba with the Artic under load equivelant to the stock cooler at idle!

    I couldn't find any mention of what core temp was recorded. Am I right to assume this would still have been 95C?
    Reply
  • colonelclaw - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    What difference to noise levels would it make if you put this card into a case that has noise dampening? I'm thing the Fractal Design Define R4 or similar. Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    The vast majority (>90%) of people who would be in the market for a R9 290 won't have a case like you describe. Reply
  • aTaoZ - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Acoustic dampening cases will make everything quieter. However only to a certain degree, if you have a 60dB Delta fan in the case, it will still sound like jet engines even if you reduce the noise by half. Also nothing can reduce the annoyance of high frequency noise.

    That's why I down graded from HD6950 to a HD 5770 with my Antec Mini P180 case.
    Reply
  • kedesh83 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    WTS Evga GTX 780 SC. Reply
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I was comparing dbA numbers ...db mearsurements are somewhat different.

    And going all grammar-nazi doesn't alter the fact that this review sites numbers for sound produced are so out of wack with that of other sites that this site needs to revisit them.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I think it is time to move my pc into the closet and run a 12 ft hdmi cable. Reply
  • aTaoZ - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Ryan, could you run some test with after market coolers. Tomshardware did their review with Arctic Accelero Xtreme III, and it looks really impressive. Both in performance and in acoustic. Reply
  • jljaynes - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "Feel free to keep telling yourself that" - I will.

    http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Sound-Judgement-Fiv...

    Hardware sites review gaming headphones too - at least some people must like them.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-07/vi... - Here's an article on Bloomberg regarding hardware sales related to heaphones for turtle beach.

    And here's an article referencing NPDs study on the explosion of $100+ headphones.

    "Sales of headphones priced over $100 have become the engine of growth in the audio market as a result, growing 65 percent (units) in the first half of 2012 and accounting for 43 percent of all headphone revenue, according to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service."

    Feel free to look at *any* picture from any LAN event and tell me how many photos you can find of gamers not using headphones if you prefer anecdotal evidence.
    Reply
  • jljaynes - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    test Reply
  • Morawka - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the review, overall the performance numbers are great but the heat and noise add a asterick to every Pro this card has.

    Custom coolers will help some, but this card is still pushing out less Performance per watt than team green. Custom coolers will only offset maybe 10% of that noise and heat, which makes this card still, louder and hotter than team green.

    What makes Nvidia so attractive are their highly popular proprietary features such as Shadowplay (it's amazing), and shield streaming. I know a lot of you could care less about shield, but it is selling well and receiving rave reviews none-the-less. Those kinds of technologies are what keeps me with Nvidia. I cannot stress how much i love Shadlowplay. Being able to record anything without any sort of performance hit is amazing. And the best part, it's already encoded in h.264
    Reply
  • Morawka - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    i forgot to mention Gsync, in which Anand called "a game changer" Reply
  • EJS1980 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link



    The cooling solutions on these reference cards are simply atrocious, and in my opinion, completely unacceptable. Running your flagship GPU's at over 95c and 60dB, respectively, all while consuming upwards of 400w is nothing short of ridiculous. Taking the performance crown from Nvidia is fine and dandy, but we MUST look at what was needed of AMD to do so.

    Call me an idealist, but I guess I'm alone in my thinking that next-gen GPU's should increase price/performance, while simultaneously DECREASING heat, noise and power consumption (not the other way around). Nvidia can just as easily release their GPU's with no noise/heat/TDP restrictions to increase performance, but do we really want our ASIC makers to do this?

    I for one DO NOT want to go down that road, and I can't be the only one...
    Reply
  • DMCalloway - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I agree with the price paid for the crown. We do still need competition to keep overall pricing low, and no; you aren't the only, 'one'. Reply
  • Mondozai - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    Yeah, but aftermarket coolers will fix this. Most people don't buy reference cards.

    Yet not a word about that. C'mon, EJS1980, you're a notorious buttboy for Nvidia.
    Reply
  • dwade123 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Verdict: Extremely power inefficient. Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    do you really care if its power inefficient? as long as they can keep the temps reasonable and the performance justifies it i say waste all the power you want. Reply
  • DMCalloway - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Power inefficiency = higher temps. = more noise. Who cares about the power..... I'm currently paying $0.14 per Kwh. Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    if you are so concerned with power cost maybe you shouldn't be buying expensive performance parts. i want max performance and i'm willing to pay for it. Reply
  • James5mith - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I love the Editor's reference to Futurama. Keep it up! Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Too hot and too loud for any activity other than gaming on a headset. Maybe aftermarket coolers will salvage this card. Reply
  • megalee - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Well, I have the headphones on while gaming so I don't care about the noise. Sounds like a good deal to me. Good to see some competition! Reply
  • asphix - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    1st -- to anyone claiming that after market coolers will solve the heat/noise issue... you are correct.. but it will come at a cost. Say hello to a $450-$500 R9 290. Only time will tell, but my guess is they will either be mediocre solutions to keep the price down, or expensive (as will need to be to deal with that kind of dissipation).

    2nd -- AMD has one goal and only one goal with these extreme price points and that's to get themselves out of this catch 22 situation with mantle. In order for developers to program for mantle, there needs to be a user base. The user base will grow if there is mantle. Release cards that are relatively cheap with steep trade-offs to grow userbase. I feel the next release cycle will have more expensive cards with less trade-offs (noise/heat) and even better performance. It all depends on if mantle takes off which depends on people purchasing these cards.

    I love the competition! I really dislike these sacrifices AMD are making to compete with Nvidia. However, i understand why the're doing it the way they are and I hope they're successful with it.
    Reply
  • haukionkannel - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    If you compare the price of reference 7970 and aftermarket cooler version of 7970, the difference is 10-50$ Nothing too bad... This just shows how bad this AMD reference is... ingredible!
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-290-...

    But we vary, there may be something fishy with AMD press cards! It may be that retail makers are making even worse job with reference cooler, but now it is time to wait some good aftermarket cooler cards!
    Reply
  • MarkcusD - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "290 is essentially twice as loud as the GTX 780"

    Lol. What a POS. Seriously it may improve with some non-stock coolers, but I wouldn't touch this card.
    Reply
  • willis936 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    If you convert to linear sound levels it's actually three times as loud. That's mostly academic though. Reply
  • supamark - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Actually, it's just short of 10 times as loud - it's a log scale. Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    i get that anand cant recommend the card because of the noise. but i think amd is going to sell a lot of these cards because in the end its all about performance and price. plus who buys a reference card anyway? on the asus cards i have owned you can turn the fan to 100% and its silent. some 3rd party card will come out with a quiet cooler that also unleashes the 290. Reply
  • superjim - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Wait for OEMs to get out their custom cards with the quiet/cooler open air fans and the 290 will be near perfect at $400. Reply
  • jb14 - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    This card is like a drag race car. Pedal flat to the floor, screamingly loud, burning through petrol, pretty cheap (50W increase - crazy)! The only good thing here is the price/performance shaking things up alittle. NV could also quite happily dump an extra 50W through their cards and we could have to two screaming cards next to each other!

    I have an AMD card in my laptop but wouldn't consider touching this card in the desktop unless it had some seriously beefed up non-custom coolers. Let's see what the AMD partners can do to try and tame this beast!
    Reply
  • mattgmann - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I'd really like to see some benchmarks with this and the 290x under water.

    For someone like me that has already invested in building a water cooling setup and seen a few generations of hardware pass through it, the idea of watercooling the graphics card is a foregone conclusion.

    The only added cost to me in upgrading the cooling is a few dollars worth of memory and other heatsinks to put on the card since I'd be using a universal gpu block.

    I have a feeling that with the thermal levels in check, these cards will probably perform a good bit quicker than they already do (and that much more than the competition).
    Reply
  • supamark - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    "At the end of the day the 290 is 9.7dB louder than its intended competition, the GTX 780. With a 10dB difference representing a two-fold increase in noise on a human perceptual basis, the 290 is essentially twice as loud as the GTX 780."

    Un, no. Learn to dB... 3 dB would mean it's twice as loud, 10 dB means it's 10x as loud, the decibel is a log scale.
    Reply
  • NomanA - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Human audio perception is also on a somewhat logarithmic scale. Twice as loud, doesn't mean, two times a certain value on a linear scale. Reply
  • supamark - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Sorry, but 3 dB is twice as loud. 10 dB, aka 1 Bel, is 10 times as loud. You hear 3 dB as twice as loud. You should just read this.... (3rd paragraph) instead of arguing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel
    Reply
  • kiwidude - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    You are incorrect, 3dB represents a ratio of two to one or a doubling of power. Perception of loudness is not the same as sound pressure level or power. An increase of 10db SPL is perceived to be approximately twice as loud.

    I suggest you read instead of arguing. http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2004-About-dB/
    Reply
  • Sancus - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    You're talking about power. Ryan Smith is talking about perceptual loudness. They're completely different. 10db does NOT sound 10 times as loud to your ear. It merely represents ten times as much power.

    http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2004-About-dB/
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    You would need to start talking about human-hearing-weighted scales at that point to get any kind of "X as loud" to us, type measurements. Which is where dBA is often the go to scale. Reply
  • philosofa - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Don't quote me regulations. I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to revise the color of the book that regulation's in. We kept it gray.

    Excellent editing ser :)
    Reply
  • dudeofdur - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    bracket + closed loop water cooler. Boom, solved your problem Reply
  • Torm - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    It is sad when a review is so biased, that the reviewer doesn't appreciate extra performance. If you prefer a quiet card, turn the fan speed down. You are here to review the performance, and while the noise level is taken into consideration, in your final thoughts, you never once say "While the may be loud, you can always adjust fan levels to find the right sound for you." This card, by performance numbers, should have been a very high recommendation, with a note on it being loud. You decided in the review of the card, that you had rather recommend against it, as opposed to being honest. While I tested the card, I found it loud yes, but I also found that if I was an "Average" consumer, who will have their computer case sitting at least 2-3 feet from them, and listening to the audio of a game, movie, or music, that the audio difference between it and the 780 is barely noticed. This is a good review ruined by Biased minded comments. If you are looking for one of the best cards out there, and the BEST value for your money. This card IS it. Bar None. Just to be clear. I am a Hardcore Titan fan, but if I were to build a PC today, this would be the card I went with. Reply
  • Leyawiin - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I'd just wait for the ASUS DirectCU II version or something equivalent. Something as hot, loud and power hungry as the old GTX 480 isn't acceptable to me, but drop a couple of those cons and I'd be on board. Reply
  • FuriousPop - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    No... But..........the.......................noise...................is........... just............too........ loud.......... are....you......getting..............this.......

    *puts on headphones*

    Now then, as i was saying its very loud but but i want it whisper quiet, so buzz off else where then. your 2cents here is not appreciated.

    as a CFx7970 owner (not to mention i had 2xgtx670's just before that which 1 became DOA and yes just as loud as current GPU's) i can safely say - noise is NOT a reason to be placing the whole argument onto when deciding about price/performance wise when there are sooo many different things you can do to reduce the noise generated from your case - if your unwilling to then obviously logic dictates that you would NOT purchase this, clearly.... but but i still wanna compare my 6 month old GPU to this one....... of course you can junior.... of course you can...

    Custom coolers will come and will reduce the temps/noise, maybe not by a massive amount, but maybe just enough to convert some of those green boys over!
    Reply
  • stangflyer - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    I am a older gamer at almost 50. I have had many cards since my first 3DFx card. Both AMD/ATI and Nvidia have been in my cases. I have a 1440p monitor but also game at 5040x1050 eyefinity.
    Currently run 2x7950 sapphire flex boost cards. They run relatively quiet as I have a empty slot in-between the cards.

    I listened to some of the sound clips of the 290/x and they reminded me of my 5970 that I ran before my 7950's. I swore I will never have anything that loud in my pc again.

    Will wait and see what the custom coolers bring to the table as I am hoping to go to one card even though I know I will lose some performance. Or just wait for 20nm.

    I was over at my cousins and he showed me his new 780gtx with the acx cooler. Mild OC and it was extremely quiet.

    I will play with either red or green cards but I do know that I will pay 100 bucks for the noise diff of the 780gtx.
    We will see.
    Reply
  • lnanek - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Hmm, loud cards are good for me, I always use earbuds anyway. Reply
  • Sancus - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Everyone who says "just use headphones" probably doesn't realize that these AMD cards are so loud that they would actually be quite disturbing to anyone else in the room, and in the case of Crossfire, probably your entire house or adjacent apartments. 2x 290X's in CF Uber mode are approaching vacuum cleaner levels of noise.

    Not recommending these cards due to noise is not 'biased' it's merely a common sense, practically based choice.
    Reply
  • ClexRex - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Agrred ive played with the 290x and unless you keep your pc in the other room defiantly hold out till the aftermarket cool is here otherwise youll be pissed and havto spend another 50 on aftermarket cooling once available.

    Also a lot of people hatng on the 780 forget one thing..that it overclocks better than the 290/290x flat out...it also have the option for custom bios which in return will boost the 780 above the 290 and do it at a lower power comsumption/noise/heat

    Also to crossfire the 290 you will need a min. of 1000w psu as we ran intoissues with 800w psu's during testing with crossfire and heavily overclocked cpu's.
    Reply
  • rtho782 - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    This card actually hits louder noise levels than the old FX5800 Ultra! http://techreport.com/review/4966/nvidia-geforce-f... Not exactly the same method to measuring but this was 10 years ago... Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Power consumption will be identical while performance will be down, so efficiency will be slipping and 290 will have all the same power/cooling requirements as 290X.


    The above statement I feel is an over-simplication.

    I would imagine the actual instantaneous clock-for-clock power consumption will actually decrease due to the lower computation units. However, R290 or R290X cannot sustain their boost clock and are nearly always throttled by their thermal limits. Hence, the practical power consumption is similar, and since at the same power output R290 would have to have a higher clock to match the speed to R290X, the theoretical efficiency is somewhat lower, but I don't think they differ by much.
    Reply
  • UGMan - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Come on AMD, get this beauty out with coolers from ASUS, MSI, Sapphire et. al. and then TAKE MY MONEY ! Please !!!
    Nothing out there touches it for the price, and AMD have finally sorted out crossfire. I've got a feeling that Mantle is going to shock and awe with it's performance.

    Bring it on !!!
    Reply
  • Vorl - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    for everyone using stupid sound comparisons, like "a 747 taking off". Here are some real comparisons.

    Whisper Quiet Library at 6' 30dB
    Normal conversation at 3' 60-65dB
    Telephone dial tone 80dB
    http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.h...

    I think that the reviewer is biased considering how big a deal they make of noise now, but in the past with noisy nvidia cards it was more like "meh, they are noisy, BUT FAST". Now they are all over "how loud the card is".
    Reply
  • doggghouse - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    So at 60dB, it's as loud as someone talking next to you. In other words, you would have some difficulty hearing another person over the sound of the GPU fan. I would say that's pretty loud.

    I think the 290 and 290X have a lot of potential, but with the stock cooling I would stay away from it.
    Reply
  • Vorl - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    I don't remember the exact noise test, but I thought the measurement was taken right next to the card, at the fan... so if you put distance, and a case around the card, it will not be nearly as loud as that. Reply
  • ThomasS31 - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    R9 290 series is the worst ever launch for AMD... this was a chance to show how professional they are and gain market share with a great opportunity and product... and they screwed it up and failed.

    And this is not he first time they failed to monetize their products. So maybe there shall be some personal consequences and changes needed.

    Hope the new hires (leaders) change this and this is the last time we saw great products hindered with bad execution.

    After the 7990 cooler I and what nVidia did they learned the lessons... but not.

    And now as I hear they are not allowing custom coolers and/ or limit manufacturers in the use of the best coolers/design they could do... as competition is bad for market or what???
    Reply
  • Mondozai - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    lol Reply
  • martixy - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    So the takeaway is:
    There's a new king in town, and it's name is AMD.
    For now...

    +You get to be Mantle-proof.
    What I wanna see now is Mantle on an nV card and g-sync on an AMD card.
    Reply
  • nevertell - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Why is it so that when a ridiculously loud nvidia card gets released, people go crazy about the heat and noise generated, but when AMD does the same, they only focus on the performance?
    I do understand that the price and performance for these cards is pretty ground braking, but then again, AMD used to release some nasty adverts about people using Fermi cards. And fermi cards were not even this loud.
    And considering the fact that the testbed here was probably properly ventilated and designed for hot and fast cards, I believe there is a significant portion of the market, who will buy the card and stick it into a small or badly ventilated or just crammed case and call it a day. And those people will not be able to get the performance advertised here, as their cards will probably throttle a lot more.

    But I do love how the roles are switching, only 3 generations ago, AMD's and Nvidia's positions were exactly the opposite, at least in the power and noise, and mostly power efficiency, departments.

    We still have to wait for 780ti, but seeing as titan is already having a run for it's money.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    I don't care one bit about the loudness of a card. Anything I own has to be watercooled and the custom water cooling block costs the same whether it is from nVidia or AMD. So this card is a win on all fronts. And unless you have to buy reference design without switching to WC, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
    It's really hard to read 5 paragraphs on noise when that is the least of anyones concerns when buying a video card. People who are concerned with it have custom cooling stuff which is the same for most cards (nVidia or AMD), since most cards are the same. Or they don't care since their other stuff is louder and/or they use good headphones. So I think knocking the 290 for loudness is a bit petty. :)
    Reply
  • Achaios - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Can't wait for Gigabyte's R9 290 SOC (Super Overclock) with 3X Windforce Cooler. I drool at the thought. Reply
  • ecuador - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Ryan, it is interesting to contrast this review to Anand's review of the FX 5800. You sound much more damning for a card that is much cheaper and faster than the competition at a 9.7dB louder, than Anand was for a card that was slower and 13dB louder than the competition back then! Ok, it is not for everyone until it gets custom coolers, but it sure gives you a lot for that tradeoff. The mystery is why AMD does not make a cooler that is worth a damn! Reply
  • swing848 - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    Anand,

    Most people that read your reviews know you are a GeForce fan boy. And, the last page of your "review" tells people not to purchase the R9 290.

    In fact, many people purchase this card BECAUSE THEY WANT IT. Let the buyer decide what he or she want in price and performance, and stop poking AMD in they eye with your GeForce stick. If anything give advice to people on how to keep temperatures under control with the least noise possible; but, no, you have to get on your GeForce box and pound AMD ... again. How much do they pay your or your company?

    The R9 290 is a great card, and after reading several reviews, know it.
    Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - link

    You have to ask yourself is Ryan biased with Nvidia or AMD... or maybe it's simply just his tolerance for noise that is the issue.

    Anyway.. people buying these cards will have some options. For me the 95C is a no go as is the noise. Something I'd tolerate until a good aftermarket solution could be implemented. AMD and Nvidia (until their titan reference cooler) have always been a little meh.. with reference coolers. We all know this..

    My last two cards have been AMD ones and if I was in the market for a card today I'd go straight for the Nvidia 780. Not because of it's speeds, certainly not because of its drivers, and not because I am a fan. I simply like their kickass reference cooler and games bundle.

    Im not in the market though lol. Quite happy with my Radeon 7870.. and not looking to upgrade yet.
    Reply
  • jbs181818 - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    With all that power consumption, what size PSU is required? Assuming 1 GPU and a haswell CPU, 1 SSD. Reply
  • dwade123 - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    290x doesn't make sense when the cheaper 290 performs almost identical. And neither can max out Crysis 3. Gamers are better off waiting for real next-gen cards like Maxwell, and with next-gen console ports coming in 2014 suggests it is common sense to do so. Reply
  • polaco - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    "neither can max out Crysis 3" what the hell are you talking about?
    52 fps at 2560x1440 HQ + FXAA
    77 fps at 1920x1080 HQ + FXAA
    with that line of thinking then nor 780 or Titan are worthy since fps diff is minimal

    "gamers are better off waiting for real next-gen cards like Maxwell"
    well, 290 and 290X are AMD true next gen cards, maybe you feel fooled by having bought a 780 for almost 700 bucks and then you feel like Maxwell will relief that pain, or maybe you work for NVidia marketing deparment... for the time NVidia came out with it AMD will be pushing their next gen too, will you recommend waiting then too? so we wait forever then uh?
    "and with next-gen console ports coming in 2014 suggests it is common sense to do so"
    you mean to wait for NVidia card to run games that will be optimized to AMD hardware that is inside every next gen console?
    please go to see a doctor....
    Reply
  • TempAccount007 - Saturday, November 09, 2013 - link

    Who the hell uses a reference cooler on any AMD card? The only people that buy reference cards are those who are going to water cool them. Reply
  • NA1NSXR - Monday, November 11, 2013 - link

    If I was in the market for a card I'd wait until the aftermarket cooler designs come out. Should make the noise and temp situation a little more bearable. Still, the proprietary nVidia value-adds like HBAO+, adative vsync, TXAA, etc. are hard to give up for me. It is a hard call. If the 780 was only $50 more than the 290 I'd take the 780, but since the difference is $100....I don't know. Really tough call. Reply
  • beck2448 - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    Too noisy and hot. Reply
  • devilskreed - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    Hail High AMD..The gamers saviour!!!
    Hail High AMD..The price/performance king
    Hail High AMD..The peoples choice..

    Healthy competition from AMD's side,i stopped buying nvidia after 8800GT :p purely due to price/performance benefits that AMD offers..
    Reply
  • bloodbones - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - link

    The battle between amd ex ati and nvidia has been around since i was 18 years old and i am 30 now. Over the years i have try a huge numbers of video cards from both companies and the only conclusion is that things have always been the same, nothing change over the years: more or less the same performance and:
    Nvidia = more expensive cards but more quality cards, lower noise levels lower temps
    Ati/Amd = cheaper cards with higher noise levels higher temps
    Period.
    Reply
  • horse07 - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - link

    Guys, when will you update the 2013 GPU benchmarks with the recent R7/R9 and 700 series? Reply
  • JacFlasche - Thursday, November 14, 2013 - link

    Just in time for Xmas! Brilliant. I think the rest of you guys should really avoid this card because of the noise. It is horrendous. Do not buy this card no matter what you do. I of course will buy two of them myself, since they will be totally emmersed in a mineral oil/nano-diamond slurry that can be pumped through a tank in an old ice cream maker I now use as a chiller. All set up in a hand made solid copper tank I scavanged from an old still, and looking quite steam punk with oversized analog gauges and big old hand set revets and such. Not a laptop. Completely silent when the compressor is not on. The compressor really isn't needed for a decent overclock with a few hundred pounds of copper pennies suspended less than an inch above the MB components, bathed in the same nanodiamond slurry. Total silence, except for my gaggle of hard drives when they are on. I have been waiting for you Radion 290, I will freeze your nuggies off, with no sound at all. Ah ha ha (simulated mad scientist laugh) Why pay the big bucks for a little nanodiamond in your transformer coolent when you can use food grade mineral oil and lots of nanodiamonds. Nanodiamonds almost rule for heat conduction. Way way better than metal of any kind. And they lubricate any mechanism they flow through. This is why the very best heat pipes contain nano diamonds in their working fluid. As little as one half of one percent to four percent nano diamond make huge gains in performance. Can't give exact figures if interested look it up. Reply
  • rcrossw - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    having read many articles on the noise of this card R290, I have no problem with it being slightly loader than my old 7850. I set at work with an old IBM 4227 DOT Matrix Printer that prints like a Locomotive going by, with the wistle Blowing - that can be nerve and hearing shattering. As for the heat, after 4 days of use, the only problem can be with intense play on games such as Rome Total War II, and Battlefield 4 at highest setting - does get warm. The Sapphire Card I have is fine other wise. The vendors do need something with a better cooling ability. Perhaps, trying Water Cooling, or multiple fan solution. Oh BTW, can be used as a reserve of heat in cold climates during the winter! Reply
  • Texax - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    I see a lot of performance praise here but I also see that people are not really aware that this thing runs 10 degrees hotter and 7db louder. It might not seem big of a difference in numbers but its BIG! Reply
  • JackBootedThug - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    This card is quieter than my GTX465 which I have been using for a couple of years.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3745/nvidias-geforce...

    Why wouldn't I buy it? LOL

    It is all relative.
    Reply
  • lanskywalker - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    Definite buy on this!!!!!!! Can't wait!!!!!!! Time to sell my GTX 670 and bought this instead! Arghhhhhh... Thanks AMD! Reply
  • Landiepete - Monday, November 25, 2013 - link

    I installed the Gigabyte variety of this card over the weekend and ran Bioshock Infinite and Crysis 3 over a period of several hous while actually playing the games.
    It sits in a HAF-X case under my desk. For sound I use simple ear buds, sometimes in only one ear because the missus has imporatnt things to communicate at randomized intervals.

    And I'm calling bullshit on the noise issues. Yes, there is a clear difference between idle, MS Office and Crysis 3 applications. But at no time whatsoever the noise was excessive or annoying. This may of course be different if you run an open testbed on your desktop.

    But for a regular install in a closed case I cannot fault it. In fact, the Gainward GTX 570 GS installed in the Antec P182 case that SWMBO's desktop uss is a hell of a lot noisier.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist I would suspect Anandtech was looking for an excuse to sink this brilliant piece of AMD hardware.
    Reply
  • lanskywalker - Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - link

    Damn happy I bought mine! and get rid of my GTX 670. 70-80 average fps and 100++++ max fps in Battlefield 4 on ULTRA is a pleasure! :DD Reply
  • maduser2005 - Thursday, November 28, 2013 - link

    Please add litecoin mining to compute section. Reply
  • MDX - Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - link

    +1 this Reply
  • SolMiester - Tuesday, December 03, 2013 - link

    Have the CF Eyefinity drivers with frame pacing been released yet? Or should I just ask will they be released? Reply
  • carlob - Saturday, December 07, 2013 - link

    At the top of the card, above first row of memory chips, there is one micro switch. If i see well, it's written SW1.
    Does anybody know what is the purpose of the switch? Thanks.
    Reply
  • jonabatero - Thursday, December 19, 2013 - link

    HELLO: guys test the R9 290 with LUMION 3D . please .
    could someone please test the performance of the R9 290 with Lumion 3d. serial great buy with the performance of a GTX 770 in Lumion
    Reply
  • xaml - Sunday, December 22, 2013 - link

    "Ultimately there will be scenarios where this is acceptable – namely, anything where you don’t have to hear the 290, such as putting it in another room or putting it under water (...)."

    Or the scenario, the one that's neither unreasonable nor rare, which was conveniently left out, namely playing with a headset. I understand, however, that there has to be a balance between more powerful fans and their noise output, especially with cards which typically grew in size, yet reaching a point where both the cards as well as their fans cannot further grow. A truly negative review would have been one where the fan was loud and where it wouldn't adequately support the airflow.
    Reply
  • c1phertxt - Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - link

    I don't think a lot of people realise how hot this card gets under load. I have a CM HAF XB and an XFX R9 290.

    When the card is at 100% load, the existing "fan-temp" curve is insufficient to prevent throttling. I see the temps stabilising at 95 C while the fan is at 46%. As a result clocks throttle down to 662 Mhz. I have to set a custom fan profile that sets the fan to atleast 65% to keep the temps at 85C. Even then, the clocks go down to 850Mhz (a 100 Mhz throttle).

    Anything over 65% fan speed is deafening (sounds like a blow dryer and at 80%+ it sounds like a vacum cleaner).

    Seriously contemplating putting this under water or getting an after market cooler.
    Reply
  • jaris - Thursday, June 19, 2014 - link

    Been gaming since the mid 70's, so fairly seasoned, the review is good upto the point regards noise, then it becomes silly. Most gamers don't sit in the front room playing whilst the wife watches tv, well I don't, plus I like loud, thats why i use a headset, all the time. R290 is going into my i7 4790k, like quickly. Might have to close the den door a little but well... I have a very decent headset, won't hear anything other than the game playing. ;) Reply

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