Asus R9 290X DCII OC First Look

A Cool and Quiet 290X?

Asus R9 290X DCII OC

 

Introduction

When the R9 290X came out, we thought the performance was incredible for the price; it came very close to the GTX 780, which sparked Nvidia to release the new 780Ti, and the 290X maintained a very competitive price at the time of release. Overall, nothing bad could be said about the performance the card yielded.

However, it ran very hot for our liking. Despite AMD saying the 95 degrees Celsius temperatures were nothing to be afraid of on these cards, it still left many of us fearful about running a component that hot in our systems, as of course it heats everything else up with it! Along with running hot, the fan was rather loud too. Evidently, the R9 290X definitely had some serious potential, but it was let down by its cooler. Fortunately, the non-reference designed cards are now upon us. Will these be the savior of the 290X?

RushKit takes a look at the Asus R9 290X Direct CUII OC.
 

 

Specifications

Model R9290X-DC2OC-4GD5

Graphics Engine AMD Radeon™ R9 290X

Bus Standard PCI Express® 3.0

Video Memory 4GB GDDR5

Engine Clock 1050 MHz

Memory Clock 5400 MHz (1350 MHz GDDR5)

Memory Interface 512 bit

DVI Output 2 x Native Dual-link DVI-D

HDMI Output 1 x Native

DisplayPort 1 x Native

HDCP Compliant YES

Dimension 11.3 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
 

Conclusion

We really like the look of this. The R9 290X was on par with the much loved GTX 780 when it came out. However, in our tests, the GTX780 had the ability to overclock whilst staying in acceptable temperatures, meaning the 290X was left behind. Asus have put an end to that, with their factory overclocked card, which comes with one of the best GPU coolers on the market at this moment in time.

Like the standard R9 290X, the Asus DCII OC packs 4GB of vRAM, meaning regardless of whether you're running at 1920x1080, or 2560x1440, you should have no problems running your favourite game at maximum settings without being throttled by lack of vRAM. Asus have completely re-vamped the PCB on the DCII OC. They’ve added two extra power phases to the memory, and one extra to the GPU power delivery, meaning not only will the cooler aid in overclocking, but you’ll have extra support and potential from the PCB as well.

Asus have put a lot of effort into manufacturing the completely custom PCB to ensure it performs better than the reference model. They've employed 'Super Alloy Power Technology' into their capacitors and VRMs, which they claim adds two and half times the lifespan against the reference model. They also have implemented their DIGI+ VRM system, which we find on most of the Asus motherboards. This reduces the power noise by 30%, meaning you'll get a cleaner power delivery to the parts which need it, and also should eliminate any electrical noise the card may produce. In turn, not only do these reduce the noise and increase the lifespan, but they should also enable you to attain higher overclocks, leading to a potentially significant increase in performance in games.

Our initial thoughts of the reference 290X’s aesthetics weren’t great. We thought the cooler looked a little on the flimsy side and we weren’t a massive fan of the design either. However, we’re very impressed with the Asus DCII model so far. If you don’t have a red themed system, Asus include extra stickers to replace the standard red ones that come with it. It’s great to see a company doing this since it adds a little more customisability and no longer limits your choice of components to parts with a red theme.

We look forward to the review of this card as our expectations are very high. We all know how much power the R9 290X core contains, and finally we see a card able to utilize everything the card has to give!

Thank you to Asus for the card. You can discuss your thoughts over on the OC3D Forums.  

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Most Recent Comments

20-12-2013, 08:44:38

tinytomlogan
http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...051228769l.jpg

We finally see a non-reference R9 290X. All the performance of the 290X with a lot more cooling, and a lot less noise!


Continue ReadingQuote

20-12-2013, 08:51:51

WYP
A rare look at TTL on Rushkit.

looks like a nice card, I hope it performs well on the OC3D Bench Suite.Quote

20-12-2013, 09:01:35

SieB
Really like the look of this card and most likely i'll be buying the non X version. I've always been a fan of the DCUII and all my previous GPUs have had the DCUII on them.
I have been waiting for the non ref 290s, but I have to wait till after Christmas before being able to buy a new card anyway, so these just happen to drop at the time i'm able to buy a new GPU

All being well and depending on whether or not the 780s drop in price again, a R9 290 Asus DCUII should be mine in the next couple of weeks.Quote

20-12-2013, 09:15:39

barnsley
I have the 280x DCUII and well, I'd really like it if Asus could release the sticker pack as a separate thing as my blue rig is ruined with those red stickers (to some extent) .Quote

20-12-2013, 10:00:48

Conchubair
Quote:
Originally Posted by barnsley View Post
I have the 280x DCUII and well, I'd really like it if Asus could release the sticker pack as a separate thing as my blue rig is ruined with those red stickers (to some extent) .
just paint 'em
every time i see these new DC2s i wish i had one of them. not a last generation 3 slot one Quote

20-12-2013, 10:13:05

Meladath
After seeing this and the review of the R9 290 sapphire Tri-X I have to say
GO AMD! You really are giving nvidia a run for their money! now that that terrible cooler has gone nvidia will be shaking again!Quote

20-12-2013, 10:53:33

Feronix
Finally someone did it! We can pick our own colour schemes. Yay Quote

20-12-2013, 12:33:57

Zoot
The guys on the PcPer podcast were half joking if the debacle with the reference cooler on the 290 and 290X was deliberate on AMD's part just to mess with nVidia, since they kind of rushed out the 780Ti in response.

Sure enough, reviews so-far have the non-reference 290X's competing quite effectively with the 780Ti, which gives them a large advantage considering they're quite a bit cheaper. That's assuming they're priced how they're reportedly going to be priced though.

Example:
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphic...ng-and-Conclus
Quote:
The ASUS card performed better than the GTX 780 Ti in Bioshock Infinite and Crysis 3 while the GTX 780 Ti's only definitive victory came in Battlefield 3. In the three other games tested, the cards were so close that I'll call it a performance tie.
Makes me wonder how nVidia will respond, will we see a GTX 790 or GTX 780Ti Boost edition? I'm just loving the to and fro that's been going on since the 290/290X launched. Quote

20-12-2013, 12:52:13

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoot View Post
The guys on the PcPer podcast were half joking if the debacle with the reference cooler on the 290 and 290X was deliberate on AMD's part just to mess with nVidia, since they kind of rushed out the 780Ti in response.

Sure enough, reviews so-far have the non-reference 290X's competing quite effectively with the 780Ti, which gives them a large advantage considering they're quite a bit cheaper. That's assuming they're priced how they're reportedly going to be priced though.

Example:
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphic...ng-and-Conclus
Makes me wonder how nVidia will respond, will we see a GTX 790 or GTX 780Ti Boost edition? I'm just loving the to and fro that's been going on since the 290/290X launched.

Asus is £499.....Quote

20-12-2013, 13:24:05

Zoot
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
Asus is £499.....
Yeah the delta is far bigger in USD than GBP it seems; $20 over the reference 290X according to HERE.

I tend to pay more attention to the price in dollars since we normally end up paying the same in euros here in euroland, even though the EURUSD is 1.37 at the time of writing. Quote

20-12-2013, 14:21:49

Greenback
I think I'd leave the stickers off I like the clean look and I like ASUS DCU coolersQuote

20-12-2013, 14:59:56

victornezzi
i really like it,at least now we have a 290x that don't work as heater anymore lol,and and also the idea to put the stickers for choose,now if someo needs can take it and paint itQuote

20-12-2013, 15:39:51

WillSK
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenback View Post
I think I'd leave the stickers off I like the clean look and I like ASUS DCU coolers
Yeah I think I would too. Even in a red and black build i'd prob keep these stealth blackQuote

20-12-2013, 18:26:34

Excalabur50
As it's all black like that I think it's one of the best cards i've seen to date love that stealth look and the back plate looks bloody awesome just a nice clean lined cardQuote

22-12-2013, 08:23:12

Dedwoods42
As much as it won't stop me buying a pair of 780Tis, I really hope that this gives it a solid run for its money - seeing Nvidia scared and having to drop prices would be rather nice :-)Quote

22-12-2013, 08:27:30

Zoot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dedwoods42 View Post
As much as it won't stop me buying a pair of 780Tis, I really hope that this gives it a solid run for its money - seeing Nvidia scared and having to drop prices would be rather nice :-)
The reviews done so-far have the custom 290X's trading blows with the 780Ti, for less money aswell.

Although it's probably not enough to force another set of price drops from nVidia.Quote

22-12-2013, 12:24:05

NeverBackDown
In the US the 780ti cost about $720 while the Asus card will cost about $650. It used to be about $600 flat but with litcoin becoming super popular the AMD camp has had a price increase. So as of now $70 plus with BF4 free equals a big win for AMD. I couldn't justify the price increase for no performance gain.Quote

22-12-2013, 14:15:46

Contendo
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
In the US the 780ti cost about $720 while the Asus card will cost about $650. It used to be about $600 flat but with litcoin becoming super popular the AMD camp has had a price increase. So as of now $70 plus with BF4 free equals a big win for AMD. I couldn't justify the price increase for no performance gain.
You forget that 780ti comes with Splinter Cell, AC 4 and Batman Origins. That makes up for any difference in price if there will be any in the first place. Also you say 720$ vs 650$, it will probably be 700$ vs 700$.Quote

22-12-2013, 14:16:51

blair
at 499 i think you might as well get the gtx780ti, used to love AMD for price v performance but i am now leaning towards Nvidia. AMD have shot themselves in the foot.Quote

22-12-2013, 14:29:50

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contendo View Post
You forget that 780ti comes with Splinter Cell, AC 4 and Batman Origins. That makes up for any difference in price if there will be any in the first place. Also you say 720$ vs 650$, it will probably be 700$ vs 700$.
Games that you play once, beat, put it away, then never go back to again. So much value for sure. At least with bf4 you will end up investing far more hours into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blair View Post
at 499 i think you might as well get the gtx780ti, used to love AMD for price v performance but i am now leaning towards Nvidia. AMD have shot themselves in the foot.
AMD 290x and 780ti are tied with the 3rd party coolers; but a 290 vs a 780 on the other hand is a clear win for the 290.Quote

22-12-2013, 14:48:08

SieB
I wouldn't go off prices as they stand at this point in time. Both AMD and Nvidia's prices have gone up recently due to shortages and Buttcoin mining.
If you take a 290 (non X) which is only a couple of FPS below a 290X, as in 2-3 and is £100 cheaper. Then Nvidia are not value for money AMD are.

A non ref 780Ti is £650 ish a non ref 290 is £360 ish. The 780Ti is still the faster card but not that much faster that it's worth an extra £300.Quote

22-12-2013, 15:09:53

GoogalyMoogaly
Does anyone (i.e. Tom) know if Asus will be doing a 290 version with this cooler?Quote

22-12-2013, 15:15:59

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post
Does anyone (i.e. Tom) know if Asus will be doing a 290 version with this cooler?
Gigabyte, Asus, MSI, Saphire, HIS and XFX are all doing non ref 290 versions, some don't have custom PCBs though, the Saphire one uses a ref PCB anyway. You can pre order some of them on Overclockers.co.uk now but i'd wait till other retailers have them and prices drop a bit, Overclockers are usually more expensive than everywhere else.Quote

22-12-2013, 15:20:08

GoogalyMoogaly
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post
Gigabyte, Asus, MSI, Saphire, HIS and XFX are all doing non ref 290 versions, some don't have custom PCBs though, the Saphire one uses a ref PCB anyway. You can pre order some of them on Overclockers.co.uk now but i'd wait till other retailers have them and prices drop a bit, Overclockers are usually more expensive than everywhere else.
I was basing it on overclockers.co.uk's pre-order selection where they don't have a 290 DirectCU listed.
Their prices can be more expensive, but I've found their service levels and support to be amongst the best in the past, so depending o nthe difference I don't mind pay a few £s more.

The main issue with the Asus though is that due to the custom PCB the waterblock selection will be limited.Quote

22-12-2013, 15:32:00

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalyMoogaly View Post

The main issue with the Asus though is that due to the custom PCB the waterblock selection will be limited.
Good news on that I'm guessing it will fit the non X version as well.

http://www.techpowerup.com/196026/ne...tcu-ii-oc.html

I think the non x DCUII is mid Jan, I hope it is anyway because I want one.Quote

22-12-2013, 16:38:41

GoogalyMoogaly
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post
Good news on that I'm guessing it will fit the non X version as well.

http://www.techpowerup.com/196026/ne...tcu-ii-oc.html

I think the non x DCUII is mid Jan, I hope it is anyway because I want one.
Yeah.
I've already got a couple of reference 290s, but a couple more wont hurt!
Got the reference ones because they should be easy to watercool. I suspected EK would make a block for the Asus cards (they usually do), it's just not many others seem to so you're stuck with EK and their CSQ ****.Quote

22-12-2013, 16:45:49

blair
wondering if to upgrade my two HD7970s or wait for the gtx800 series.Quote

23-12-2013, 11:24:07

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by blair View Post
wondering if to upgrade my two HD7970s or wait for the gtx800 series.
Two 7970s are more than enough as of now. Only worthwhile upgrades would be 290x in crossfire or 780ti in sli. Even then its not exactly worth it due to cost. Would make more sense to upgrade if you had 1440p or above resolution.Quote

23-12-2013, 11:25:46

barnsley
I noticed my DCII sags quite a bit, I hope they sort this for the 290x.Quote
Reply
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