MSI R9 290 Gaming Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

MSI R9 290 Gaming Review


In our initial review of the R9 290 we felt that it had the potential to provide far better value for money than the 290X, with only the thermal limitations of the dodgy AMD cooler reducing its performance.

With the release of the MSI R9 290 Gaming we should see those limits removed. As well as being part of the outstanding MSI Gaming range, the R9 290 Gaming is also supplied with the MSI Twin Frozr cooler which should give us greater overclocking headroom to really bring the Radeon card up with the best of them.

So without further ado let us see if out early gut-feeling about the Hawaii GPUs potential is borne out now that we have a cooler worthy of the name.

Technical Specifications

There are three settings on the MSI Gaming. Usually the AMD cards have a Silent and Uber modes. The Gaming introduces an OC mode too, which boosts the Hawaii core past the 1GHz marker. Otherwise things are, specification wise at least, fairly standard for a R9 290.

MSI R9 290 Gaming Review


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Most Recent Comments

15-02-2014, 07:00:15


The big problem with the R9 290 was the heat, so does the MSI Twin Frozr unleash the beast?

Continue ReadingQuote

15-02-2014, 07:35:57

Another quality review and what an amazing card for the price and to see the numbers jump with Mantle....just wow, going to be interesting to see how much further Mantle goes as the technology maturesQuote

15-02-2014, 07:36:15

Good review as always Tom.

mantle gave a good increase in performance there, especially given the CPU your using.
Only time will tell how much mantle will benefit gamers, lets hope Thief comes to market with full support for ALL GCN GPUs and works in Crossfire unlike BF4 at present.

One thing i will add here, the PCB on this MSI card is reference,so it is watercooling capable (checked by EK here), but also contains some of higher quality components compared to the reference card (MSI military class) and likely could be a higher binned chip.

Definitely worth considering for those water cooling or planning to watercool a 290, especially those who can't watercool immediately considering the stock card's noise levels and throttling. It also has a good looking backplate at stockQuote

15-02-2014, 07:39:12

MSi have really upped their game with the Twin Frozr coolers.

My old MSi GTX 560 with the Twin Frozr II cooler, while being fine when it's idle sounds like an aeroplane while gaming.Quote

15-02-2014, 08:14:38

Nice to see the overclock. Was just playing super safe with a 1047.Quote

15-02-2014, 12:15:02

That's one sexy card! AMD is back in the high-end competition Quote

15-02-2014, 12:55:05

Looks like the Tri-X is still king of the third party coolers for the 290s.
Hottest I have seen mine go is 74*c and that was during TW2 running round a section where the GPU is at 100% most of the time for a good 30mins.

The MSI one definitely still does a good job though, one thing I did notice though is in the GPU-Z in the review says the MSI gaming has 72 GPixles and 180 GTexels. My Tri-X only has 60 GPixles and 160 GTexeles, GPU-Z may be reading it wrong? Current version is 0.7.7, I noticed the on in the review is version 0.7.4.Quote

15-02-2014, 12:58:43

Awesome review i have this coming in the next 3 weeks am so looking forward to gaming nowQuote

15-02-2014, 12:59:24

Gorgeous card.

Scan lists it as only £10 cheaper than the 780 counterpart though. Wouldn't say it's worth picking up over that (Unless you're a serious AMD fan).Quote

15-02-2014, 13:22:33

I had to RMA 2 of these for dodgy (grinding noise from fans) In the end I called it a day and jumped to the green ship, having got my refund.

It's a great card though none the less, I probably just got 2 bad apples.Quote

15-02-2014, 13:43:34

Good review and a nice card for the money.
I like it's looks too. It would fit right in on my MSI G45 Gaming motherboard.Quote

15-02-2014, 15:07:27

Ah thank goodness they didn't mess it up like Asus did. Good job MSI! Quote

17-02-2014, 03:31:26

Great Review
MSI R9 290 is one of the BEST R9 series!Quote

17-02-2014, 05:44:06

Good card, I still think the 780 is a better deal thoughQuote

17-02-2014, 09:33:41

Awesome review dude, but people commenting you gotta remember pretty much all AMD cards are terrible deals right now. The prices are drastically inflated because of krypto currency mining. When this thing launched it was like 400 USD and it was a really compelling deal. Now it's up at about the 600 USD amount which is very unreasonable for gamers but not so much for miners. So we just have to wait untill people stop buying them by the buttload for mining and we can finally get back our price/performance on the AMD side.Quote

17-02-2014, 10:08:07

Originally Posted by theroflcopta View Post
Awesome review dude, but people commenting you gotta remember pretty much all AMD cards are terrible deals right now. .
Maybe where you are from . They're not too bad right now, the 290x are the ones that have been the most effected here.Quote

17-02-2014, 10:18:49

Originally Posted by theroflcopta View Post
Awesome review dude, but people commenting you gotta remember pretty much all AMD cards are terrible deals right now.
This is mostly in america, here in the UK/Europe the prices are not affected as much.Quote

17-02-2014, 16:48:55

I think the consoles being in the red corner, makes future game optimisation favour AMD over nVidia. This might take time to fully filter through but we have seen how consoles brought poor ports to pc, and the console market is were the money is at so unlikely to change. With that in mind the developers will likely also go AMD and in a long winded way means that the 290 is a better deal than the 780.

I went with the Gaming series Motherboard and Graphic card combo. This was likely as a result of TTL product placement, I mean positive reviews :P
I also had corsair mouse, psu and ram. The weak minded fool that I am.Quote

18-02-2014, 21:28:21

I've got this card and it's fantastic, the only bad thing I can find is the position of the 6pin and 8 pin, it's really hard to unplug themQuote

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