Want a new GPU that performs like a 290x but without the extra price tag? Overclockers is now offering a R9 290 which it's opened up and pre-flashed with a voltage unlocked R9 290x BIOS, upping its viable stream processors, improving its overclocking and giving you the chance to up the voltage if you so choose.
The specifics are that flashing the BIOS takes the 290 from 2560 to 2816 stream processors, and lets you tweak the voltage up to 1.412mv. These changes don't only make it easier to overclock your new card, but it improves the base performance too. In a couple of screenshots, OCUK staff member Gibbo shows that it takes the Unigine Engine Heaven benchmark up from 107.2 FPS and a score of 2701, to (with no clock changes) 111.8 FPS and a score of 2817.
But it's not just performance that makes this an interesting buy, but the price difference between this and the real version too. If you bought a standard R9 290, it would set you back around £325. This pre-flashed version is only a bit more at £360. However, if you threw down your money for an ‘official' 290x, you'd be spending all of £440.
If you're worried about the card breaking because it's not designed for this, don't' worry. OCUK is offering a two year warranty with every purchase.
Grab the R9 290 pre-flashed to 290x GPU here.
KitGuru says: If you were thinking of giving yourself an early Christmas present, this might not be a bad one.