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Asus R9 290 Direct CU II OC Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K)

Rating: 8.0.

Today we look at the latest card from Asus – the R9 290 Direct CU II, which ships with a custom cooler and out of the box clock enhancements. Can this card compete with solutions from Sapphire and Gigabyte which we have reviewed in the last month?
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The Asus R9 290 features a version of their Direct CU II dual fan cooler, versions of which we have reviewed on other Asus cards in the past.

Asus have overclocked their R9 Direct CU II OC from reference speeds of 947mhz to 1,000mhz and they have also given their GDDR5 memory a little tweak, from 1,250mhz (5Gbps effective) to 1,260mhz (5.04Gbps effective).


  • GPU: Hawaii Pro
  • Litecoin Hash Rate: 800-950
  • Stream Processors: 2560
  • ROPS: 64
  • Core Speed: 1000MHz
  • Memory Speed: 5040Mhz
  • Memory interface: 512-Bit
  • Memory capacity: 4096MB GDDR5
  • PCI-Express X16 lane required
  • 600W or greater PSU required
  • Power Connectors: 8-pin + 6-pin required
  • Display Outputs: 2x Dual Link DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort
  • Warranty: 3yr

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  • Optical Illusion

    Why would they move the VRM sensor to a place that is going to report hot results? surely thats an engineer foobar?

  • Terrible Terrance

    Sapphire rule the AMD roost, because they always do a proper design – and they don’t make nvidia boards either.

    I read this review as ASUS cut corners, and have a cooler which isn’t quite at the same level as their competitors. I love their motherboards, but wonder about some of their design decisions once they move to other products.

  • Bigness

    So the VRM temp sensor doesn’t actually reflect the VRM’s true temperature.
    The Cooler itself doesn’t fully cover the gpu (3 of 5 pipes at best it looked like?)
    And they are using poorer quality Elpida memory modules, which are well known to be a source of the black screen crashes on the 290 series cards, over the far more stable Hynix modules that sapphire/gigabyte/msi use?

    And all of this comes at a serious price premium (£529.99 on ocuk atm vs £439.99 for the gigabyte and £449.99 for the msi versions, which both offer better hardware).

    How is this an 8/10 card? Closer to 4/10 surely given the poor decisions made and the price point compared to rival cards.

  • Not sure where you are getting the prices from, its £389.99 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-334-AS&groupid=701&catid=56&subcat=1752.

    Unless you are looking at the 290x cards and getting mixed up.

  • Bigness

    My bad, you’re right there.

    Nevertheless, the rest stands for all versions of the 290’s, and it still sits at a ~10% price premium vs other cards of its type, while still having the same hardware flaws. It’s just more pronounced with the X version.