AMD may have dropped the ball with the R9 290/x reference card launch, but fortunately their key partners have been delivering some remarkable custom solutions in the last month.
The Gigabyte R9 290 WindForce OC is a very high performance, low noise graphics card able to power many of the latest Direct X 11 titles at 1600p and Ultra HD 4K resolutions.
Right now, the enthusiast user has several fantastic options to choose from. We rate the Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC highly, having reviewed it back on December 19th. This card has clearly been designed with a primary focus on cooling performance. Our test results indicated a staggering 27c improvement on load temperatures -when compared directly to the reference solution.
The Gigabyte R9 290 WindForce OC runs 10c hotter than the Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC under load, which in reality is a little disappointing. Gigabyte have optimised the fan profile to run at a thermal curve peak of 85c, with a main focus on reducing noise emissions.
This works well, as the card is very quiet under load … however we would prefer to see a slightly more aggressive default fan profile configuration. Overall, we feel the Tri-X cooler is slightly better than the Gigabyte WindForce offering.
The Gigabyte R9 290 WindForce OC is the fastest ‘out of the box’ R9 290 we have tested to date and as such performs slightly better than the Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC in most situations. That said, we found the Sapphire card could be manually tweaked to a higher level in Catalyst Control Center, although making such a sweeping ‘global’ statement based on only two samples is foolish. Every card will exhibit different overclocking headroom.
You can buy the Gigabyte R9 290 Windforce OC from Overclockers UK for £379.99 inc vat.
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- default fan settings are optimised for noise.
- well built.
- excellent performance.
- fast core overclock.
- ‘WindForce’ Cooler doesn’t perform to the same level as the ‘Tri-X’ OC counterpart on the Sapphire R9 290 model.