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Gigabyte R9 290X OC WindForce Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K)

Rating: 9.0.

AMD fans may have had to wait several months for custom cooled R9 290/x cards to hit the channel, but today we follow up on our December review of the Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X OC with a look at the latest Gigabyte R9 290X OC solution, featuring their excellent triple fan WindForce cooler.

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Today we supplement our tests by analysing performance at 3840×2160 (4k HD) on the Asus PQ321QE. We recently acquired one of these screens for high end graphics card reviews. Sure, the £2999.99 asking price will mean very few can afford the upgrade right now, but in the next year we expect the cost to drop.
Setting up this monitor is simple with both AMD and Nvidia hardware (via DisplayPort cable) and we didn’t experience any issues. To achieve a refresh rate of 60hz after the Forceware or Catalyst drivers were installed we enable the Multi Stream Transport mode within a submenu of the Asus PQ321QE.
On paper there is no doubt that the R9 290X is a monster, clocked at 1GHZ. The Gigabyte R9 290X OC is clocked higher, to 1,040mhz out of the box, although the memory speeds are set at reference – 1,250mhz (5.2Gbps effective).

The Hawaii GPU is built on the 28nm process and the card comprises 6.2 billion transistors. The R9 290X has 64 ROP’s, 176 TMU’s and 2,816 unifed shaders. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 1,250mhz (5Gbps effective) and is connected via an ultra wide 512 bit memory interface. We have tested the reference card when it launched and while we were impressed – the cooling solution was woefully inadequate.

The R9 290X, along with the R7 260X features a programmable audio pipeline. The R9 270X and R9 280X don’t. This new TrueAudio technology is designed for game audio artists and engineers, so they can ‘bring their artistic vision beyond sound production into the realm of sound processing’. This technology is intended to transform game audio as programmable shaders transformed graphics in the following ways:

  • Programmable audio pipeline grants artistic freedom to game audio engineers for sound processing.
  • Easy to access through popular audio libraries used by top game developers.
  • Fundamentally redefines the nature of a modern PC graphics card.
  • Spatialization, reverb, mastering limiters and simultaneous voices are only the beginning.

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  1. Terrible Terrance

    Well about time there were a few more cards out. this one looks good, bit expensive, but all these cards are. Have you reviewed their 290? can you mod it to 290x? :p

  2. Gigabyte cards get overlooked quite often, but its good to see the partners have taken their time to get them out at a high level, its the reason why a lot of people didn’t buy the reference 290. shoddy cooler.

  3. Thats a great card, id love a review of the 290 myself, 290x is too much for me. Are you going to review it?

  4. Good review, although I don’t agree, I think the GTX780ti is GREAT value, they start now at £550, and id pay £70 more for one over a 290x.

  5. I hate this site, you do it all the time. review a product WE CAN”T FU*(ING BUY anywhere. its only on preorder on OCUK. whats the point of that? still not out yet, good job AMD. bunch of losers.

  6. Optical Illusion

    wish I could afford a 30 inch 4k screen, but its a bit off before they are affordable. 280X is the best bet if you want AMD, but I might move to Nvidia next gen later this year.

  7. To the author of this review: Guru3D also did a review of this card, and the temperatures on Quiet mode was 84C, roughly equal to your results, and Uber’s max temps was at 77C. The noise levels are also a few dB higher on Uber mode. Could you verify that you actually recorded the temps in Uber mode?

  8. Hi Hmmm,
    Sorry – not seen that review
    What were the benchmarks when the card was in ‘Uber’?

  9. I had one of these….OCUK had 10 cards in just before Christmas and I managed to snatch one.

    I hope other peoples experiences are better than mine…I ran a couple of game benchmarks at out of the box settings but it crashed a couple pf times running metro last light benchmark and would not boot up there after when the amd driver (13.12) was installed….RMA’ed but now waiting for more stock due 17/01.

    I’m seriously considering switching my order to a 780ti….its just the promise of what “mantle” and “freesync” may bring is holding me there atm.

  10. Really excited about this card. Was lucky enough to get the 290X BF4 version for ‘only’ 417 euro! (which converts to 346 pound).