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MSI R9 290 OC Gaming Edition Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K)

Rating: 9.0.

AMD’s R9 290 and R9 290X have been well received by the gaming community over the last couple of months, especially those partner cards featuring enhanced coolers and clock speeds. Today we look at a solution that has received special treatment courtesy of MSI … their R9 290 Gaming Edition. How does it stack up?

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Today we supplement our tests by analysing performance at 3840×2160 (4k HD) on the Asus PQ321QE. We acquired one of these screens for high end graphics card reviews. Last year this monitor cost £2,999.99, but (as we predicted) the prices are already dropping in 2014 … down to £2399.99 this month. Sure it is still a lot of money, but prices will continue to decrease, opening up the joys of 4K gaming to a wider audience.
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.
MSI have overclocked their R9 290X from reference speeds of 947mhz to 977mhz although the memory is running at default clock speeds of 1,250mhz (5Gbps effective). The Hawaii core is built on the 28nm process and features 2560 shaders, 64 ROPS and 160 Texture Units. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory is connected via a 512 Bit interface.

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  • Ian

    Great card, but Sapphire are miles ahead and ive been reading some problems with the fans on these MSI cards long term. failures etc.

  • EsOne

    I have had an MSI twin frozr card for years and never had a problem with it. I think some people don’t clean their fans and coolers fairly regularly and the dust kills them. nothing to do with a bad design.

  • Wilker

    The 290 is just so much more sensible than the 290x, they are mega money for very little extra gain. AMD dropped the ball with the pricing.

  • Lewis

    I bought one last week from OC when it was on sale for £330!
    Excellent timing on the review though as now I have an idea of the headroom I have for overclocking.

  • Martin

    This R9 290 is louder, hotter and has a lower clock speed than the gigabyte R9 290, so why does this have have a higher score?

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  • Alex4net

    I try to configure that MSI R9 290 card for mining – problem is heat – when you ask for more than 650kH/s temperature is mre that 85 it turn off.
    I find configuration with 840kH/s but iy’s working 7 minutes before turn off.
    Any idea what to do?

  • Phil

    Something interesting , the card is actually mentioned to be over clocked to 1004mhz, but it needs the MSI Gaming App (could use afterburner as well). I wish they just overclocked it to 1004mhz without the need to use that app