We received one of the first Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X cards straight from the factory, so it wasn’t shipped in a retail box. We do know that Sapphire have universally changed their box artwork from 3D rendered ladies, to robots. Good or bad? You decide…
Sapphire did supply some extras in a plain brown box. These feature several power converter cables, a software disc, an HDMI cable, and a Sapphire sticker – for the chassis.
We love the Tri-X colour scheme – black, with yellow accenting. The PCB is black. The triple fans use dust repelling bearings and aerofoil section blades to reduce noise under speed. The fan cowling is designed to ensure airflow is directed to the hottest parts of the board.
The R9 290 Tri-X OC takes power from a single 8 pin and a single 6 pin power connector. Same as the reference design.
There is no Crossfire connector on the R9 290 Tri Edition. The 290X and 290 offer Bridgeless Crossfire capabilities.
In the picture above you can see a BIOS switch however unlike the 290X, this switch doesn’t change any settings. Those who have read our previous editorials will already be aware that the BIOS switch on the 290X would shift between a 40% and a 55% maximum fan profile. The Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X offers UEFI compatibility via this BIOS switch.
The R9 290 is built to a very high standard and we are glad to see Sapphire ditching the sub standard AMD reference cooler with their custom version. The Tri-X cooler comprises five monster 10mm copper heatpipes – two of which bend 180 degrees backwards from the core block into a secondary set of aluminum fins.
The Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X, clocked at 1GHZ. The Hawaii CPU is built on the 28nm process and the card comprises 6.2 billion transistors. The R9 290 has 64 ROPS, 160 texture units and 2,560 Stream processors. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 1,300mhz (5.2Gbps effective) and is connected via a fat 512 bit memory interface.