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XFX R9 280X Black OC Edition Review

There is no doubt the XFX R9 280X Black OC Edition is a beautifully designed graphics card. The understated matt black cooler is very attractive and the build quality is up to the highest standards we would expect for a flagship product such as this.

XFX have supplied the R9 280X Black OC Edition with a healthy out of the box overclock – the core clock has been increased to 1,100mhz and the memory to 1,650mhz. In real world terms the performance is almost identical to the Asus R9 280X Matrix Platinum we reviewed last week.

The dual slot XFX cooler may not be as quiet as the massive ASUS three slot competing part, but load temperatures are pretty much identical (74-75c). This is impressive considering the physical differences between the two cards.

The Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Edition is the fastest 280X solution to date (50mhz core clock faster than XFX and ASUS cards), and the XFX R9 280X Black OC Edition can’t quite match the Sapphire part, even when both are manually overclocked to the limits.

We noticed that Sapphire are using two 8 pin power connectors with a more sophisticated 8+2+2 power phase configuration (XFX is 6 phase) on their card and while XFX are using 8 thin copper heatpipes, Sapphire have upped the game, incorporating monster 10mm heatpipes. In real world terms the Sapphire solution runs around 10c cooler than both XFX and ASUS cards under load.

While many people have dismissed the R9 280X launch as a simple rebranding of the HD7970 GHZ Edition, we can’t help but admire the pricing. This XFX R9 280X Black OC Edition is listed on Scan for £251.99 inc vat which makes it one of the least expensive custom overclocked R9 280X’s we have reviewed so far – around £20 less than the Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Edition for instance. (It would appear Scan have the card listed with incorrect speeds, we are checking with XFX and will update this page ASAP).


  • beautiful design.
  • good out of the box overclock.
  • excellent performance.
  • our sample could be pushed to over 1,200mhz.
  • cooler was a close match against the Asus three slot Matrix Platinum TOP.
  • £250 offers fantastic value for money.


  • a lot of competition.
  • not as fast as Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Edition.

Kitguru says: A high performance card from XFX and one that is sure to appeal visually to a wide enthusiast audience.

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Rating: 9.0.

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  1. Thats the nicest looking GPU I have ever seen.

  2. Good board, but I think Sapphire nailed it with the Toxic Edition – looks a better built card too.

    Still this is cheaper, so horses for courses.

  3. I’m with Ben on this one, its one of the most understated, but visually stunning cards I’ve seen in a long time!
    Performance is great, but price is even better, I’d love one in my system 😉

  4. Have you checked with xfx about clock times because scan still is listing black edition with this clock speed 1080-6200 MHz, so this is the same card you have reviewed with lower clock speed?