Sapphire R9 290 4GB TRI-X OC Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: January 22, 2014
Product Name: R9 290 TRI-X OC
Part Number: 100362-2SR
Warranty: 3 Years
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Exploring the TRI-X's Clock Speeds

As has become usual for these reviews, we decided to delve a bit deeper into the Tri-Xís frequencies since, with its higher end heatsink there should be some untapped performance lying below the surface. The main issue with the reference R9 290-series cards was their lackluster coolers which caused temperatures to rise and as a result, clock speeds tended to throttle downwards into lower territory.

The first round of results in this section shows some very convincing results. Even with the overclocked R9 290 core pumping out heat, the Tri-X design is more than capable of keeping things under control. With this in mind, AMDís Boost algorithms should be given some additional frequency leeway before things have to be reined in due to power and voltage limits.

Unfortunately it seems that the Tri-X is operating very close to AMDís default limiters and Sapphire hasnít done much to move the goalposts. As a result, their custom R9 290 remained at 1GHz throughout testing even though temperatures were nowhere near their maximum, throttle-inducing levels. It doesnít clock all that much better than a reference R9 290 with fan speeds boosted to 55%.

Compare and contrast this to the impressive default headroom many custom NVIDIA cards come with and it has us wondering how well AMDís algorithms can manage additional cooling resources.

With all of this being taken into account, itís great to see the Sapphire card delivering consistent performance without any throttling. However, it would have been great if this R9 290 was able to boost even higher without being dragged back by AMDís Boost feature. Overclocking will certainly take care of this.

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