PowerColor Devil 13 R9 290X Dual Core Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: June 25, 2014
Product Name: R9 290X Devil 13
Part Number: AXR9 290X II 8GBD5
Warranty: 3 Years
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The R9 290X Devil 13 is bound to make some waves in the gaming world, not only due to the fact that it carries on a well-established PowerColor tradition that has seen them launch some of AMD’s most powerful GPUs. You may not remember but back in August of 2012, Hardware Canucks was among the first to report that the HD 7990 would be launched in the guise of PowerColor’s HD 7990 Devil 13. That cards boasted absolutely awesome performance metrics, beating the GTX 690 in numerous benchmarks provided its Turbo Mode was used. Naturally, AMD went on to “officially” launch the HD 7990 but the Devil 13 has always remained in our minds as one of the best custom products launched in the last two years.

Fast forward to a few months ago and AMD rolled out their long-anticipated R9 295X2. Not only did it take NVIDIA completely by surprise but it approached cooling in a new and innovative way (for a reference card that is); instead of sticking to a sometimes-inefficient air based heatsink, AMD incorporated a water cooling setup. As a result, its dual R9 290X cores were able to operate at full speed without the throttling and it demolished everything in its path.

PowerColor’s R9 290X Devil 13 goes back to basics by utilizing virtually the same specifications as the R9 295X2 but backing things up with an infinitely more adaptable fan-based heatsink. Ditching the water cooler wasn’t easy since the Hawaii cores and 8GB memory produce an astonishing amount of heat but the Devil 13 compensates by throwing a massive amount of thermal dissipation power at the problem.

With a pair of fully enabled R9 290X cores alongside 8GB of overclocked memory, PowerColor’s Devil 13 will likely become the world’s fastest graphics card. However, there’s a lot that needs to go on behind the scenes as well. For example AMD needed to add water cooling to ensure their cores didn’t throttle to lower speeds and the Devil 13 needs to accomplish the same thing but with an air-cooled heatsink. That’s a tall order to fulfill considering large portions of its heatsink are carried over from the previous design.

One thing that likely won’t be controversial is the Devil 13’s price. At $1,400 it is $100 less than AMD’s R9 295X2 but, as we will see on the next page, there are far more accessories included. Just don’t expect PowerColor’s flagship to be widely available because, as with the HD 7990 Devil 13, it is a truly limited edition with about 250 cards being produced. However, if you do manage to get your hands on one, expect to be set in the high end gaming department for the next few years at least.

While some may question the existence of cards like the PowerColor R9 290X Devil 13, they make no excuses about being narrowly targeted towards enthusiasts and gamers with a ton of money to burn. In that regard, we’re about to find out whether or not this card can hope to compete against or even surpass AMD’s mighty R9 295X2.


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