Articles: Graphics

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AMD’s Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290 graphics cards which were released in late October and early November 2013 had only two significant and interrelated shortcomings. They were too noisy in 3D applications and they would drop their GPU clock rate and, consequently, performance upon reaching a GPU temperature of 94°C.

The only way to avoid the GPU throttling is to manually set the fan speed at 3100 RPM and higher. Of course, the noise level will rise even higher then, making reference samples of these cards unsuitable for home users.

Loyal AMD fans were not bothered, though. They were absolutely sure that there would appear original versions with efficient coolers that would avoid the frequency drop problem without producing much noise. Even though they have had to wait for a few months, they can welcome such products now. ASUS, in particular, has unveiled its Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II model (R9290-DC2OC-4GD5) and we’re going to cover it in this review.

Specifications and Recommended Price

The specifications and recommended price of the ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II are listed below in comparison with those of the reference Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 780 Ti and GeForce GTX 780 as well as AMD’s Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290.

Packaging and Accessories

The graphics card is shipped in a large dark-colored cardboard box with the marks of Wolverine’s claws on the front. You can also read the card's model name and cooler's name there. The amount of onboard memory and supported technologies are mentioned as well.

The back of the box is somewhat more informative. The card’s video outputs and power-saving technologies are listed. You can also see descriptions of the DirectCU II cooler and ASUS GPU Tweak utility.

There’s a robust cardboard box inside the colorful wrapper. The card is fixed within a foam-rubber corset inside, so the packaging is overall most reliable. Besides the graphics card, the box contains a power adapter, a CD with drivers and utilities, and a brief installation guide.

Alas, we can’t find any games or extras among the accessories although the Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II is a premium-class product. It is currently priced at $529 in online stores. Manufactured in China, the card comes with a 3-year warranty.

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