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ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC 4 GB

W1zzard

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Hence, has AMD traded-off lifespan of a top-tier product for pure performance?

Science agrees that for silicon higher temperature = shorter lifespan, but I haven't seen any significant cases of GPUs randomly dying after a certain time due to high heat. You'd see a gaussian distribution of such cases, which would quickly draw everyone's attention. Usually the product becomes obsolete first (which happens in just a few years). Also thermal expansion of solder joints leads to damage on the PCB itself first. Have you seen any scientific research on the topic of silicon lifespan vs temperature (on real shipping products)?

AMD is powering certain zones and pipelines of the chip depending on the power footprint and temperature

I think you mean power gating, which has been used extensively over the last few years. Moderns GPUs reduce clock and voltage whenever they can, but as far as I know they do not randomly shut off shaders when full performance is needed. When idling, they shut off almost everything, even their 2D rendering acceleration units, by detecting whether the displayed image is static or not.

Id hate to have 94'c of heat dumped inside my case

You don't dump x°C of heat into the case. All power the card consumes is turned into heat which is dissipated into the case. So for a constant power draw, no matter the temperature, the same energy is deposited into the case.
 
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It seems the tri-X cooler is a little better than the Asus but either would be good.
 
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It seems the tri-X cooler is a little better than the Asus but either would be good.

Only in an open air bench test.

Tom's Hardware - Does Radeon R9 290X Behave Any Differently In A Closed Case?

In a closed case scenario. Hands down the Sapphire wins



The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X runs about the same in both scenerios.

Does Radeon R9 290X Behave Any Differently In A Closed Case? said:
Sapphire's Tri-X OC Radeon R9 290X maintains open-air performance levels even in a closed chassis. More specifically, the board sheds .4% of its average framerate, which is within a margin of error.
Asus' R9 290X DirectCU II OC fares worse, losing 8% of its performance in the closed case.
 
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W1zzard

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The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X runs about the same in both scenerios.
what about noise? how does the gpu temperature affect your user experience anyway? what's the perceived difference between 70°C and 85°C ?

Did they mix quiet mode and performance modes in that test?
 
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what about noise? how does the gpu temperature affect your user experience anyway? what's the perceived difference between 70°C and 85°C ?

Did they mix quiet mode and performance modes in that test?

It's on page 2 of the link

Closed Chassis

Asus R9 290X DirectCU II OC
84-85 °C
47.3 dB(A)

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X OC
70-72 °C
43.8 dB(A)

Gigabyte R9 290X Windforce OC
83 °C
45.8 dB(A)
 

W1zzard

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Then I'm looking forward to seeing how the Tri-X will perform in my review
 
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The other thing folks need to consider is that I believe the tri-x is effectively a triple-slot versus the Asus and MSI dual-slot, this can be a large factor if you need to put more than one card in your case or you have a small case or slots closer together etc.
 
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The other thing folks need to consider is that I believe the tri-x is effectively a triple-slot versus the Asus and MSI dual-slot, this can be a large factor if you need to put more than one card in your case or you have a small case or slots closer together etc.


The issue I take with this idea, is if anyone can afford two 290X's, and the monitor pixel count to necessitate them, they can afford some liquid cooling, which then renders this argument invalid.

I see it as, I can't buy a Tesla S, I have this $25 gas card I need to use......or I can't but a Ferrari, my coffee cup doesn't fit.
 

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I received my Asus R9 290X Directcu ii OC last night. (got it from BLT for $599, I too am fed up with newegg)

I replaced two Sapphire 6970 2GB reference cards in crossfire with this card any have noticed dramatic improvements in framerate despite cutting my total GPUs in half.

I seriously don't understand people complaining about the noise or even basing their decision on it. I set this card to 70% Fan speed while playing Far Cry 3 on Ultra/max every setting on my 2560X1600 monitor last night. I could barely hear the fan from the card inside my case and it is sitting 2-3 feet away from my head. Compared to two reference 6970s this card is whisper quiet. I can barely make out the sound of the fans over the rest of my case fans (Antec 1200 case). Even at 100% it is far from what I'd consider annoying.

It is worth noting that the card during several hours of play held steady at 70-71C (which is on par with that my 6970s ran at). The clock rate never once throttled below 1050. People who are talking about all of the heat/noise etc. of these cards are just nitpicking. Over the past 2 years overall power consumption per pixel of relative performance has dropped not increased. Average noise has dropped significantly over the past couple of years as well. It is also worth noting that this card carries a 3 year warranty compared to a 2-year warranty of the Sapphire Tri-X. I don't deny that the Tri-X may have a more powerful cooler, but this cooler is pretty damn quiet and does the job.

Anyways this is my first post on this site, I just wanted to post from the perspective of a typically gamer who has the card and isn't a professional reviewer or over-clocker.
 

charkoth

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The issue I take with this idea, is if anyone can afford two 290X's, and the monitor pixel count to necessitate them, they can afford some liquid cooling, which then renders this argument invalid.

I see it as, I can't buy a Tesla S, I have this $25 gas card I need to use......or I can't but a Ferrari, my coffee cup doesn't fit.

I don't think your assessment is accurate. I'm planning on purchasing a second Asus R9 290X directcu ii as soon as the new Asus 4K 60hz monitor becomes available (provided it has good reviews) at the end of this quarter. I've never water cooled any of my gear and there are plenty of people like me who like to purchase hardware that just works out of the box who don't particularly enjoy tweaking every last drop of performance out of it. I DO like to have bleeding edge hardware which is why I'm willing to make the jump to 4K gaming so soon (much as I made the jump to 2560X1600 gaming).

As we've already established these cards are not the best for overclocking and they are designed to run hot, I don't think the benefits of watercooling them are worth the cost/effort.
 
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It seems the tri-X cooler is a little better than the Asus but either would be good.
That is fairly obvious in several ways. While both uses 5 heat pipes the Tri-X has shorter more effective runs as they are attached to the fins much sooner, while being a longer overall cooler at least giving the impression of more finned areas of the H-P’s. The largest H-P of the Tri-X would appear smack over the middle of the die and has very little un-fined area vs. the Asus. While we can’t tell, it appears Sapphire has almost every bit of 3 H-P running right over the width of die, while Asus has the one (smaller), then hardly the other 2 pipes on the die and they run them long ways. Sapphire has the die-cast structure cooling the memory and VRM’s, from what I see Asus has a regular heat-sink on the VRM’s, while nothing on the memory chips. Finally you have 3 fans over what appears to be a greater area of fins.

I see Asus making that cooler design in all appearances as far back as the GTX780 (6/2013), now turning around and having work with Hawaii, I don’t see as an optimized solution for Hawaii. Personally I see Asus unit as mediocre, not any great solution on either brand.


 
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yueh

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(I know that I'm linking a lot of stuff from Wikipedia, but it comes handy as a starting point to people who wants to know more about the stuff talked about)

Science agrees that for silicon higher temperature = shorter lifespan, but I haven't seen any significant cases of GPUs randomly dying after a certain time due to high heat. You'd see a gaussian distribution of such cases, which would quickly draw everyone's attention.

The distribution I think you are referring to is this one. When microchips are made, one of the lasts steps before testing them at the wafer I think (I cannot remember the exact step right now, sorry), they are introduced in a furnace at a high (high for humans but low to the processes of making a microchip -impurities annealing, etc) temperature (I think it was around 150ºC) in order to age the chips. By this step, most of the chips that are prone to early failure, they fail. Then the exponential fall down you see at the beginning, is displaced to the left; so the chips that they sell us are a little bit 'old' but the manufacturer will assure you that the chips will have a low failure rate (maybe 5% or 2% of a batch? -sorry I cannot provide more data).

Usually the product becomes obsolete first (which happens in just a few years).

This is called programmed obsolescence, which began in electronics maybe around 1990-1995? (more info on this video with Annie Leonard -the others I know are in Spanish, sorry for not to linking them). This is related to economies of scale, value engineering, etc. Hence, I somehow comprehend that this is engineered towards sub 100-150$ GPUs (~less than 100-120€) but if you pay, lets say, like two-three steps of 20-30% of the best performance/price product, then you are paying a premium for obtaining the high tech (you are on the right point of an exponential curve of price on the horizontal axis and performance on the vertical axis). So, for this niche which is spending +350-400$ (+350-400€), you could expect two things: they are rich and prone to update with your high tier products (maybe 20% of the total) and the rest (80%) they are buying this relying on "price / durability". Then, this last sector is eager to expend a 'little fortune' on a premium product desiring that this product will last longer (in FPS -performance wise- and reliability), and will hold to it for 4-5 years (of a 2 year standard in Europe at least guarantee for any electronics). As for my personal experience I had a faulty Asus 4850 (due to the chip and a compact block of pre-applied thermal paste), then a replacement with some whining at the coils of the VRMs, then another replacement which was also an Asus 5770 (with some whining too) and after failing it, I'm settling on a XFX 5770 with an aftermarket cooler (and yes, I know what I am doing and I am careful doing it). The 4850 was back then ~200€ (1GB version) so it was a top-notch product and I was then thinking over the reviews and "price /durability /performance" curve, but I definitely had bad luck. Now with more info and knowledge, I am eager to pull the trigger for a 350-400€ GPU but also based on the temperatures of it to at least avoid a 2 year but less than 1 year (24/7) used product. This is why I love so much the reviews that look "under the hood": GPU, VRMs (quality and number), etc.

Also thermal expansion of solder joints leads to damage on the PCB itself first. Have you seen any scientific research on the topic of silicon lifespan vs temperature (on real shipping products)?

This is why there are some techniques that apply heat to the chip again in an attempt to resolder the balls again (due to thermal expansion-contraction) to make that contact again, or just apply cold with an air can (P·V = n·R·T, if you pull out too much air out the can, the air remaining will drastically go down its temperature)... or apply heat to desolder the chip, clean the soldering material from the PCB and chip and then, put a new mask of balls to resolder it. This is why I should recommend to GPU team to include in the reviews some data about other temperatures among the PCB, the back of it, VRMs etc (yes, I know it will cost money to find out and buy a reasonable IR thermo-probe maybe, but I think that definitely you will pay it off); and why I am so careful with reviews and temperatures of the whole GPU (not only the chip itself).

On the second point, I'm making my dissertation with the Electronics Department of the Technical University of Madrid. They have several papers + publications with a broad knowledge about aging (in fact, a colleague is making a sensor to detect aging on-chip and provide counter measures) + bast knowledge in other areas (i.e, quantification in which I am working on with CUDA). Right know, I cannot provide those papers as it is not my main area of knowledge, but if you have an IEEE account or maybe a Research Gate account, you could easily access to them. Anyhow, I will ask about them. Do you want to learn about general lifespan vs temperature or more focused on aging and use of the device?

I think you mean power gating, which has been used extensively over the last few years. Moderns GPUs reduce clock and voltage whenever they can, but as far as I know they do not randomly shut off shaders when full performance is needed. When idling, they shut off almost everything, even their 2D rendering acceleration units, by detecting whether the displayed image is static or not.

Yes and no :p Yes because it is true that power gating is used widely among microchips (not only GPUs, think about the states of a CPU -RISC, CISC, whatever), but no because I am not stating the randomness of waking / sleeping them (just based on a plan and power states in order to reduce the power drawn by the microchip -which maybe it would be not efficient if not designed carefully) but the fact that you cannot power all the transistors / blocks / whatever at the same time due to the power phases and the power density. The more you shrink a process, the more stuff you could put into that 'box'. At the same time, the faster you would like to work for a transistor, the more voltage you have to apply on it (as long as this voltage is between some limits), and the more you shrink, another challenges appear as you scale down the processes of making a chip and making it work properly. Think on how to power, i.e, 1000 transistors of 50nm of gate length (using basic maths, at least (50x10)^2 nm^2 area, which is far more due to other several facts as they form a block or a logic cell in the chip). Then scale this with parallelization techniques in pipelines and stages of the data process, and you will have billions of transistors. Have you ever wondered how to power up this whole thing? There arguments were given by a professor that explained the basics of the power draw by a chip and by other professor which subject was about growing a transistor from a Si wafer. Sorry I cannot provide more evidence on this or the name in English; I'll try to ask about it too.

Because of all this points (yeah, the word you are thinking is stuff :p ), I wonder how AMD and specially Asus manages to cope with the same performance (FPS) at different temperatures, with more or less the same (~5W difference) power drawn. To be honest, I was thinking more of a ~20W difference + the fact of GPU throttling on AMD design.

PS: thanks for reading W1zzard! (and anyone interested in the topic :) ). Everyday we learn something new :)
 
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I don't think your assessment is accurate. I'm planning on purchasing a second Asus R9 290X directcu ii as soon as the new Asus 4K 60hz monitor becomes available (provided it has good reviews) at the end of this quarter. I've never water cooled any of my gear and there are plenty of people like me who like to purchase hardware that just works out of the box who don't particularly enjoy tweaking every last drop of performance out of it. I DO like to have bleeding edge hardware which is why I'm willing to make the jump to 4K gaming so soon (much as I made the jump to 2560X1600 gaming).

As we've already established these cards are not the best for overclocking and they are designed to run hot, I don't think the benefits of watercooling them are worth the cost/effort.


After watercooling I will never go back to air. Numerous tests have shown the effect of watercooling a stock card is well worth the efforts, 1.2Ghz or close to with reasonable temps.

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2013/12/10/water-cooling-amd-s-radeon-r9-290x/2

For the cost of the cooling solution on two non OEM cards you are close to the cost of a loop that will outperform the air option on every metric presented.
 

yueh

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You don't dump x°C of heat into the case. All power the card consumes is turned into heat which is dissipated into the case. So for a constant power draw, no matter the temperature, the same energy is deposited into the case.

On separate with the other discussion, this is not correct at all (sorry if I say any arguments you already know or if I missunderstood the argument given). Switching activity of the transistors is related to the heat generated at any chip using CMOS or MOSFET technology (wish I had V-I models at hand explaining the "resistance" effect caused on the switching activity going 0 to 1 or 1 to 0). This heat is transferred to the package (image1) and then the package transfers this heat to the ambient or to a heatsink. Hence, Intel suggest to orientate the heatpipes in the direction of the die of the chip to achieve an efficient transfer in heat (+1 to the discussion about 5 heatpipes only touching 3 to the metal package). Then the fans push and/or pull air throw the fins /whatever surface the heat is transferred to, to exchange the heat with the air by a physic law I cannot remember the name right now in English (the one that states that if there are two corpses with temperature A and B close to each other, they will tend to have a final temperature of (A+B)/2).

So, the power drawn by card is not the same as the power transformed into heat due to the resistance effect, losses on the transistor (current leackeage or I_leackage), etc: it depends on the design, use, etc of the chip. Then for a power transferred to the heatsink, yes, a constant heat is transferred to the air of the case; provided that the heatsink will not 'saturate'. If you have a heatsink + fan capable of transferring to air 40W of heat per second and the chip produces "35W of heat" per second (equation power = energy/time), the temperature of the chip will remain somehow constant and the heatsink will somehow not 'saturate' (there are some other facts involved such as the coefficient of transferring heat throw the chip to the package and the package to the chip -which could be viewed as a "resistance" to transfer the heat. If you want to know more about this, I can scan the equations, theory, etc :) ). On the other hand, if your chip produces more heat than the heatsink is able to transfer to the air, then your heatsink will only transfer its maximum => the temperature on the chip will arise.

Hope to have been helpful on the matter :) (and sorry for any misspelled words as English is not my mother tongue)

Greetings,

Javier
 

yueh

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The issue I take with this idea, is if anyone can afford two 290X's, and the monitor pixel count to necessitate them, they can afford some liquid cooling, which then renders this argument invalid.

I see it as, I can't buy a Tesla S, I have this $25 gas card I need to use......or I can't but a Ferrari, my coffee cup doesn't fit.

Maybe there is a niche of people who had bad experiences with water cooling kits or are aware of issues related to leaking:

- pros of watercooling: more ability to cool (think of the radiator of a car as an example or the one your fridge have)
- cons of watercooling: more parts involved, more maintenance to do and risk of leackage which will maybe, cause an overall failure on the system

On the other hand, the traditional air-cooling:

- cons: it is not as capable of cooling as watercooling
- pros: less parts involved, less maintenance then, if the fan stops, the overheat protections of the chip will -or is expected to- shut down the computer /cause the system to freeze / whatever to protect the component involved from high temperatures (+heat => + voltage needed to apply to the chip => +heat generated at the same activity level of the chip => + heat)

So, what is suitable? I tend to think that for each work there is a tool to do it. I agree with you that if you have the money, probably you will think on water/liquid cooling because you will have to move that excessive amount of heat from the GPUs to elsewhere. On the other hand, they could put an Artic Extreme air cooled solution with its pros/cons or they could put a closed loop.

Summing up, is not directly related to the money you have but the technology you are confident with or the person that you hire to maintain your computer (in this last example, yes, money talks).

Greetings,

Javier
 
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yueh

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It's all about transferring heat. On the design you posted, probably that Cu-plate attached to the heatpipes maximizes the heat transferred by: chip -> package -> plate -> heatpipes -> fins -> air through fins. We cannot tell a priori which will be better if we don't have data about the heat transfer coefficients of each stage of the process described before for transferring heat. While I agree that if you wish to put more heatpipes you have to arise the surface touching them to transfer to the heatpipes the heat over the surface (like Noctua designs), maybe only 3 'big' heatpipes will have a better overall transfer coefficient (and maybe direct contact heatpipes of high quality are better than a high quality plate transferring heat to heatpipes).... so then the Asus design will be good enough to cool down the heat produced. Wish I could have more info about it. If you could provide any links / books / reading about the subject, it will be much appreciated :) Thanks in advance!!

Greetings,

Javier

PS: about fins, fans and number of fans, it is all related to the number of fins, the thickness of each fin, the separation between fins and the pressure/airflow of each fan. Think about why some fans work better on some radiators (watercooling) while the same fans, don't work so great on other radiatiors.
 
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The issue I take with this idea, is if anyone can afford two 290X's, and the monitor pixel count to necessitate them, they can afford some liquid cooling, which then renders this argument invalid.

I see it as, I can't buy a Tesla S, I have this $25 gas card I need to use......or I can't but a Ferrari, my coffee cup doesn't fit.

True, but there is also the hassle factor of maybe ripping your machine apart or buying a case that will take the extra radiator(s). In my case I am putting an accelero hybrid on the reference card and then leaving the MSI with the air cooling which keeps things tidy and I have room to put the radiator on the exhaust of the case (the top is filled with a Swiftech H320 to keep the FX-8350 under control). :)

I really do agree with you when it comes to LCS versus a triple slot cooler though as the LCS will leave more space.
 
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This card is underwhelming compared to my pair of Windforce cards. For one thing that VRM is seriously lacking in the area of output ripple suppressing capacitance so I wasn't that surprised when it only hit 1090mhz. Also I think the Elpida ICs on some of the R9 290(X)s are actually speced at 1500mhz because my do 1650mhz(that's where my HD7970's Elpidas got to) without voltage tweaking which is way beyond what you would expect from 1250mhz Elpida ICs.
BTW about temperature and OCing. 5C° temperature difference can easily make the difference between a stable and unstable OC I know this because my HD7970 and now my R9 290X both display the same phenomenon. If the temperature stays under 80C° I can get 1210mhz on the R9 290X but once it goes over I start getting artefacts and above 85C° the screen is more artefacts than actual image. Also a 10C° difference can lower power consumption by around 4%. That comes from my own testing which I plan to extend into sub zero territory later this year.
 
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Maybe there is a niche of people who had bad experiences with water cooling kits or are aware of issues related to leaking:

- pros of watercooling: more ability to cool (think of the radiator of a car as an example or the one your fridge have)
- cons of watercooling: more parts involved, more maintenance to do and risk of leackage which will maybe, cause an overall failure on the system

On the other hand, the traditional air-cooling:

- cons: it is not as capable of cooling as watercooling
- pros: less parts involved, less maintenance then, if the fan stops, the overheat protections of the chip will -or is expected to- shut down the computer /cause the system to freeze / whatever to protect the component involved from high temperatures (+heat => + voltage needed to apply to the chip => +heat generated at the same activity level of the chip => + heat)

So, what is suitable? I tend to think that for each work there is a tool to do it. I agree with you that if you have the money, probably you will think on water/liquid cooling because you will have to move that excessive amount of heat from the GPUs to elsewhere. On the other hand, they could put an Artic Extreme air cooled solution with its pros/cons or they could put a closed loop.

Summing up, is not directly related to the money you have but the technology you are confident with or the person that you hire to maintain your computer (in this last example, yes, money talks).

Greetings,

Javier
The only extra moving parts in the liquid cooling system is the pump and impeller. The new coolants aren't conductive so no chance of shorting if you spring a leak, which if its done right is almost impossible. If your pump dies there is enough thermal mass in water to protect the components as well as a heatsink, and if the fans die there is enough thermal mass to protect the components as well as a significantly larger heatsink than you could install.

Right now a stock version of the 290X can be had for $569 that also comes with a free hard drive, the cheapest of these with aftermarket cooling is $699. The $130 per card will buy a complete coverage block for $108 each, a good pump and tubing. Your expense is now the cost of a few hours of time, coolant, and whichever radiator you want. Lets say $80 more for two liquid cooled cards than aftermarket cooled.
Noise should be around 35Db with decent fans, temps around 40-45C, and core clocks at 1.2Ghz plus or minus a 100Mhz

I was unaware anyone on these forums paid someone else to maintain their computer. For the most part we are all enthusiasts with little to no fear of the DIY approach to many things.
 
Last edited:

yueh

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The only extra moving parts in the liquid cooling system is the pump and impeller. The new coolants aren't conductive so no chance of shorting if you spring a leak, which if its done right is almost impossible.

Could you send me some links with this new non-conductive fluids, please? Thanks :) ! Also, as far as I've read, there are some inks that people put on the liquid that could cause (I cannot remember the word in English at the moment) "bad" effects on copper or silver. Apart from the eye-candy, I think they are useful to physically see that your pump is doing its work right, as you can see clearly the liquid going through the fins of the block of the CPU / GPU / whatever. What do you think about it? Could you provide more info? Thanks :)

If your pump dies there is enough thermal mass in water to protect the components as well as a heatsink, and if the fans die there is enough thermal mass to protect the components as well as a significantly larger heatsink than you could install.

Hm... water transfers heat better than air, so if you heat one spot of the total water, the heat will tend to spread to the rest of the volume. I think that this is applicable as well to the rest of liquids, but I'm not so sure about it (viscosity maybe plays an important role on this? other properties of the liquid?). If you could provide more info about this, it will be much appreciated :)

Right now a stock version of the 290X can be had for $569 that also comes with a free hard drive, the cheapest of these with aftermarket cooling is $699.

In Spain the reference 290X, i.e, 475€ (today 1$ = 0,74€ => 569$ = 421€ + an hdd you say? wow :D -supposing the taxes for importing won't be high). Windforce is at 509€ (688$) and Sapphire Tri-X 519€ (701$). I don't know what will be the prices in other countries and with other money :( .

The $140 per card will buy a complete coverage block for $108 each, a good pump and tubing. Your expense is now the cost of a few hours of time, coolant, and whichever radiator you want. Lets say $80 more for two liquid cooled cards than aftermarket cooled.
Noise should be around 35Db with decent fans, temps around 40-45C, and core clocks at 1.2Ghz plus or minus a 100Mhz

I was unaware anyone on these forums paid someone else to maintain their computer. For the most part we are all enthusiasts with little to no fear of the DIY approach to many things.

Some months ago I looked over a 240 rad + tubing, etc and it was pretty much expensive (> 200€) (link of overclockers UK), in which you have to add the waterblock (at least +100-120€, that is more or less the premium price EVGA charges you for a non water and a waterblocked high-end GPU -I cannot find any waterblocks around Europe for the R9 290X). If you add the fans like the Schyte, Silverstone Penetrators, Noctuas or the new ones from Corsair (around 15-22€ each), we are talking about a ~400€ price tag to custom watercool your CPU + GPU with a 240 rad (like ~25-50€ more expensive than the price tag of a GTX770 4GB or R9 290 4GB).

I am a lover of the concept DYI, mainly because of the process of tinkering and learning; but maybe people that read the forum hasn't got so much money, or have the time to, etc, and they ask a friend to do it or just buy a boutique Pc (hence pay someone to build it and if you live near to the shop, to maintain it as I think it is the case of some boutique Pc business in USA). Take into account that you'll have to refill the loop (how many people put a service port at its loop?) or just change the entire coolant (maybe every 2 years for a 50hr per week usage?), and there are sometimes that you just don't feel confident to do it (because you don't feel secure playing what you see as a risk on expensive hardware, with the support of a video, tools and a manual). Anyhow, we tend to grow old and have less time to take care about this stuff and tend to follow the KISS principle. If I would have a kid or two kids and I would have to choose between tinkering or playing with them, probably I'll pay an extra for peace of mind. Hence, water or air cooling is more an act of balance between the performance you need and the actual performance you want: I want to play all maxed out with 60 FPS, but maybe I have little time (10hr/week) to play with the Pc, so probably I will be fine with 30-35 FPS or less eye-candy. I want to overclock (just for fun and/or FPS) and have my GPUs cool, so maybe you will be fine (need) with a non K quad-core Intel CPU and a GTX770 /R9 280X (with the trade-offs between nvidia and AMD of price/heat/noise/power consumption at this actual generation). By the way, when studying at the career different methods of cooling the chips, the liquid cooling was used when you are trying to manage high thermal loads (with its pros and cons); and before being told this and after being told, i.e by maintaining my car I could check this.

About noise, it depends on the ratio between the static pressure needed from the radiator to work properly + airflow (then, albeit a silent motor from the fan can cause noise from the turbulence of air passing through the radiator), supposing you pick a quiet pump.
 
Last edited:

charkoth

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I disagree Steevo. I picked up my card for $599 shipped, $30 above reference which is MSRP.

I consider myself an enthusiast but I think Yueh hit on all the right points. I for one don't want to have to deal with all the downsides of water cooling, primary of which is a greater investment in time.

You're also talking about a financial investment that puts these cards well above GTX 780 Ti price range. The Asus Card itself can be further overclocked with which makes the gap between the water cooled R9 290X and the Directcu ii version even smaller.

When I step into 4K gaming it doesn't have to be utilizing a water cooled solution. Two of these cards will be more than adequate to do so and back to the point mentioned: A Tri-X card will limit your options due to the 3-slot design of the card.
 
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Could you send me some links with this new non-conductive fluids, please? Thanks :) ! Also, as far as I've read, there are some inks that people put on the liquid that could cause (I cannot remember the word in English at the moment) "bad" effects on copper or silver. Apart from the eye-candy, I think they are useful to physically see that your pump is doing its work right, as you can see clearly the liquid going through the fins of the block of the CPU / GPU / whatever. What do you think about it? Could you provide more info? Thanks :)



Hm... water transfers heat better than air, so if you heat one spot of the total water, the heat will tend to spread to the rest of the volume. I think that this is applicable as well to the rest of liquids, but I'm not so sure about it (viscosity maybe plays an important role on this? other properties of the liquid?). If you could provide more info about this, it will be much appreciated :)



In Spain the reference 290X, i.e, 475€ (today 1$ = 0,74€ => 569$ = 421€ + an hdd you say? wow :D -supposing the taxes for importing won't be high). Windforce is at 509€ (688$) and Sapphire Tri-X 519€ (701$). I don't know what will be the prices in other countries and with other money :( .



Some months ago I looked over a 240 rad + tubing, etc and it was pretty much expensive (> 200€) (link of overclockers UK), in which you have to add the waterblock (at least +100-120€, that is more or less the premium price EVGA charges you for a non water and a waterblocked high-end GPU -I cannot find any waterblocks around Europe for the R9 290X). If you add the fans like the Schyte, Silverstone Penetrators, Noctuas or the new ones from Corsair (around 15-22€ each), we are talking about a ~400€ price tag to custom watercool your CPU + GPU with a 240 rad (like ~25-50€ more expensive than the price tag of a GTX770 4GB or R9 290 4GB).

I am a lover of the concept DYI, mainly because of the process of tinkering and learning; but maybe people that read the forum hasn't got so much money, or have the time to, etc, and they ask a friend to do it or just buy a boutique Pc (hence pay someone to build it and if you live near to the shop, to maintain it as I think it is the case of some boutique Pc business in USA). Take into account that you'll have to refill the loop (how many people put a service port at its loop?) or just change the entire coolant (maybe every 2 years for a 50hr per week usage?), and there are sometimes that you just don't feel confident to do it (because you don't feel secure playing what you see as a risk on expensive hardware, with the support of a video, tools and a manual). Anyhow, we tend to grow old and have less time to take care about this stuff and tend to follow the KISS principle. If I would have a kid or two kids and I would have to choose between tinkering or playing with them, probably I'll pay an extra for peace of mind. Hence, water or air cooling is more an act of balance between the performance you need and the actual performance you want: I want to play all maxed out with 60 FPS, but maybe I have little time (10hr/week) to play with the Pc, so probably I will be fine with 30-35 FPS or less eye-candy. I want to overclock (just for fun and/or FPS) and have my GPUs cool, so maybe you will be fine (need) with a non K quad-core Intel CPU and a GTX770 /R9 280X (with the trade-offs between nvidia and AMD of price/heat/noise/power consumption at this actual generation). By the way, when studying at the career different methods of cooling the chips, the liquid cooling was used when you are trying to manage high thermal loads (with its pros and cons); and before being told this and after being told, i.e by maintaining my car I could check this.

About noise, it depends on the ratio between the static pressure needed from the radiator to work properly + airflow (then, albeit a silent motor from the fan can cause noise from the turbulence of air passing through the radiator), supposing you pick a quiet pump.


http://www.xoxide.com/primoice-nonconductive-fluid-clear.html

http://www.xoxide.com/xspc-raystorm750rs360watercoolingkit.html kit for $158
 
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Another problem the Tri-X card has is its length, it's over an inch longer than the DirectCU version, I measured my case (HAF XB) and the card wouldn't fit unless I removed the 240mm rad located in the front grill, I can't afford that.

Can anyone confirm the 290x DirectCU II cooler has a plate that cools the ram modules like the 780 version?

I would really appreciate if anyone can clear that doubt :)
 
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This card is underwhelming compared to my pair of Windforce cards. For one thing that VRM is seriously lacking in the area of output ripple suppressing capacitance so I wasn't that surprised when it only hit 1090mhz. Also I think the Elpida ICs on some of the R9 290(X)s are actually speced at 1500mhz because my do 1650mhz(that's where my HD7970's Elpidas got to) without voltage tweaking which is way beyond what you would expect from 1250mhz Elpida ICs.
BTW about temperature and OCing. 5C° temperature difference can easily make the difference between a stable and unstable OC I know this because my HD7970 and now my R9 290X both display the same phenomenon. If the temperature stays under 80C° I can get 1210mhz on the R9 290X but once it goes over I start getting artefacts and above 85C° the screen is more artefacts than actual image. Also a 10C° difference can lower power consumption by around 4%. That comes from my own testing which I plan to extend into sub zero territory later this year.

Other websites found higher overclocks:

We found a small tweak that will bring your boost frequency towards almost 1175 MHz stable. We applied:

  • Power Target 150%
  • GPU clock 1175 MHz
  • Memory clock 1546 MHz (x4)
  • Voltage +100 Mv
  • Fan control RPM @ 50%

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/asus_radeon_r9_290x_directcuii_oc_review,28.html

For the ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC we managed to overclock the video card to 1115MHz with a 1.35v setting and 5.67GHz memory. Remember, the video card is already overclocked at 1050MHz versus 1000MHz on a reference card.

The reference cooler and reference cards are notorious for throttling performance. We experience no throttling what-so-ever on the ASUS R9 290X DC2 OC video card while overclocking. This means we saw a consistent 1115MHz clock speed in every game.

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2014...ctcu_ii_oc_overclocking_review/7#.UuH44hDTmUk

As you can see above, even with a few minor modifications to the core voltage and Power Limit, the core easily hit nearly 1.2GHz while the memory evened out at 6016MHz. Both of these represent vast improvements over what was achievable with the reference card. The best part about this is there’s even more room there since fan speeds were at 60% (which was still surprisingly quiet). And yes, there's still more in the tank.

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...94-asus-r9-290x-directcu-ii-oc-review-11.html

Every card is different, it seems other people had better luck extracting more juice from this card, this time W1zzard didn't win the silicon lottery apparently...
 
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