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Got used R9 290, so now what?

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#1
First some background, had gtx960, hd7970, then rx470 (died), for last year rx560 4gb while waiting for vega 56 price to come down. I got tired of waiting, as here in Sweden they still cost roughly 550€, up untill a month ago 600+, so I bought used ref. Gigabyte R9 290, thinking it can stay up till Navi or whatever comes in next 2-3 years.

First cleaned it and changed thermal paste (NT-H1), tried undervolting with Afterburner, managed -50mV, was not pleased, then tried using wattman. For now got it from 1265mV down to 1090mV, stock clock 947MHz, tested with some games I have installed and occt+heaven, so far so good. Will try lower it further. As I can't change fan curve in wattman, I use afterburner to put a tiny bit more aggressive curve.

Next I have checked with MemoryInfo and CUInfo and it turns out I could unlock it to 290X, and that brings me to my question.

So what I wanted to ask is what is my best option, should I flash 290X bios and invest in aftermarket cooler, and overclock it. If so, options are:

Kraken G12 with 120/240 water cooler (has fan but no heatsinks on VRAM, VRM, but GPU sits low near intake fans full card length)

Arctic Accelero xtreme 4 (3-fan big air cooled heatsink for GPU, no heatsinks on VRAM, VRM, but has some big heatsink on the back of the GPU, possible incompatibility with my CPU cooler)

Arctic Accelero xtreme 3 (3-fan big air cooled heatsink for GPU, heatsinks for everything on board)

Raijintek Morpheus 2 (heatsinks for everything on board, but needs 2 fans, but that brings card to almost 4 slot thick)

Leave it as is, undervolted 290 bios, save money for next GPU.

So far, I'm leaning towards xtreme 3 (has heatsinks and cheapest at around 65€ with delivery). Would like to hear your opinions, thanks in advance and sorry for this wall of text.
Screenshot (22).png
 
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#2
I can't get behind buying a card and them spending a whole lot of time, money and effort modding it so that it performs almost as good as an AIB card of the same series.. I can not recommend ever buying a reference card from either nVidia or AMD but especially the latter. I'd sell the card and buy an AIB version of something that generates less heat. When done, assuming all is successful, your card will be about 90% as fast as your 470.

So Id leave as is and keep saving ... once the 2060s drop, we should see a significant prce drop on all 1xxx and 5xx cards
 
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#4
sell it and buy a GTX970 or 980. they should be pretty cheap by now.

those cards run cool and quiet so you'll save a lot more money in the long run without having to buy extras and faff around with it
 
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#5
Don't sell it for a 970...that's just dumb unless you hate AMD, or require something that is less power hungry and runs cooler...pretty sure even a 290 non-X is significantly better than a 970 these days.
 
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#6
sell it and buy a GTX970 or 980. they should be pretty cheap by now.

those cards run cool and quiet so you'll save a lot more money in the long run without having to buy extras and faff around with it
970 isn't worth it, he should just get the prievosly mentioned cooler and undervolt/OC
pretty sure even a 290 non-X is significantly better than a 970 these days.
970 is faster, but not by too much. 290X should be on par, and 390x is faster than all
 
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#7
That video is from 2016...driver improvements have put the 290x way ahead of the 970...check more recent benchmark numbers.
 

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#8
This if you have to change the cooler, AC have been shit for the most part for some years now as they cheap out totally on the heat sinks that attach to the card. At least with the Galid it looks like the VRM heat sink screws on.

Remember their are 2 separate locations were the VRM's are at.

Paying $60+ on a cooler is a bad idea when you could get a better card with a good cooler.
 
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#9
What is the card's default cooler? Some 290 don't need cooler change like Sapphire Tri-X for example.
 
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#10
Even used market here is very pricey, got this for 99€ delivered, all of these you guys have mentioned are 150€ or more. I can add that I am fine with AMD as I have Freesync 144Hz monitor.
 
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#11
That video is from 2016...driver improvements have put the 290x way ahead of the 970...check more recent benchmark numbers.
Fixed with a video from 2017 (most recent I could find) and yeah you're right
 
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#12
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#13
I was checking only those available here, didn't see this one, but I can find it on ebay uk.


it's reference cooler.
Also check out the Morpheus 2

TDLR: Just find a stable undervolt, and try to OC from there, enable DX12 in games that support it, and get an Aftermarket cooler+ new paste
 
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#14
Oh well, reference cooler can ruin your eardrums. AC3 has amazing cooling capabilities hindered by the lack of good VRM sinks as they won't stick, no matter what you try short of thermal epoxy, Gelid cools slightly worse but at least the VRM sink will stay on.
 
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#15
Sell it and buy used mining RX 580 or 1060 6GB or 1070
 
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#16
Oh well, reference cooler can ruin your eardrums. AC3 has amazing cooling capabilities hindered by the lack of good VRM sinks as they won't stick, no matter what you try short of thermal epoxy, Gelid cools slightly worse but at least the VRM sink will stay on.
It's almost as loud as my ps4pro haha. Is there any thermal pad you can recommend that I could use instead of AC one to keep them on the card?

Sell it and buy used mining RX 580 or 1060 6GB or 1070
I don't live in USofA. Here miners ask retail price for their cards, it is crazy.
 
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#17
Thermal pads won't help, since the sinks don't have bolts and nuts to be fastened, unlike the Gelid one. The supplied thermal tapes will not stick at all due to the oily residue the stock cooler pads leave on the components. Even if you clean it throughout it's not a long term solution since you don't know when they will fall and overheat the VRM chips. I had to import from China (google taobao ac3 290 first result) a custom AC3 compatible baseplate (securely fastened with screws) to make sure no components on board overheat.
 

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#18
Before converting a 290 to a 290X, MAKE 100% Sure you have a backup plan that means a spare graphics card. It also means backing up the stock bios. Follow my directions in my signature too for ATI/AMD

You can always download the tool here and flash in Windows.
https://www.techpowerup.com/download/ati-atiflash/


The cooler for that card is the same as a 290X models from the same maker, so should be able to handle the heat.

If you want to bios flash please get a gpu-z screen shot and even a screenshot of the memory page, even take a picture of the ram on the card and also the text info off of 1 of the ram chips and white sticker info and post it all here that will help tailor the 290X bios based on ram brand and timings.


My card can't unlock shaders but I can overclock it to same as a 290X VaporX.

There is another page but I won't share it as it has alot to do with hex editing to make your card a 390. I presume this is a 4GB model?
 
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#19
Before converting a 290 to a 290X, MAKE 100% Sure you have a backup plan that means a spare graphics card. It also means backing up the stock bios. Follow my directions in my signature too for ATI/AMD

You can always download the tool here and flash in Windows.
https://www.techpowerup.com/download/ati-atiflash/


The cooler for that card is the same as a 290X models from the same maker, so should be able to handle the heat.

If you want to bios flash please get a gpu-z screen shot and even a screenshot of the memory page, even take a picture of the ram on the card and also the text info off of 1 of the ram chips and white sticker info and post it all here that will help tailor the 290X bios based on ram brand and timings.


My card can't unlock shaders but I can overclock it to same as a 290X VaporX.

There is another page but I won't share it as it has alot to do with hex editing to make your card a 390. I presume this is a 4GB model?
Actually, have been succesfully flashing my 7970, making it a better overclocker. It is 4GB, it has bios switch, both of which are same according to gpu-z. Seeing that it can be unlocked is what made me post here. I will see to give you the info you need, after I put my boy to sleep.

So basically if I was to cut baseplate that is on the card right now it wolud be the same result? Wouldn't want to ruin it, though.
Thermal pads won't help, since the sinks don't have bolts and nuts to be fastened, unlike the Gelid one. The supplied thermal tapes will not stick at all due to the oily residue the stock cooler pads leave on the components. Even if you clean it throughout it's not a long term solution since you don't know when they will fall and overheat the VRM chips. I had to import from China (google taobao ac3 290 first result) a custom AC3 compatible baseplate (securely fastened with screws) to make sure no components on board overheat.
 
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#20
Cutting the baseplate is exactly what some people did when 290/x were released, only problem is the complexity and irreversibly damaging the stock cooler.
 
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#21
I would backup your bios , flash an appropriate 290X bios and have a go at undervolting that with the stock cooler, no point getting crazy until you know it works and you can flash it back anyway
I would make do personally , with it's cooler and save that £60 for the next card.
It's a old card to be spending another £60 on.
 
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#22
If you want to bios flash please get a gpu-z screen shot and even a screenshot of the memory page, even take a picture of the ram on the card and also the text info off of 1 of the ram chips and white sticker info and post it all here that will help tailor the 290X bios based on ram brand and timings.
here are some photos from when I cleaned it, hope it's clear enough. I knew if etching near gpu is 2000 it should unlock, 2020 should not.

IMG_20180928_204331.jpg IMG_20180928_210619.jpg IMG_20180928_211437.jpg IMG_20180928_211527.jpg Screenshot (23).png Screenshot (24).png
 

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#23
Those ram chips are dirty as hell.
 
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#24
Reuse the stock VRM/memory heatsink with new thermal pads. Then go with the AX4. That's what I would do. Same setup with the Morpheus II would be my 2nd choice. Same setup with the AX3 if it was the only option available. For replacement thermal pads I recommend Fujipoly Ultra Extreme/Sarcon XR-m. They're the best money can buy. Spendy as hell though.
 
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#25
i think you should go with the Arctic Accelero xtreme 3 then overclock that card as far as you can go. it sounds like you have a pretty good card given the fact you can bring the voltages down so far. with that cooler and a little more juice you can push that card to an acceptable performance level.
 
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