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Hawaii 290X/P Overclocking Guide

Mar 20, 2014
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Following up from a thread that was posted by another member, that got met with criticism due to naming terminology of all things(very mature from a moderator in all honesty).

I'm posting it on his behalf for the benefit of others, this time without the unnecessary knit picking and insults from everyone.

This way users can reply. I'd advise mods to not lock this thread, I do not condone the behaviour in the original thread, however he has achieved some of the highest clocks seen on Hawaii. It's short sighted to lock information threads based on squabbles.

Many thanks,

Information and guide written by user Rangerjr1


I see a lot of people who have issues regarding throttling, clocking and OC software in general so ive decided to write a guide.

This is all based on my experience with 2 290Xs and 1 290P (Reference cards). Cant guarantee it'll match your own experiences, it has worked with all 3 cards of mine so far. And it should give you an idea on how to do things with these cards.

What programs to use:

Just stay clear of MSIAB, 2d/3d profiles doesnt work properly, max of 100mV+ overvolts, card sync doesnt work either. Its riddled with issues. And dont ever enable overdrive in the driver settings.

For mild benching and everyday use i suggest Sapphire Trixx, it has custom fan profiles, 200mV+ overvolting, working card sync. Everything you need for daily use.

For all in benching you have no choice but to use modded GPU Tweak that allows for volts up to 2V, you'll also need to flash your bios, i suggest the PT1 bios for the 290X and PT1T for the 290P. Ill link other relevant guides and download links for bioses and GPU Tweak on the bottom.

Max volts i would use under water for benching with GPU Tweak is 1.55v, it'll drop to 1.47-1.5v or so depending on the card. For air you should just use Trixx and go all in 200mV, wont kill your card for quick runs, just make sure your fan is running 100% and that you open your sidepanel so it can breathe properly.


These cards was a real pain in the ass to begin with, but now that ive experimented with them ive found that these cards have goldilock zones. Ratios, core/RAM ratio. Until you find this you're probably not going to be able to push your card. The harder you push them the more you need to know this ratio, ive had my cards crash on lower clocks and higher volts because i wasnt within the ratio it liked. Keep in mind this is only when you're really pushing your card.

So for example:

My 290P likes a core/RAM ratio of 1.27, which is 1335/1700 (Elpida RAM) at my highest bench clocks. Lowering clocks so you're not pushing it as much should remove the need to stay within this ratio. My 290Xs fav ratio is 1.32, 1345/1775 (Hynix RAM) clocks. 1345/1700 would not work on my 290x while 1345/1775 would, its weird but its how it works apparently.

If your core gets unstable your screen will freeze/go black, and the driver will most likely reset and put you back on desktop. Unlike RAM which give you no mercy and will freeze your PC immediately. There's some luck involved though, some times clocks will run a bench or 2, some times it wont. Some trial and error.

And for those who dont know, the RAM scales linearly with core voltage, once you hit the max you RAM will do on stock volts try increasing the core voltage by 50mV or so, you'll see that the RAM can now clock higher (Which is why i was able to get 1700 on my Elpida card, a combination of knowing the ratio and running 1.55v)

These cards are tough, dont be afraid to push them. But make sure you've got cooling that reflects the clocks you want.

Throttling: This isnt even an issue, the card throttles because your card is following your commands by lowering its voltage in order to stay cool enough so the fan wont have to increase its RPM. If you let the fan speed increase the throttling is gone. Put your max temps to 85-90 or so, and let the fan run wild. i GUARANTEE YOU the card will not throttle. Unless there's some other underlying problem.

Black screens: Your card doesnt actually crash, its still running. Still rendering. Which means if you're running xfire just use the card that doesnt blackscreen as the main card, the other will still render your stuff. Reducing the refresh rate of your monitor should give you more headroom with overvolting before blackscreening (Blackscreening has always been caused by overvolting on my cards). You might have to replug the DVI though if your screen goes black. If you manage to reset the clocks and voltage it should be back to normal without having to restart.

For benching the 14.1 drivers arent too bad actually, so try that out. (MSI ABs power limit does not work with these drivers so use Trixx, you should always use Trixx)


If anything doesnt make sense, or you've got some input then please tell me.

Flashing guide: http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/sho...php?t=18552408
PT1 Bios: http://kingpincooling.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2473
Modded GPU Tweak: http://www.mediafire.com/download/vo...yInfo+1005.rar
Nov 7, 2013
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Hi Silent Scone - great info for newcomers in this reproduced post.

Good to see you don't condone the behaviour of the original OP - some of the comments seemed just plain aggressive and very rude. At the end of the day the nomenclature of Radeon GPU's is set by the manufacturer and not niche groups. The moderator was clearly responding to aggressive behaviour from the OP.

It's great we have this forum to teach others about our passion.

I've enjoyed reading forum posts thus far however, cranky people just set the wrong tone for everyone concerned :banghead:.

Thanks for collating this information and I wish you a great weekend.:pimp:

Yggdrasil Sleipnir

New Member
Apr 11, 2014
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I hope that someone here will have the expertise to deal with this, as i am having a hard time finding the exact issue here. I hope that you guys don't mind that i ask this here as i realize that it may not be the correct place to ask, but you seem to have a better handle on this than i do.

I am having an issue with the Sapphire 4gb 290x battlefield edition card. Or rather, ever since i installed it along with a proper psu for it the same day, i have been having issues.
My local pc shop says my psu is fine. Its a seasonic M12II 850w bronze.
The video card works fine for the most part... except for when my pc crashes and auto shuts down out of no where. It shouldn't be a heating issue for the video card, as it should not have gotten above 70 degree's while doing/playing whatever when it happens. I monitored it a few times and watched the temps closely and the few times i could get a proper reading before the crash happened, i was well below 60 degree's so my theory on the video card not overheating should be correct.
When i restart the computer, my asus motherboard tells me that there was a surge detected during power on. I always attribute this crash to this message, because it always shows up when my pc crashes like this.... even before i upgraded it.
The Cpu is an Athlon X2 @ 3.2/3.4? ghz ( I can't remember of the top of my head.) It is an older cpu, but it served me fairly well till now. I think most of my problems are stemming from it.... or maybe even my motherboard. But my suspicions are with the cpu.
The motherboard is a M5A78L-m lx v.1 (Not plus or v.2)
Mobo ram is crucial 1333mhz at 4gb each for two sticks. Timings are at 9~
On my old setup, with this same mobo and cpu/ram i used to underclock my cpu and video card a slight bit, and that would fix it almost 100%. However, now i cannot even do that reliably. However again, when i let my cpu sit at stock speeds, it crashes pretty quickly and easily. This makes me wonder if my cpu is the culprit altogether, as i can leave my video card speeds and voltages alone while doing this, and it seems the only thing to affect the crashes are the cpu. HOWEVER, and i know i say that a lot, when ever i do happen to get a bluescreen, which is rare, it says the videocard's memory is at fault. It is Hynix ram, and as far as i have researched, the Hynix equipped models are the more sturdy/stable ones.

So to reiterate and specify details. The pc crashes out of no where. The CPU HAS to be underclocked to reduce this event, but not get rid of it completely. It has done this since i moved to my new house. However, it does it at other buildings as well. So it shouldn't be a wall socket issue. Tested the sockets to be sure as well. As far as i can tell, they are fine. I would like to point out as well, that while running my old setup before upgrading my video card and PSU, i ran this pc nearly 24/7/365 with odd moments here and there where it would shut down due to the crashing issue stated before, but it was never as bad as it is now.

The Video card, does not seem to be over heating, but it is doing a few things i have noticed that may help point out the issue. First of all, while using Gpu-z i noticed that my bus lane, which should be reading pci-e 2.0x16 running at x16 2.0 is reading pci-e 3.0x16 running at x1 1.1 with odd moments under load where it goes to x1 2.0. Secondly, while i have managed to get a crackling sound with choppy/slow video on streaming videos to go away for the most part so far, from switching drivers to a newer version... found on sapphiretech.com, the video ram still likes to crash like its overheating, but as explained before, it shouldn't be overheating.

My ram... onboard ram that is, seems to be fine. I don't believe it is the issue. But i will be getting new sticks for just incase after upgrading my motherboard.

I have a new cpu to stick into the pc, but alas, i did not realize that my motherboard only supports up to the FX 8300 cpu. It is just short of being able to support the FX 8350 which i bought a year ago.

I have tried doing a vanilla windows 7 install on a brand new harddrive as well. It crashes a bit less now, so maybe that was part of the problem.... but it still crashes, so its not the root of the issue.

Finally. one last odd issue, may not have anything to do with the above issues, but while i am at it. Skyrim shows my video card as a 8800 gtx/s. It obviously is not an 8800 gtx/s. I have never had one in this system, and there should not be anything nvidia in my motherboard that i know of.

I hope someone can help me with this. I am sorry if i am not specific enough. If you need anything answered just ask and i will try my best. Thank you in advance to anyone who helps.
Feb 21, 2009
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Video Card(s) 2 x (Sapphire) AMD Radeon HD7970 [Ref] -(crossfire) [out via DVI-D]
Storage 4 x WDC WD1002FAEX
Display(s) Dell U3011 @ 2560x1600 [in via DVI-D]
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[...] Skyrim shows my video card as a 8800 gtx/s. It obviously is not an 8800 gtx/s. I have never had one in this system, and there should not be anything nvidia in my motherboard that i know of.

That game is no reference, it just reads from a small database file, with cards that existed when the game was made. It does not recognize your card, it did not exist when the game was made, so it picks one randomly from its list.

Your motherboard, does it have BIOS M5A78L-M LX BIOS 1603? http://support.asus.com/download.aspx?SLanguage=en&m=M5A78L-M LX&os=30

If i were you i'd upgrade to a newer motherboard. Which also would allow you to finally use the the FX 8350 which you bought a year ago.

EDIT to add: but you really should start a new thread with your specific problem instead of hitch-hiking in this "Hawaii 290X/P Overclocking Guide" thread.
Last edited:


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Benchmark Scores lol let's play!