Another Custom Hawaii: MSI R9 290 & 290X GAMING 4G

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 24, 2013 - 04:15 AM |
Tagged: R9 290X, r9 290, msi

MSI just announced their two customized Hawaii GPUs. One of the two new boards will be based on the R9 290 and the other based on the R9 290X. The design is based around the Twin Frozr IV Advanced two-fan model found on previous cards.

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The specifications of the 290X version include three different modes: OC, Gaming and Silent.  The Silent mode will run at 1000 MHz which is the same clock speed as the reference models were set at.  In Gaming mode the card will run at 1030 MHz and in OC mode it will clock at 1040 MHz.  Obviously there will be some slight noise level variances between them but I am pretty sure that the difference between Gaming and OC mode is going to be negligible.  

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The R9 290 version has the same three settings, but the clock speeds are 947 MHz, 977 MHz and 1007 MHz respectively.  

As a final note: MSI's press release claims, "Available Now". It does not appear to be available on either Amazon or Newegg but NCIX claims that it is estimated to arrive February 26th, 2014 for $700. I seriously hope that there are a few typoes... maybe they meant December 26? Maybe they meant not a more-than-$100 premium?

It is, unfortunately, still a wait and see game with these custom AIBs.

Source: MSI
December 24, 2013 | 07:58 AM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

I don't think that clock speed is a problem here. The chip is fast, really fast. OC is not really necessary for gaming. Haven't anyone bought a gaming card from $150 and up and never really OC it? I mean OC it and left it there for 24/7, not OC it, post benchmarks and then turned to defaults for everyday use. We all do that, but how many keep a graphics card OC 24/7 if the card is fast enough?

On the other side they will sell single, maybe double digit cards with a pricetag of $700. With ASUS at $550 if I am not mistaken and 780Ti at $700, this is by far the worst choice. Mantle is not here yet to make it(?) a better bet than 780Ti.

December 24, 2013 | 10:21 AM - Posted by tabuburn (not verified)

I do. I keep my cards OCed a little below the settings I use for benchmarking to be sure they will be stable 24/7. Currently they are set to +130 GPU Clock and +150 VRAM Clock.

December 24, 2013 | 12:07 PM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

I only overclock when the card is not fast enough. Even then I consider selling it and moving to the next option. Usually a +10-15% is good but not good enough. If a card is slow for what you want to do with it, a +10-15% is not going to make it fast. If the card can hit more than 20-25% extra, then OC is starting to become more meaningful for gaming.
Off course when benchmarking even a 1% can make a difference.

December 24, 2013 | 02:10 PM - Posted by tabuburn (not verified)

A 10-15% increase in performance is quite useful especially on the minimum frame rates where it really matters. It's the difference between a smooth 30 fps from a terrible 27 fps or a high graphical setting from a medium one.

Buying a better one is not applicable when you currently have the best and anything better won't be around for a while. Multi-GPU does not always even apply since most games don't like more than 2.

December 24, 2013 | 03:06 PM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

We can't talk about smooth 30fps and terrible 27fps. It's only 3fps. At 27fps picture in not going to start tap dancing.
As for the better than the best, we have SLi and CF for that.

December 24, 2013 | 03:09 PM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

Didn't read your last line carefully. SLI and CF work just fine in most games today. Especially SLI was performing really well in PCPerceptive's tests and the new Hawaii chips seems to do a nice job too.

December 24, 2013 | 11:29 PM - Posted by tabuburn (not verified)

The difference between 27 and 30 fps quite noticeable especially when you pan around. As for SLI and CF, I said any more than 2-way won't really gain any benefit. A lot of games don't play well with 3-way and 4-way.

December 25, 2013 | 04:01 AM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

Someone who needs 3 or more cards for SLI or CF is not going to be saved with 3fps.

December 25, 2013 | 11:43 AM - Posted by tabuburn (not verified)

I never said anything like that. I said there is almost no benefit going with 3 or more cards so overclocking allows you to eke out as much as you can from the hardware you have. A few fps gains actually helps on what graphical settings or resolutions you can handle.

And like I said before, the minimum frame rates are what matter since they are the most noticeable. Overclocking can actually give you just enough of a boost as to not ruin the gameplay experience when frame rates drop to their minimums.

December 26, 2013 | 05:17 AM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

Look, we are talking about a new hi end card here that can play almost anything. We are not talking about a 560ti/HD7790 for example, that you push it as much as you can to gain a little more power.
Yes, OK, 30 is better than 27 and 120 is better than 100. But moving from 100 to 120 is pointless, and when you are at 27 and you OC to reach 30 you are already in the path of upgrading. And that is a fact even if we are talking about minimum frames. If 27 is just too little, while 30 is good enough it is definitely the time to upgrade, if not now, maybe a month latter.

December 27, 2013 | 07:49 PM - Posted by StewartGraham (not verified)

Three cards in SLI or XFire normally scale quite well in many games, the fourth card is where diminishing returns are seen greatest.

December 24, 2013 | 03:08 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Oh derp. Ryan noticed I didn't look at the R9 290X's clock speeds. Late night blunder. Thankfully, he fixed it.

December 24, 2013 | 04:08 PM - Posted by IRQ6

Always apply a 24/7 stable OC to my CPU/GPU. And by 24/7 stable I mean 1Mhz higher and both the CPU/GPU would crash.

Yeah the gains are marginal at best. But I have absolutely zero issues with running my hardware at a stable OC. Half the fun is in tweaking them.

Set it and forget it.

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