Just Delivered: MSI Radeon R9 290X Lightning

March 18, 2014 - 03:58 PM |
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While Ryan may be en route to the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco right now, work must go on at the PC Perspective office. As it happens my arrival at the office today was greeted by a massively exciting graphics card, the MSI Radeon R9 290X Lightning.

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While we first got our hands on a prerelease version of this card at CES earlier this year, we can now put the Lightning edition through its paces.

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To go along with this massive graphics card comes a massive box. Just like the GTX 780 Lightning, MSI paid extra detail to the packaging to create a more premium-feeling experience than your standard reference design card.

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Comparing the 290X Lightning to the AMD reference design, it is clear how much engineering went into this card - the heatpipe and fins alone are as thick as the entire reference card. This, combined with a redesigned PCB and improved power management should ensure that you never fall victim to the GPU clock variance issues of the reference design cards, and give you one of the best overclocking experiences possible from the Hawaii GPU.

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While I haven't had a chance to start benchmarking yet, I put it on the testbed and figured I would give a little preview of what you can expect from this card out of the box.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the MSI Radeon R9 290X Lightning and our full review, coming soon on PC Perspective!

Source: MSI
March 18, 2014 | 06:37 PM - Posted by Mike P. (not verified)

Should be an interesting review.

Quick question. I noticed in the screen shot the PCI-E interface is x16 capable but you're running at x8.

Is that something you'll fix before testing or is x8 more than enough bandwidth for the card?

Thanks!

March 18, 2014 | 08:34 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Ehhh, that's likely a bug in GPUZ.  I'll double check before doing any testing.  It could have also been that Ken took the screenshot before driver installation completed.

March 18, 2014 | 09:57 PM - Posted by mjaybird (not verified)

Wonder what normal people has a case to fit a card that big.

March 19, 2014 | 11:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Most cases can fit that, unless you rock a Dell or HP case.
I got a Fractal Core 1000, and it would fit.

March 18, 2014 | 11:14 PM - Posted by Mark Burgerwolf (not verified)

I am beyond excited for this graphics card.
Would love to see how it compares to the GTX 780 lightning.

March 19, 2014 | 11:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How GPUs stack: Titan Black>780TI>290x>780>290

March 19, 2014 | 03:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wait a second, two eight pins and one six pin power connector?

March 19, 2014 | 06:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The six pin is optional, but I imagine it could be useful when overclocking under water or subzero.

March 19, 2014 | 12:51 PM - Posted by Crazycanukk

and in the winter it can be used to heat a average sized family home :) ...

I would love to give AMD cards another try..i used them for quite a few years and loved them.. My GTX 780 works great for both...but I really want AMD to start giving Nvidia and Intel at least a bit of a run for their money when it comes to power usage and heat production on their gpus and Cpu's. If Amd cpus and GPU's had their current level of performance but with comparable power requirements and heat production...i think Nvidia and Intel would be fighting a whole lot harder for their positions.

March 19, 2014 | 07:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Another good card to look at is the Asus Nvidia GTX780 Ti Matrix Platinum is runs even faster and runs at good temperatures

April 3, 2014 | 04:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm seriously considering giving MSI 'lightning' a second chance, with their 290x this time. Used to own a 780 lightning. Sent it back after few days as i'm not happy with the performance, no better than reference 780 card when it comes to overclocking, regardless if stock or LN2 bios...or 3rd party BIOS (300% PT). Build quality is hands down awesome though and fans are generally quiet (only the yellow fan in the middle is too noisy).

I'm seeing 290x lightning around 700 range, so it probably worth a shot.

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