XFX Radeon R9 280X Black Edition Video Card Review


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XFX R9 280X TBDB Temperatures

We’re at the start of a transition: for years the PC industry has produced faster and more powerful CPUs and GPUs, which always came with ever-higher power draws. But as the industry moves to smaller and smaller fabrication processes, we’re seeing power draws drop, and clever designs save even more power. Users benefit from GPUs that disable large portions of their circuitry when idle, leading to dramatically lower power draws and very cool idle temperatures. At the other end of the scale, reduced power at the higher end means smaller coolers, quieter fans, and less heat to worry about dissipating.


At the start of this test, I measure the idle temperature of the card with the card sitting at the Windows desktop, using the GPU-Z utility. Next, I start FurMark’s stress test and let it run until the temperature curve flattens and the temperature has not varied more than 1 degree in the last five minutes.

FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. FurMark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.

The Double Dissipation cooling technology does a very good job at keeping this R9 280X cool under pressure.

Ambient Temperature 20C
XFX R7790 Idle Temperature 29C
XFX R7790 Load Temperature 69C

VGA Power Consumption

The new generation of video cards– AMD’s Southern Islands and NVIDIA’s Kepler— are certainly fast, but their new power saving features are almost as impressive. The move to a smaller process has helped, but both products benefit from a variety of power-saving techniques, including aggressively underclocking and undervolting themselves in low demand scenarios, as well as turning off unused portions of the card. Both companies also use other, proprietary methods to keep power usage low.

To measure isolated video card power consumption, Benchmark Reviews uses the Kill-A-Watt EZ (model P4460) power meter made by P3 International. A baseline test is taken without a video card installed inside our test computer system, which is allowed to boot into Windows 7 and rest idle at the login screen before power consumption is recorded. Once the baseline reading has been taken, the graphics card is installed and the system is again booted into Windows and left idle at the login screen. Another power reading is taken when the display sleeps, and then I measure the power under a heavy gaming load. Our final loaded power consumption reading is taken with the video card running a stress test using FurMark.

Below is a chart with the system totals displayed in watts for each specified test product:

Situation Power
Windows login, no video card 52 watts
Windows login, video card 69 watts
Windows desktop 71 watts
Windows desktop, display sleep 62 watts
Gaming load 158 watts
FurMark load 212 watts

The XFX R9 280X falls right in line with what we would expect to see from a high-end graphics card. In fact, the numbers are very close to what we saw from the GTX 760 and the Radeon HD 7970. No surprise there, considering the R9 280X is practically the same card. In all likelihood, you’ll never hit anywhere near 200W with the XFX R9 280X TDBD under any practical circumstances.


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