XFX Radeon R9 290 DD Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, be advised that every author perceives these factors differently. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer revisions that occur after publication which could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on this conclusion, as it represents our rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
My ratings begin with performance, where the $499 XFX Radeon R9 290 DD Black Edition graphics card competes against NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 780 series in terms of price. In DirectX 11 tests the Radeon R9 290 typically matched performance with GeForce GTX 780, and only occasionally surpassing it on certain benchmark tests. Ultra-demanding DX11 games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum produced 112 FPS with Radeon R9 290, which was outperformed by GTX 780 that generated 118 FPS. Battlefield 3 tests gave the Radeon R9 290 a slight lead over GTX 780 when Ultra quality settings were used. Lost Planet 2 played well on all graphics cards when set to high quality with 4x AA, but was a test anomaly that forced the Radeon R9 290 to really trail behind GTX 780. In Aliens vs Predator the performance was more competitive, with R9 290 well ahead by 8 FPS over GTX 780. Metro 2033 is another demanding game that requires high-end graphics to enjoy high quality visual settings, producing a 3 FPS lead for Radeon R9 290 over GeForce GTX 780.
Synthetic benchmark tools offer an unbiased read on graphics products, allowing video card manufacturers to display their performance without special game optimizations or driver influence. Futuremark’s 3DMark11 benchmark suite strained our high-end graphics cards with only mid-level settings displayed at 720p, allowing the Radeon R9 290 to build a slight lead over the GeForce GTX 780 in three out of four tests. Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark tests used maximum settings that tend to crush most products, yet the XFX Radeon R9 290 still surpassed GeForce GTX 780 by 2 FPS at 1920×1080 and 4 FPS at 2560×1600.
Appearance is a much more subjective matter, especially since this particular rating doesn’t have any quantitative benchmark scores to fall back on. AMD’s Radeon HD series has traditionally used the same recognizable ‘black and red brick’ design over the past few years, which tends to dull consumer appeal. XFX breathes new life into this aging look with their Double Density twin-fan cooler and glowing XFX logo at the end of the fan shroud. Unfortunately this modified design exhausts much of the heated air back inside the computer case, which might possibly increase operating temperatures on less-ventilated enclosures. Fashionably good looks could earn points with some consumers, but it’s the card’s low noise output and modest operating temperatures that should leave the biggest impression.
Thanks to extremely quiet operation of the XFX Dual Dissipation fansink, the Radeon R9 290 operates at a stable temperature under full load. The card requires a 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-E power connection to operate, which are available on most all 750W+ power supply units. Additionally, consumers have a top-end single-GPU solution capable of driving three monitors with AMD HD3D support using the two DL-DVI ports with supplementary DisplayPort outputs.
Nobody likes to RMA their video card because it usually means going without use of the computer, which is why construction is so important. According to XFX marketing representatives, any new R-Series graphics cards with Double Dissipation receive a lifetime warranty if the owner registers their card with XFX within 30 days of purchase. Should the XFX Radeon R9 290 DD Black Edition graphics card fail during the warranty period, technical support is available by registering your product at xfxsupport.com.
As of February 2014, the XFX Radeon R9 290 DD (model R9-290A-EDFD) is available online for $559.99 (Amazon | Newegg). This price is roughly $40 higher than the least-expensive GeForce GTX 780 models, which was outperformed on most benchmark tests. A lifetime product warranty ensures that their money doesn’t go to waste if something breaks.
Summary: the XFX Radeon R9 290 DD graphics card relies on the Double Dissipation fansink to keep cool and quiet under full load, which is something you won’t get from the AMD-designed R9 290. This makes the XFX R9 290 DD ideal for standalone desktop installations and high-detail gaming. Multi-card CrossFire sets no longer require an interconnect bridge, and so long as the enclosure is large enough to fit two dual-slot cards and offers above-average case ventilation there will be room for upgrade opportunities. For the money, you’re getting a very competitive video card that runs quietly and still has room for additional overclocking performance.
+ Tends to outperform GeForce GTX 780
+ DirectX 11.2 ready graphics solution
+ Supports CrossFire and CrossFireX
+ Triple-display and AMD HD3D support
+ XFX Double Dissipation system keeps GPU very cool
+ Relatively low audible noise under full load
+ 4GB GDDR5 video RAM buffer
+ UltraHD 4K display support
+ Lifetime product warranty
– Some heated exhaust is circulated back into enclosure
– Relatively high power consumption
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: How much are you willing to spend on a graphics card?