XFX Radeon R9 290 DD Overview
The XFX Radeon R9 290 Black Edition Double Dissipation graphics card, model R9-290A-EDFD, sells online for $559.99 (Amazon | Newegg). The kit includes various documentation, driver installation DVD, a 6-pin to 4-pin power cable, and an 8-pin to 6-pin power cable. AMD has replaced the external CrossFire interconnect with PCI-Express based CrossFire/CrossFireX managed by Catalyst software on modern motherboards.
The first thing you’ll notice about this card is the dual-fan “Double Dissipation” cooler. The fansink is quite elaborate: XFX replaces the stock AMD vapor chamber cooler with a “HydroCell” vapor chamber of their own design. They then apply two Duratec IP-5X dust-free fans whose design prevents dust from ever reaching the fan bearings, and surrounds the whole assembly with an aluminum “Ghost 2 Thermal Technology” shroud whose design is said to improve cooling by directing air out the sides and bottom of the card.
The XFX Radeon R9 290 DD is designed with a AMD Hawaii Pro GPU factory clocked to 947 MHz, tested to remain stable under demand. XFX also loads the R9 290 with 4GB of GDDR5 video memory clocked to 1250MHz (5000MHz data rate). Add to this the custom ’Double-D’ thermal management system keeping this Black Edition video card cool, and you’ve got an ideal formula for top-end graphics performance.
The XFX Radeon R9 290 Double D graphics card measures 11.0″ long x 4.5″ wide x 1.5″ tall. A video card with these dimensions are best suited for installation into tower computer cases, but may also lend itself to small form-factor enclosures if there is sufficient clearance. Since the card exhaust air back into the case, make sure to have adequate ventilation.
Available output connectors on the XFX Radeon R9 290 graphics card include two Dual-Link DVI ports, one HDMI 1.4a port, and one DisplayPort 1.2. XFX has taken care to design the card’s ventilation openings around the graphics outputs, allowing some of the heated air to escape outside the enclosure.
Most graphics cards run hot, and leave very little room for additional overclocking. The XFX Radeon R9 290 DD graphics card operates at the 947 MHz reference speed, which leaves room for additional tweaking. Enthusiasts can use their favorite overclocking tool to squeeze more speed out of the card, which makes use of the ultra-efficient fansink cooler to reach maximum potential while remaining stable under stress.
XFX’s Radeon R9 290 DD video card requires one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E power connector for proper operation. XFX recommends a minimum power supply rating of 750 watts, and suggests using their own XFX 850W PSU to power the AMD Radeon R9 290.
The back of the card doesn’t have any sort of cover or heatsink plate, so you can see all the screws that secure the cooling apparatus to the card. White circular “Warranty void if removed” stickers cover two of the screws. I don’t know if it makes any difference in the real world, but some users might prefer a backplate to protect the minuscule electronic components on the card from damage and static discharge.
In the next section, we share details on the new AMD ZeroCore Power Management technology featured on the Radeon R9 290 graphics card…