4 Weeks with Radeon R9 290X CrossFire

What do you get when you take two AMD Radeon R9 290X video cards, configure those for CrossFire, and set those at your feet for four weeks? We give our thoughts and opinions about actually using these GPUs in our own system for four weeks with focus on sound profile and heat generated by these cards.


As you might be aware we have spent a lot of time AMD’s new Radeon R9 290 and 290X GPUs lately. We have reviewed the R9 290X, we have reviewed the R9 290X in CrossFire, we have reviewed the R9 290, we have reviewed the R9 290X under Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, and this week we looked at realworld gaming using an SSD compared to a HDD....using an R9 290X.

The HardForum video card forums have abounded with discussions, debates, arguments, and all out flame wars about the Radeon R9 video cards. While much of that is run of the mill for video card enthusiasts postings on forums, I have to think that the "talk" about the R9 290X cards has been a bit more than we are used to surrounding "normal" GPU launches. Certainly one thing that did not help the situation was NVIDIA "launching" its GTX 780 Ti, in what seemed to me to be more of a desperate anti-R9 290X presentation complete with a large amount of FUD-a la mode. NVIDIA made sure to show the 290X performance in its "Quiet Mode" profile while explaining it to be a "jet engine" among other things in its "Uber Mode." NVIDIA knows something about loud video cards. We remember the FX 5800 clocking in at over 56dB a bit over 10 years ago, and the GTX 480 was even 1dB louder than that just three short years ago. I reference both these cards, not to be hostile towards NVIDIA, but rather because many enthusiasts have used these as points of reference. Quite frankly Brent and I had a lot of experience with both those GPUs so it is something we can chime in on. I personally used both those NVIDIA video cards for rather long periods of time in my personal systems for gaming and I used the GTX 480 in SLI for a good deal of time as well.

Seeing how we like to base our opinions on real world gaming experiences, I replaced the GTX Titan SLI in my personal gaming system (which is my everyday desktop system) with Radeon R9 290X CrossFire. Since I was still using an Intel 2600K, I thought it was time to finally upgrade to a PCIe Gen 3 system as well, so I installed the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme motherboard we reviewed back in October.

This article is not meant to come off as "technical review." While there are some data points referenced, the body of this article is totally subjective. If we were sitting down having a few beers talking GPU tech, these are the things I would tell you...likely with more cursing though.

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My System Specifications

Listed below are my current system specifications. I will go into some details about my install on the next page that impact the ways my video cards are used on a daily basis.

  • Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.6GHz - 1.31vCore

  • ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme

  • 16GB of Corsair Dominator DDR3 @ 1600MHz 9-9-9-24-1T

  • AMD Radeon R9 290X CrossFire

  • Antec KUHLER H2O 920 CPU Cooler

  • 3 x Dell U2410 displays in portrait mode @ 3600x1920

  • 1 x Samsung 840 Pro 240GB SATA 3 6Gb/s SSD

  • 1 x Corsair Force Seriesآ™ GT 240GB SATA 3 6Gb/s SSD

  • 2 x Corsair Force 3 128GB SSD

  • 3 x Western Digital 2TB Spinning Drives

  • Silverstone Raven 3 Chassis

  • Silverstone Strider Gold 1200W PSU

Before installing these Radeon R9 290X video cards, I have previously ran a NVIDIA GTX 690, and most recently two NVIDIA GTX TITAN video cards configured in SLI. The GTX TITAN cards were installed in my system and used for the better part of 6 months on a daily basis.