Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

AMD Radeon R9 295X2 and XFX R9 290X DD TriFire Review

Will adding a single AMD Radeon R9 290X video card to the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 work? Will you get triple-GPU performance, ala TriFire CrossFire performance? This just might be a more financially feasible configuration for gamers versus QuadFire that provides a great gaming experience in Eyefinity and 4K resolutions.

Introduction

This review sits atop two previous articles; the first is our AMD Radeon R9 295X2 Video Card Review. The AMD R9 295X2 video card was announced on April 8th, 2014 and has an MSRP of $1,499. This dual-GPU video card on a single PCB sports two fully speced R9 290X GPUs running at 1018MHz each. This video card employs a liquid cooling setup for fast and silent operation. Our performance results proved that this card has what it takes to enjoy Eyefinity gaming.

The second is our video card evaluation covering AMD Radeon R9 295X2 CrossFire. This is full Quad-GPU performance known as QuadFire. Our performance proved that this is the fastest setup on the planet, and gave us performance at 4K we've never experienced before. However, there was one major drawback; power usage requirements are insanely high and expensive to make this kind of a setup work.

In this third article we are seeing if you can plug in a single-GPU Radeon R9 290X video card alongside the Radeon R9 295X2 to give us triple-GPU, "TriFire" performance.

Setting up TriFire

We got a lot of feedback from our QuadFire evaluation, and one of the most asked questions was can you put a single Radeon R9 290X video card with the R9 295X2 and get TriFire performance?

TriFire is an important and highly feasible video card combination that AMD does support. It allows one to get better performance over a single R9 295X2 without having to spend the $3,000 it costs to own two R9 295X2 video cards. Prices on R9 290X video cards has dropped recently. This XFX R9 290X DD video card we are using today is $594.33 currently with Prime Shipping. This price has gone up $30 in the last few days. That makes the price of this TriFire combination around $2,100.

Setting up TriFire in this configuration was even easier than QuadFire because of the more tame power requirements. We did not have to utilize a second PSU this time. In fact, our Enermax MAXRevo 1350W PSU performed just fine with a Radeon R9 295X2 and XFX R9 290X DD video card plugged in. We were able to properly separate the 12V rails, amperage and wattage were not a problem.

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There is no hardware configuration required. Just plug in the cards, and the power. No hardware cables or adapters are needed between the video cards. Note also that any brand of an AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU based video card should work alongside the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 video card without issue. This means you can pick out a custom R9 290X video card with better cooling and noise to go alongside your R9 295X2. That gives the R9 295X2 a lot of flexibility in configuration.

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It works! CrossFire enabled automatically and gave us 3 GPUs worth of performance with ease.

The big question is; do the two 1018MHz GPUs on the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 downclock to 1000MHz since our XFX Radeon R9 290X DD video card runs at 1000MHz? The answer is a big fat NO. Indeed, we checked in every game we tested and the two GPUs on the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 maintained a consistent 1018MHz clock speed while the XFX Radeon R9 290X DD maintained a consistent 1000MHz clock speed. This means each video card was running at its maximum performance. No throttling and no downclocking.