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

XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition CrossFire Video Card Review

Today we review two XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition video cards in CrossFire to see what quality 4K gaming we can achieve. We will be comparing this to a SLI GeForce GTX 970 configuration, in hopes of clearly defining the better overall value in this high-end gaming category. All for $699.98 after $60 MIR.


XFX is a well known company among PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts. It is a division of PINE Technology Holdings Limited. The XFX manufacturing branch specializes in high-performance PC hardware with a focus on gaming products including AMD and NVIDIA graphics processing units and motherboards.

On our test bench today is the XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition. We will be running two of these in a CrossFire configuration.

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Not too long ago we evaluated a single XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition 4GB video card. Today we have two of these operating in CrossFire. Since we have evaluated the single video card, AMD released its R9 390X which features 8GB of native memory. It is priced at $429.

With no price drop on the R9 290X after the release of the R9 390X we are left asking a few questions. Is the XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition still relevant at a cost of $349 after $30 MIR? Does the 4GB of memory on each video card in a CrossFire setup provide any real performance advantage compared to the GeForce GTX 970 utilizing a SLI configuration? Keep in mind the controversy surrounding the GTX 970, where only 3.5GB of memory is available for high-speed processing. However custom cooled GeForce GTX 970 cards can be purchased now for as low as $319 after $10 MIR.

In this evaluation we will be pitting the CrossFire XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition against two overclocked GeForce GTX 970’s in SLI. We will be evaluating these two configurations using today’s latest and most demanding games, including The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Grand Theft Auto V. Our highest playable settings tests will focus on gaming at the 4K resolution, and we will also cover max settings at 1440p.

We will also be attempting to overclock the XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition in its CrossFire configuration, to see if there is any benefit. We will evaluate this against a sturdy overclock on the SLI GeForce GTX 970 SLI. Our hopes are to find what value two of these babies bring, with the cost of $700 combined, our hopes are pretty high.

XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition Video Card

One of the key features of this video card is the factory overclock that XFX ships it with. While a reference R9 290X will run up to 1GHz on the core, this is overclocked to 1050MHz. That means a 50MHz boost right out of the box. The memory runs at the standard speed of 5GHz. This video card is equipped with 4GB of memory, which is going to play a key role in performing well at 4K.

This video card is also equipped with the new and improved Ghost Thermal 2.0 technology, or cooling system. This includes a floating heatsink design, that allows for a larger airflow, removing more heat from the board. This is imperative during our overclocking, as we will want the lowest temperature possible to ensure stability and consistency.

The XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition can be yours for $349 after $30 MIR at Newegg. This offer includes a free coupon for Dirt Rally valued at $60. This also includes a lifetime limited parts and labor warranty. You can read more about the XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition and more in-depth on its features in our single card review.

XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition Pictures

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The XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition comes packaged in a smaller box, but is well prepared to ensure safety during shipping. The accessory package included with this video card includes a driver install CD, a quick start guide, a 6-pin to 4-pin power cable, and an 8-pin to 6-pin power cable.

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XFX recommends a 750W power supply to ensure this video card operates properly. For operating two of these in CrossFire you will need a larger power supply, we are using a 1200W power supply. It requires an 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector, located along the top edge at the rear edge of the board. You will need two 8-pin and two 6-pin power connectors to run this in CrossFire. The rear I/O panel houses two dual-link DVI-D connectors, one Display Port adapter, and an HDMI port. The video card measures 11.16 inches in length, 5.6 inches in height and 1.65 inches in width.