290 Tri-X OC Thermal Management

Before jumping into our benchmarks, due to the significant focus we’re placing on cooling and noise for the 290 Tri-X OC (amidst the reference 290’s weaknesses) we also wanted to spend a moment discussing the card’s thermal management algorithms.

With the 290 series AMD introduced their next generation PowerTune technology, which allows for thermal management based on temperatures, power consumption, and now fan speeds. For the reference 290X in particular this was especially important as AMD used this functionality to keep fan speed noises in check despite the heavy thermal load Hawaii placed on the cooler. At the time we had assumed that everyone would use this technology even if they used different coolers, but as it turns out this isn’t the case.

For the 290 Tri-X OC Sapphire has reverted to traditional power and temperature based throttling, opting not to use the functionality of next generation PowerTune. This means that the 290 Tri-X OC does not offer the ability to throttle based on fan speeds, nor does it offer the ability to adjust the temperature it throttles at, instead throttling at Hawaii’s TjMax. This implementation caught us off guard at first since we had expected everyone to use next generation PowerTune, however as it turns out this is something that board partners get to decide for themselves on their customized cards.

Sapphire for their part has told us that based on the ample cooling performance of the Tri-X cooler that they've opted to use a traditional thermal management implementation in order to better sustain performance. Though we can’t readily test Sapphire’s statements about sustainability, we certainly can’t argue against Sapphire’s statement on the performance of their cooler. We’ll see the full breakdown in our benchmark section, but they are having absolutely no problem balancing noise and temperatures right now without next generation PowerTune.

Realistically we wouldn’t be surprised if this was also chosen because the Tri-X cooler predates the 290 series – and hence it wasn’t necessarily designed to work well with next generation PowerTune – but that’s just speculation on our part. To that end it would have been interesting to see a full next generation PowerTune implementation on this card, however it’s really just an intellectual curiosity. Out of the box the 290 Tri-X OC works just fine with a traditional thermal management implementation.

The Test

CPU: Intel Core i7-4960X @ 4.2GHz
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Professional
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200i
Hard Disk: Samsung SSD 840 EVO (750GB)
Memory: G.Skill RipjawZ DDR3-1866 4 x 8GB (9-10-9-26)
Case: NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition
Monitor: Asus PQ321
Video Cards: AMD Radeon R9 290X
AMD Radeon R9 290
XFX Radeon R9 280X Double Dissipation
Asus Radeon R9 280X DirectCU II TOP
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X Toxic
AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
AMD Radeon HD 7970
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Video Drivers: NVIDIA Release 331.93
AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta v8
AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta v9.5
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro


Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X OC Review Gaming Performance
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • madwolfa - Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - link

    Check hardocp.
  • juhatus - Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - link

    Come on, can you move to metric system please or atleast give both inches and centimetres.

    <insert stupid joke about imperial system here>
  • ws3 - Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - link

    There is nothing wrong with inches. They are perhaps just unfamiliar to you.
    Just remember this fact: 1 inch = 25.4 mm exactly. For quick calculations in the head 1 inch = 2.5 cm works well. So a 12 inch card ~ 12*2.5 ~ 30cm.
  • Senti - Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - link

    There is certainly something very wrong with inches: majority of the world uses metric system and hates your inches with a passion.
    How about measurements in international units and you do calculations in the head?
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - link

    Well Anandtech is a US based privately owned site, so I imagine they can do what they want.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm from america and I hate imperial haha, but saying they should do it to make it easier for their Europe audience is a bit silly. Also, although inhave NO proof for this, its possible that while most of the world uses metric, the majority of their audience comes from America.
  • StevoLincolnite - Thursday, December 26, 2013 - link

    It's the internet.
    Nothing is limited to a typical continents/countries borders and Anandtech serves a world-wide audience, thus by extension it should account for it's world-wide audience.
    Majority of the planet uses metric.

    With that in mind, my country goes by the metric system, but inches is still freely used as a form of measurement so it's no big deal.
  • TheJian - Saturday, December 28, 2013 - link

    By that line of thinking he should be putting his site up in german , chinese, french etc...But no, he doesn't do that because it's an american site. WE SPEAK ENGLISH. If you come to here don't expect me to speak spanish just because we have people migrating from mexico. If you don't like english don't come here. If you don't like english don't read this site ;) It's not his problem people from outside the country try to read here too. Writing for everyone else would just cost more money and lower the amount or quality of news as lots of money would be going to translations etc instead of the actual news/reviews.
  • andy o - Monday, December 30, 2013 - link

    Wow, I was with you for a couple of sentences there, but that quickly turned into a xenophobic and borderly racist rant. "If you don't like english don't come here"? How about if you don't like any of these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_languages_... don't come here?
  • wetwareinterface - Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - link

    the majority of the world uses the metric system but...
    the majority of the readers of this web site don't.

    the majority of the buyers of this level of video card are also in the U.S.

    if you want reviews using the metric system go to another web site that uses it, or just pop the number followed by "inches to cm" in google and get your result instead of commenting that the review is biased against you because of a unit of measurement used in the country the article was authored in.
  • Mondozai - Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - link

    Don't get defensive. The imperial system never made sense which is why international science is all about the metric system. Nevertheless, I am not annoyed personally at Anandtech, an American site using the measurement system they themselves are accustomed too. But that doesn't mean we should have thrown an outdaded system on the trash heap, the imperial system, and done so yesterday. Sorry but it is just a retarded system even if your feelings are hurt.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now