I just wanted to let people know that when buying really cheap LED strips from Ebay or Amazon to be very careful because lots of things can be wrongly listed/advertised. There have been many times where I have bought 5V LED strips and received 12V strips .etc or they have shorted out my whole PSU because of shitty soldering. BUY ONLY FROM TRUSTED SELLERS!
Also, most strips will be advertised to come with 3M Tape but most likely if they cost under $25 they will NOT have real 3m adhesive, it WILL fall off and ruin your day. So, I suggest getting good, proper strips with real 3m adhesive or getting a hot glue gun to go with it.
Here are the sellers I recommend buying from:
hkesupplier on ebay - The tape isn't the best but it will stay as long as its not too much, they also have really good customer service (in my experience)
eshopbuygo on ebay - Used them once, shipping was quite quick
brave.lin on ebay - They are okay service isn't that quick
dahengteam on ebay - Second best I have used out of these 4
JACKYLED on amazon.ca - Great products, qualifies for prime
RioRand on amazon.ca - Qualifies for prime and has some really good prices
BEFORE YOU ORDER: Remember, these are mostly from China or Hong Kong, shipping isn't going to be very quick.
This is going to be my review of the 290x in single and crossfire mode, I have had these for about a week now. It is my intention to eventually play at 5760x1080p but as I only have two monitors right now, to see how these perform I'll be playing at 3200x1800 using virtual super resolution. I would try 4k, but for some reason my monitor doesn't seem to want to do that.
So, as of now, my system is as follows:
i5 4670k @ stock clocks
2 X R9 290x PCS+ @ 1050 core, 1350 memory.
8GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2133mhz RAM
Gigabyte Z97-X SLI motherboard
Crucial MX100 256GB SSD
Corsair Air 540, with stock fans
EVGA SuperNova NEX 750B PSU - 750W
So, about a fortnight ago I returned my GTX 970 as being incorrectly advertised. My motives were that I could not afford a second one for SLI, not because I felt I wasn't getting what I paid for. In fact, I loved the card, and still recommend it to people frequently, but for an extra £100 I could get two 290xs, so I did:
These are two PowerColour R9 290x PCS+ models. My initial impression was very good, the cards feel well built and sturdy, the shroud is entirely metal (aluminium, I presume) the backplate is a nice addition, and the cooler look substantial.
Now, as some of you may be aware, these are two-and-a-half slot cards. This concerned me slightly as there is only a one slot gap between my cards when they are placed into my system. As a result, the gap between my cards is very narrow, and I worried the top card would be choked, overheat and throttle. I'm using a Corsair Air 540, however, so airflow should be good.
The single card experience:
The single card experience has been excellent, at 1080p across a range of games which I have played with the card (mostly so far AC:IV, Dark Souls II, The Witcher 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Total War: Attila) has, for all intents and purposes, performed just as my 970 did. Framerate was consistently high, no driver issues were recorded (something which worried me as the latest drivers are from last December), and temperatures were low. The card comes with an aggressive fan curve, so it was quite noisy initially, but I could lower the fan speed significantly (to around 40%) and get virtual silence, with temperatures around 70 degrees.
I failed to save a picture, but power consumption from the wall never went above 400W.
The experience, I'm pleased to say has been overwhelmingly positive.
In every game I've played (except Attila) Crossfire has worked a charm, I've experienced no stuttering, and framerates have been superb. To see how well it worked, I played each game for a while with and without crossfire at 3200X1800. No game above achieved 60FPS average, never mind minimum with one card. With two, Dark Souls 2 and the Witcher 2 achieved 60 FPS minimum, with all settings (minus ubersampling on TW2) maxed. AC:IV experienced a few drops into the 50s, but these were few and far between and did not hamper the experience. Dragon Age with one card at 3200x1800 was unplayable, averages were in the 20s, with drops down to the teens. Crossfire delivered a fluid experience with averages in the 40s, and minimums above 30. When the game did periodically slow down it was not to the extent that it was noticeable. This is easily the most demanding game I played, and Crossfire justifies itself at these high resolutions. I could have dropped AA down to 2X, but instead kept it maxed out. This would have boosted framerates I predict into the 50s (average). Total War Attila was another story, and crossfire appears to not work at all for me there.
I did experience one or two issues with my crossfire setup in performance terms however. While TW2 looked beautiful, my computer froze during certain cut-scenes, though never in game. The only way to progress was to disable crossfire, get beyond the part I was at, and then re-enable it. Enabling and disabling crossfire also shifts all of my desktop icons over to the right hand side of my right monitor, which is really annoying.
Temperatures, Noise and Power Consumption:
Is the 290x in crossfire a deafening, icecap melting solution which needs its own nuclear reactor to run? In short, no.
Dragon Age pushed the cards the hardest by far, and by setting the fans to 70% I got top-card temperatures of around 82 degrees, with the bottom staying in the 60s. 65% fan speed seems too little, and takes the top card close to 90 degrees, which I'd rather not head toward. Considering how close the cards are together, this is impressive in my mind, as at 70% the fans are certainly audible, but if you use speakers at a moderate volume or headphones you will not hear the system. I'd heard some horror stories (including from the AMD rep at OCUK) of overheating 290xs in my case because the heat just can't be shifted, but PowerColour's PCS+ cooler does a fantastic job at keeping temperatures in line. I imagine that with better motherboard layout temperatures would be even lower.
Now for the big one, power consumption. Everyone said I was cutting it fine with a 750W PSU, that I need 850W minimum and ideally 1000W. Well, the truth is, at 1100 on the core, I never saw my PC draw 700W from the wall. The highest I saw was in the 690s, but frankly, considering PSU efficiency, the system as a whole must be drawing closer to 600W. I'm not in the habit of running artificial benchmarks, but in a gaming scenario which truly stressed the cards, 750W is plenty. I never got a photo of it at peak wattage, but here is one near to it:
This thread is labelled WIP for a reason: I've done limited testing, most of which is subjective. I would like in the future if there is demand for it to quantify the data in a better structured fashion, and to include more recent games as and when they release (TW3, GTA V, spring to mind).
Do I regret swapping out my 970 for 290x? No, in short.
Would I advocate a 290x over a 970? Not necessarily, the two are so close in performance I'd advise prospective buyers get the 290x if it is noticeably cheaper, as it was in my case.
Crossfire for me has worked extremely well, with a few minor exceptions. I imagine 970 SLI is quieter and less power consuming, but at the high resolutions I aspire to, the 290x seems to pull ahead somewhat.
I'm happy with the performance I have gotten for £400, which is cheaper than what a single 980 costs here.
If anybody has any questions, comments, or feedback, please do feel to share them and I'll do my best to answer them or take on board the criticism for any future reviews I do.
Officially part of the club from today, just got my razer blackwidow ultimate 2013, cherry mx blue switches!!!
It's my first mechanical keyboard and i'm loving it this far!
A little noisy but it's worth it
i am really on the edge of waiting i mean i have the money but i'm not buying a card because of the upcoming amd ones, now since i am pretty sure that most of them are going to be rebrands and given the fact that i'm not going to spend 400$ on a gpu i will probably not get the one that isn't a rebrand.
Is it worth the wait? I mean my budget is around 250-300$ for a gpu, i'll be playing at 1080p...
I am seeing a lot of games that i want to play but i can't so it's frustrating, what should i do???
Thanks in advance to whoever answers..
I was "taking the mick" a bit but it is actually what I'm doing, I bought my 290 on black friday for £200 while the msi 970 costs £283+ right now and we know the 970 doesnt have a 40% performance lead.
even if the 300 series is mostly rebrands and my 290 becomes a "380" it'll still be a baller card and if the price is the same will still be a beast value card, I can't imagine there being a price drop, the size of the die, the cooler with all its heat pipes and big fans the amount of vram, the 512bit memory bus, its a very expensive card to make and i don't see the margin being there to price drop.
depending what the 390 and 390x perform and cost like i'll probably get the one with the best fps/£ (probably 390) and sell my 290, I bet I can get £190 for it (boxed, as new with warrranty).
under furmark I draw 487watts so a 550w is fine.