Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts
While we'd normally expect quite a premium for a Lightning based card, due to the fact that the R9 290X continues to run out of stock, the price of the model has jumped in general. For that reason, the mid $700 price tag that you can find the MSI R9 290X 4GB Lightning OC for is really competitive. Stock is going to be one of the larger issues as the model is going to no doubt come in and then go straight out. Looking today, though, the model is really worth the wait if you're happy to do so.
When it comes to performance, the card is fantastic. Out of the box, it sports the highest overclock of any R9 290X 4GB that we've looked at. You don't have to be some crazy overclocker to see the value in the Lightning version of the R9 290X 4GB from MSI. There's no denying, though, that if you're going to get the most out of it and the most performance for your money, then you would want to really fire up MSI Afterburner.
Overclocking is really quite easy, and outside of adding extra performance for nothing, it's just a blast to do anyway. MSI doesn't offer anything that is going to cause problems to the card in terms of voltages, so you can max them out and then take the time to overclock the core and memory to see just how much performance you can get out of the card.
When it comes to the bundle, you can see that it's fairly standard with everything you need to get up and running. You haven't got much in terms of extras, and if you're not really overclocking, the inclusion of the plate for Water Cooling and LN2 users isn't going to be much use. The same can be said for the V-Check cables; most users will probably find themselves not needing these.
You don't have to have a water cooling setup or be playing with extreme elements to see the value in the MSI R9 290X 4GB Lightning OC. Out of the box, it's the fastest R9 290X 4GB we've tested because of the strong core overclock MSI offers. For the money, you're still getting a fantastically built product that has got a number of improvements over the reference card thanks to the Twin Frozr Cooler and Military Class 4 components. MSI has set the bar for performance again here today and it's no doubt going to be hard to top.
PRICING: You can find the MSI R9 290X 4GB Lightning OC for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The MSI R9 290X 4GB Lightning OC retails for $842.07 at Amazon.
Canada: The MSI R9 290X 4GB Lightning OC retails for CDN$902.58 at Amazon Canada.