Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts
I'll be the first to admit how much my opinion has changed since the first time we reviewed the R9 280 3GB. I've clearly jumped on the bandwagon, and having tested four cards in four different ways over the past month, I consider my knowledge and understanding of the model to be quite strong. While this particular version from MSI is one of the more expensive ones we've looked, and comes in at around the mid $200 mark, overall, it's one of the stronger cards we've looked at.
For starters, you've got the Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooler. If we're honest, not a whole lot has to be said about this cooler. It has proven itself on more than one occasion, and today it did an excellent job when crammed up against a second card, while having the core underneath it running more voltage and higher MHz.
Outside of the cooler, you've got some pretty nice out of the box overclocks offered by MSI. If you install the Gaming APP that comes with the card, then you can then run the card in "OC" Mode, which pushes the core even higher to 1000MHz with just the press of a button. Of course, you can then take the clocks even higher. When crammed up against a second card, we saw the card hit over 1100MHz with a voltage increase. If you put in the time, we're sure you're going to reach even higher clocks, and after looking at the HIS card, we can see that overclocking really helps boost overall performance.
Looking at the performance in CrossFire, though, you can see that when it's overclocked, the setup manages to put out some awesome FPS. What we saw from the PowerColor setup running in CrossFire was that it would kind of go back and forth with the heavily overclocked R9 290X 4GB cards we have in our graphs here today.
Taking the time to overclock the CrossFire R9 280 3GB setup brings some strong rewards. You can see that the gains are quite large at times, and overall, the setup now separates itself from the manually overclocked R9 290X 4GB offerings.
The MSI versions come with a slightly higher price point, and will set you back around $500 for a pair. With the Gaming APP, though, you could have two cards running at a core clock of 1000MHz with just a simple click. You could leave it there and be extremely happy with the performance you get, or you could go down the manual overclocking path, and get even more performance out of the setup.
If you're looking to buy a R9 290X 4GB, then we'd recommend that you step back for a second, and think about a CrossFire setup like the one we reviewed today. CrossFire is fun to play with, and overclocking yields some awesome performance gains. With a quality cooler like the Twin Frozr IV version that MSI used, you have a stellar setup that really stands out for all the right reasons.
PRICING: You can find the MSI R9 280 3GB 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 280 3GB retails for $234.99 at Amazon.