Test Setup and Overclocking
The card doesn't fit correctly in the first slot on my motherboard while using the Noctua NH-D15, so I used the Z97X Gaming G1, which can also give it full 16x in the 3rd PCI-E slot. This isn't a defect of the GPU, but rather of the cooler and motherboard. There is a slight delay that the PEX8747 bridge chip causes due to the motherboard, so your scores may be higher than mine. For my overclocking tests, I overclock the CPU to 4.5GHz, set the memory to XMP, and uncore to 42x; this should remove some bottleneck from the CPU and system memory.
VisionTek didn't have any proprietary overclocking software; however, it doesn't really need it considering all the overclocking options available for the standard R9 290 are available in AMD's OverDrive software inside the Catalyst Control Center. AMD has locked down voltage control on the R9 290, but max power limit control is available, as is GPU and memory clock. If you are wondering about other GPU overclocking programs, let me put your mind at ease: they work just fine with this card.
I was able to increase the GPU core clock to 1140.8MHz from 947MHz, a 20% overclock. I was also able to overclock the memory to 1475MHz from 1250MHz, an 18% overclock.
AMD has built-in boost overclocking for its GPUs, so if the core temperature is reasonable, then the GPU core can boost its clock; in this case, a 28MHz boost in clock speeds, resulting in a 975MHz core overclock. We also overclocked the GPU core, and not the memory for comparison.
This shows the GPU Core and Memory frequency of each of the aforementioned overclocks, and their 3DMark11 P-Score at the "Performance" level preset. This will allow you to compare the increases in performance.
This chart displays the other variables involved in the overclocks, including the maximum GPU core voltage (VDDC), idle and load total system power draw, and GPU core temperature.
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