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MSI Radeon R9 290X Lightning Overclocked Video Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Apr 4, 2014 8:58 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: MSI

The Card




Taking a look at the card, you might feel it looks familiar. This isn't the first time we've seen this particular Twin Frozr cooler as it was seen on the MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3GB we looked at late last year. It did a good job there, and hopefully it will continue to do a good job today on the R9 290X. As for the overall design, you can see it's a triple fan setup with a larger fan on each end and a slightly smaller one in the middle. It carries with it a massive heat sink behind the fans and a large amount of heat pipes that help make for a triple slot card that weighs a solid 1,580 grams.




Taking the time to start to move around the card, you can see on the back of the card we have our three V-Check points. With the help of the cables we showed in the package and a Volt Meter, you're able to get an accurate measurement of the voltage on the Aux, Core, and Memory. This isn't a feature that everyone is going to use; instead, like the bracket shown in the previous page, it's going to be reserved for the more hardcore overclocker.






Continuing to move around the card, you can see that power comes in a massive setup with two 8-Pin PCIe connectors and a single 6-Pin PCIe connector. The reference R9 290X 4GB and every other one we've received to date uses the standard single 8-Pin PCIe and 6-Pin PCIe connector setup. As we head to the front of the card, there's not a whole lot going on with just the BIOS switch that lets us switch between the two BIOS that are installed. You can, of course, see we don't have any CrossFire connectors as they're not needed for the R9 290 and R9 290X.




Heading over to the I/O department to finish our look at the card, you can see we've got the standard connection setup with two Dual-Link DVI-D connectors alongside a single HDMI and DisplayPort connector to round things off.





Checking out the specifications of the card, it comes as no surprise that MSI has overclocked it out of the box. When you look at a Lightning card, though, you don't simply run it at its out-of-the-box clock speeds. Before we cover the overclocking, though, you can see below that the core has been pushed up to 1080MHz from the default 1000MHz.


As for the 4GB of GDDR5, in typical MSI fashion, that has been left alone. You can see below that it remains at the reference clocked 5000MHz QDR.




Bumping up the voltages, you can see above that we got some solid numbers out of the card. The core was pushed up to 1185MHz, while the 4GB of GDDR5 was pushed to 5300MHz QDR.


This is an overclock that is both stronger than the recently looked at Twin Frozr Gaming OC version of the card from MSI and the Tri-X OC version from Sapphire.

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