TweakTown

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review

Today Shawn spends some time checking out the HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo. Is this video card suitable for your next gaming rig? Let's find out.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Jun 24 2014 9:08 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Package

Introduction of the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 36 IMAGES

Computex didn't bring a whole lot to the table this year when it came to new items. Instead, most of what we saw on display had already been delivered or was already on the way. This especially holds true for motherboards and video cards, and a decent pile is sitting behind me right now and has only grown during the week that was Computex.

The first item to get pulled off of the pile comes from HIS and is, of course, an AMD based video card. The HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo we're looking at is part of the popular IceQ line of cards that we've seen from HIS for as long as I can remember. The latest version has an awesome looking shroud, and we're hoping it has the performance to match the funkiness of it.

Since we're pretty well versed to both HIS and the latest crop of AMD cards, there really doesn't seem to be a need to say too much here. Instead, we can go straight into the bundle to see just what HIS is offering us today with the R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo video card.

Package - What comes inside the box

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 03 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Taking a look at the box, you can see the standard IceQ X2 design with the brand and model clearly shown on the front. You can see in the top right corner that we're dealing with an OC version of the card.

Turning the box over, you can see that HIS goes into some of the main features that are being offered, including a "cooler and quieter" design thanks to the IceQ X2 cooler and its five heat pipes. Below that, you can see a mention of the high quality components used, including a 6 dynamic phase control PWM IC along with solid state capacitors and choke.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 05 | TweakTown.com

HIS bundles are never that big, and moving inside, you can see there's not too much going on. The driver CD, manual, and a case sticker are all included in a nice little folder that sits inside the box.

Video Card Details and Specifications

Close up with the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Taking the card out of the box and looking at it for the first time, you can see the sleek gold shroud that HIS has used on this card. The overall design isn't new to us, but the new color scheme is. We must admit that we would have loved to see a black PCB sitting behind the gold shroud.

Behind the two fans that sit in the middle, though, you can see a massive heat sink that covers the entire card along with the five-heat pipe setup that looks serious. The IceQ line of coolers has always served us well in the past, and hopefully it's the same here today with the latest version.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 07 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Taking a look around the card, you can see just how much the heat sink hangs over the back. As for the power side of things, you can see that HIS has opted to upgrade the power setup by providing two 8-Pin PCIe power connectors instead of a single one alongside a single 6-Pin PCIe connector.

Heading to the front of the card, you can see that not much is going on. Being an R9 290 series card means that no CrossFire connector is included. Instead, we just have a simple BIOS switch here that lets you switch between two modes.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 09 | TweakTown.com

Finishing up our look at the I/O side of things, you can see we've got two Dual Link DVI-D ports along with a single HDMI and DisplayPort to round things off. You can see we've also got some vents here to let the hot air escape out the back of your PC.

Specifications

Being part of the Turbo series means that the card is overclocked out of the box. The stock clocks of an R9 290 4GB come in at 947MHz on the core and 5000MHz QDR on the 4GB of GDDR5.

As for the HIS offering today, they've decided to leave the 4GB of GDDR5 alone but have bumped the core slightly by 20MHz bringing it to 967MHz.

Test System Setup & FPS Numbers Explained

Test System Setup

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 99 | TweakTown.com

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, and Corsair.

Sitting alongside our HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo today, we've got a bunch of cards. From the bottom, we've got the MSI R9 280X 6GB Twin Frozr that we've overclocked to 1200MHz / 7000MHz QDR along with the reference R9 290 4GB.

Finishing off the AMD side of things, we see the reference R9 290X 4GB running in "Uber Mode."

As for the NVIDIA side of things, we've got the reference GTX 770 2GB along with the ASUS GTX 780 ROG Poseidon Platinum 3GB OC and the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC at 1050MHz / 6400MHz QDR to finish things off.

With HIS not giving us a huge overclock today, we should see performance that sits near the reference card. What may bring a decent performance gain, though, is the new 14.6 driver that has just been released. This is something we'll be keeping an eye out for in our benchmarking here today.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Since HIS hasn't done too much with the overclock, you can see that overall performance on the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo is very similar to the reference card. This is probably a trend that will follow throughout our benchmarking.

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Moving into Fire Strike, you can see similar results to what we saw above, with both of our R9 290 4GB cards performing quite closely to each other.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven & Phantasy Star Online 2

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 22 | TweakTown.com

Just like our previous 3DMark benchmarks, you can see the results between both of our R9 290 4GB cards are very close to each other.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 23 | TweakTown.com

PSO 2 continues the trend of similar performance between our R9 290 4GB offerings. So far, the latest drivers from AMD haven't done much to overall performance when compared to the original launch driver.

Benchmarks – Lost Planet 2 & Just Cause 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 24 | TweakTown.com

At the lower resolutions, Lost Planet 2 sees a slight performance increase. The main thing here, though, is that the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo manages to offer playable FPS at all resolutions, including a very solid 84 FPS at the highest 2560x1600 resolution.

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 25 | TweakTown.com

Just Cause 2 sees the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo performs very similarly to the reference clocked card again. Like above, though, the most important piece of information to take away from here is the fact that we've got playable FPS at all resolutions, including a solid 102 FPS at the highest one.

Benchmarks – F1 2012 & Metro Last Light

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 26 | TweakTown.com

Looking above, you can see that our HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo hits an FPS wall under F1 2012 like most of our other cards here. Overall, we see a lot of our setups perform quite closely to each other here. More importantly, though, we've got strong FPS across the board, meaning that playing the game isn't going to be a problem at any resolution.

Metro Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 27 | TweakTown.com

Metro Last Light sees the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo get a slight performance boost over the reference card, equating to around 5 percent at the higher resolutions. This is great at 1920x1200 as the card gets a bit more breathing room with a 69 FPS average. At the higher 2560x1600 resolution, though, you can see our overall FPS number is a little too far behind that 60 FPS number.

Benchmarks – Dirt Showdown & Nexuiz

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 28 | TweakTown.com

At the lower resolutions, we can see that the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo manages to come out a little bit ahead of the reference card on the older drivers. Overall, though, we don't see too much difference, and at the end of it all, we see that the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo manages to offer us strong, playable FPS at all resolutions, which is always the main thing.

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 29 | TweakTown.com

Nexuiz performance is pretty similar across the board, with numbers that fall short at both 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. At the lower 1680x1050 resolutions, though, you can see we've got a solid 69 FPS, which makes our game playable.

Benchmarks – Sniper Elite V2 & Sleeping Dogs

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 30 | TweakTown.com

At the lower resolutions, we can see that Sniper Elite V2 manages to get a bit of a performance increase. At 2560x1600, though, you can see no change in the overall average. We do see solid FPS numbers across the board, though, with an awesome 77 FPS average being seen at 2560x1440.

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 31 | TweakTown.com

Sleeping Dogs goes back to seeing both of our R9 290 4GB cards performing quite closely to each other. The main thing is that the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo manages to offer strong, playable FPS at all resolutions. Looking above, you can see that we manage to score an average of over 100 FPS at 2560x1600, which is fantastic.

Benchmarks – Hitman Absolution & Tomb Raider

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 32 | TweakTown.com

Hitman Absolution numbers look strong across the board, with the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo managing to get very playable numbers at all resolutions. At the lower resolutions, you can see we hit that FPS wall that is present under Hitman Absolution.

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 33 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the Tomb Raider numbers, you can see that the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo manages to come out slightly ahead of the reference card. At the highest resolution, you can see that we don't quite get the average we want. Below 2560x1600, though, you can see that the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo offers some fantastic numbers.

Benchmarks – BioShock Infinite & Battlefield 4

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 34 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite sees our R9 290 4GB cards again score quite closely to each other. As for playable FPS, you can see that, while we fall short of that 60 FPS number at the highest resolution, 1920x1200 and 1680x1050 resolutions are not an issue.

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 35 | TweakTown.com

Across the board, you can see Battlefield 4 numbers are great. The HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo isn't going to run into any problems here.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF Testing

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 36 | TweakTown.com

Turning on AA and AF, you can see that the load is just a little too much for the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo along with the same being said for all of the other cards here.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 37 | TweakTown.com

Just Cause 2 sees the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo offer great performance at both resolutions, with playable numbers being seen. As for the overall difference between the two R9 290 4GB cards, you can see that there's really no change.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 38 | TweakTown.com

It seems the new drivers do wonders under Sleeping Dogs, because the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo gets a strong boost over the reference card. As for playable numbers, you can see that performance is great at 1920x1200. At the higher 2560x1600 resolution, you can see performance is too low.

Benchmarks – 4K – 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K – 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K monitors are the next step for gamers demanding the best in image quality. With four times the pixels of a standard 1920x1080 monitor (meaning four times the intensity), 3840x2160 brings with it a new level of intensity to video cards.

Wanting to make sure that you're buying the right video card for a monitor that offers such a large resolution, we test the latest and greatest video cards in a couple of benchmarks to give you an idea of just what kind of setup you require.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 39 | TweakTown.com

Due to 4K being a recent addition to our benchmarks, you can see the results are limited here. Under something like Heaven, that means it's a little difficult for us to know exactly how the card sits against the competition.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 40 | TweakTown.com

Under Sleeping Dogs, you can see that performance isn't too bad. The 58 FPS average, while short of that 60 FPS number we want, is extremely close.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 41 | TweakTown.com

While the minimum under Hitman Absolution isn't bad, you can see the average is just too low for the game to be playable.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 42 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider sees an average and minimum that is just too low for the game to be playable at this resolution.

Temperature & Sound Testing

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run of 3DMark Vantage at the Performance preset.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 50 | TweakTown.com

Looking above, you can see that the 71C load temperature is significantly better than the 90C temperature that the reference cooler gives off.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter, we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that, we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 51 | TweakTown.com

As for noise levels, you can see that they are extremely strong. Looking above, you can see that our HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo numbers are really strong, sitting well into the bottom half of our graph.

Power Consumption Testing

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01--or "Power Thingy" as it has quickly become known as to our readers--we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated video cards installed. Keep in mind that it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember, though. While our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10 percent more. We test at the exact same stage every time, so tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum--only an SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items will result in a higher draw.

HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo Video Card Review 52 | TweakTown.com

Looking above, you can see that power numbers sit in the middle of the graph at the mid 400-watt mark. This is pretty standard, and we'd recommend a quality power supply in the 600-watt or above range.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

Coming in at the lower-end of $400, the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo comes in at a strong price point against the competition. We must admit, though, we would have liked to see HIS do a little bit more with the overclock.

While we're used to most companies choosing to leave the memory clock alone, it would've been nice to see the core clock get bumped a little bit more. Another 20-30MHz on top of what is offered would have been nice, and it would have helped it stand out a little more against the reference-clocked card when it comes to overall performance.

We cannot deny, though, that the main appeal to the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo is the IceQ X2 cooler. In this area, HIS has done a fantastic job. The dual fan five heat pipe cooler does its job perfectly. The load temperature of our core comes in almost 20C lower than the reference cooler while running at a slightly higher clock. This has not come at the cost of an extreme amount of noise, though, as the card sits very well in that position as well.

As for the package, you can see that is on the light side of things. This is typical, though, these days, and as we just mentioned, there is no denying that the main highlight of this card is the IceQ X2 cooler. HIS has really put together a good all around card here.

The HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo hits at a good price point against the competition, and the IceQ X2 cooler is fantastic. It has done a good job of dropping the temperature a significant amount compared to the reference cooler while doing it at a reasonable noise level.

What do TweakTown.com awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles