Card Layout and Photos
The last generation of XFX cards had a very unique all metal fan shroud that really got XFX a lot of attention. The design was worlds above the competition in style as well as quality. When they announced their new R9 cards I was actually really surprised to see them go with a completely new design. The XFX R9 290 DD Edition did drop the all metal design that I really loved. But they went with a blacked out design that is still up there in styling and is more likely to go with most builds. I can’t say it’s an improvement, because I really liked the previous design, but I don’t think is went down in appearance as well. They did keep the dual fan design that they call Double Dissipation aka the DD Edition. In fact I don’t think the cooling design changed much if any at all from the previous model, just the fan shroud.
On the front of the card and along the top edge they included XFX logos but this time they don’t include the model name on the replaceable top panel. Considering on my PC I was able to recover that strip to match my build perfectly I will miss it, but XFX did give us a little chrome styling this time around that looks great against the black shroud. The XFX logo on the front of the card is white in color and when the card is powered on it lights up as well.
Overall I’m a little bummed that XFX didn’t stick with the all metal design, it’s refreshing to see a quality design like that in a market full of plastic fan shrouds. The new design is great looking though. The old design was flashy while this new design is a lot more formal and clean.
As I mentioned the XFX logo across the front lights up. Here is a photo of the card in use. The Logo glows bright white and really catches your attention. It’s a shame they didn’t put the glowing logo up on the top edge where people could actually see it. For some though, the logo might be too bright, it would be nice if there was an option to be able to turn it down.
The Double Dissipation cooling extends around to the sides of the cooler as well. With two large cooling fans there just isn’t any way all of the air can go out the back of your PC. XFX designed the cooler to have ventilation gaps along the top end and bottom of the card for the air to go. This does mean that the R9 290 DD Edition will push some of its heated air into your case, be sure your case has enough ventilation for that heat to build up inside of the case. I love that the chrome trim extends around all of these vents as well, really giving the card a clean look.
As I mentioned in our previous R9 290 review, the new R9 290 and R9 290Xs both crossfire differently than past AMD cards and the XFX R9 290 DD Edition is no different. They dropped the Crossfire bridges on top in favor of a design that communicates through the PCI Express slot.
XFX stuck with the standard 8-pin + 6-pin power setup on the R9 290 DD Edition just like the Sapphire card we recently reviewed as well as the reference design as well.
XFX went with a flat black PCB that goes perfectly with the black and chrome cooling design. From this point of view we can better see how tall the double dissipation cooler is. It also extends past the end of the PCB slightly but XFX designed the cooler to fit perfectly flush. One thing that stood out to me with the R9 290 DD Edition was the inclusion of a small switch on the top edge of the PCB. The reference R9 290’s don’t have the quiet mode switch that the R9 290Xs have but the R9 290 DD Edition does have one. I will find out in our testing if the card actually has a quiet mode though.
On the back I/O XFX keeps up the unique design with their logo being cut into the air vent. For connections you get two DVI connections as well as a full sized DisplayPort and full sized HDMI port. This is a standard connection setup, it covers just about anything you might want except VGA (VGA adapters will not work on 290’s).