Cooling, Noise, and Power
So we know that the R9 290X can still perform but what I was especially curious was just how well Asus would be able to contain the heat of the 290X. They certainly went as big as they could go on the heatsink, but with the overclock would it be enough? I started out with the power consumption testing. I ran the card through Heaven Benchmark 4.0 and noted its peak wattage as well as an idle wattage. Not surprisingly the 290X pulled more than the R9 290 that was previously at the top of the charts for a single card. At 504 for our total rig this card is using every last bit of the 290 TDP of the 290X. This is nearly 100 watts more than what our overclocked GTX 980 pulled so keep in mind you will need a heck of a power supply if you want to run in Crossfire. Any standard size should still be enough for a single card setup. AMD recommends a 750W model or bigger for a single card setup but that is being conservative, obviously our test setup is high end and pulling just over 500 watts.
For noise the 290X Matrix is up in the top half of our results for the 100% fan speed tests. This is consistent with the 50% result as well. With this card pulling so much wattage I’m not shocked that it is higher up in the noise. You would think Asus would be able to contain it a little with such a large heatsink, but then again the Matrix cards aren’t focused on noise, they are designed to allow the best possible overclocking.
Well we know that the 290X Matrix pulls a lot of wattage and with that wattage translates to heat as well. Temperature testing it in game and under load heated things up to a respectable 81 degrees Celsius. This is basically spot on for what I would expect an Nvidia reference card to do, not so much for a card with a cooler as large as this though. I want to put the blame on Asus but the 290X’s are known to run hot and this is no exception. If I were running this day to day I would be without a doubt be considering water cooling or I would at least change the fan profile to run a little cooler. The 290X generated enough heat that at one point during my testing my CPU got a little hot from the heat radiating next to the pump. This was partially due to our Intel Water Cooling kit getting aged and needing to be replaced, but the additional heat didn’t help by pushing it over the limit.