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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found out that the Sapphire Tri-X 290 will be too long for my case (the original Cooler Master 690). So, I've set my sights back on what I wanted originally: the DirectCU II R9 290. Are there any reasons why I shouldn't get this? What I mean is, is there anything wrong with it? It seems like it received good professional reviews, but I'd like to hear from actual owners or ex-owners.

Edit: I just ordered it from Amazon.com for $489.99 shipped!
 

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Only thing that turned me off was the Elpida memory chips, but you said before you won't be overclocking anyways?

Here is a solid review of the card:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/R9_290X_Direct_Cu_II_OC/1.html

Quote:
Pros

•No throttling with either the quiet or performance BIOS
•Low noise during gaming with the quiet BIOS
•Low temperatures during gaming with the performance BIOS
•Overclocked out of the box
•Memory is also overclocked
•Backplate included
•Colors customizable via stickers
•Voltage measuring points
•Dual BIOS
•Native full-size HDMI and DisplayPort

Cons

•Elpida memory holds back memory OC
•Idle noise levels not improved
My bad, regular 290, not the "X"
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You're right: 290, not 290X, and no overclocking.
 

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I think the review is still plausible as the card itself is the same, just the chip is fully unlocked to a 290x.

Haven't heard anything bad about the DC II 290 or 290x. I have been looking at the DC II 290 for a while now for my other computer.

I have a DC II 570 in there right now running solid @900MHz.
 

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Well, the card isn't bad, but it isn't all that great either. The cooler came directly off of the GTX 780/Ti card, and two of the heatpipes don't make contact with the 290/x die because of that. VRM temperatures aren't good either. Since you're going to be keeping it stock, you shouldn't have any problems, but I'd choose the MSI Gaming over the DCII if a shorter card was needed. The MSI Gaming has a cooler made for Hawaii dies, there are heatspreaders for the VRAM, VRM cooling is much better, as is GPU cooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by airisom2 View Post

Well, the card isn't bad, but it isn't all that great either. The cooler came directly off of the GTX 780/Ti card, and two of the heatpipes don't make contact with the 290/x die because of that. VRM temperatures aren't good either. Since you're going to be keeping it stock, you shouldn't have any problems, but I'd choose the MSI Gaming over the DCII if a shorter card was needed. The MSI Gaming has a cooler made for Hawaii dies, there are heatspreaders for the VRAM, VRM cooling is much better, as is GPU cooling.
I'm finding better temps in reviews at a slower fan speed with the DirectCU II than the MSI Gaming Twin Frozr.

Regarding the VRM temps:

http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/asus-r9-290-direct-cu-ii-oc-review-1600p-ultra-hd-4k/28/

Screenshot:

R9290DirectCUIIVRM.png


I just spent the past 45 minutes comparing both cards in reviews, and the DirectCU II seems to be superior, providing the same temps in Furmark at 50% fan speed vs. the 64% fan speed of the MSI Gaming. I won't be overclocking, but I do like the lower fan speed to achieve the same temps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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I'm ordering it too, £350 here
biggrin.gif
 

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Well, buy whatever you want
thumb.gif
I just see the DCII as a rushed, incomplete card. In most reviews that show VRM temps, the DCII is always above the 90C range, whereas the Gaming is much lower (Gaming, DCII). Although it's said that those temps are within spec, there's no way in hell that it's recommended to keep them at those temps. The hotter the VRMs (or any component) gets, the less efficient they are, the less power is outputted (the hotter it is, the more power is absorbed by the heat, simply put), and the higher chance there is that they'll blow.

Looking at the cooling on the GPU, the DCII does seem to be a bit better since it's at a lower fan speed, but all things considered, the MSI Gaming is the better overall card. I'd be much more comfortable with a 2C hotter core, 20C cooler vrms, and cooler VRAM. Just my 2c.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by airisom2 View Post

Well, buy whatever you want
thumb.gif
I just see the DCII as a rushed, incomplete card. In most reviews that show VRM temps, the DCII is always above the 90C range, whereas the Gaming is much lower (Gaming, DCII). Although it's said that those temps are within spec, there's no way in hell that it's recommended to keep them at those temps. The hotter the VRMs (or any component) gets, the less efficient they are, the less power is outputted (the hotter it is, the more power is absorbed by the heat, simply put), and the higher chance there is that they'll blow.

Looking at the cooling on the GPU, the DCII does seem to be a bit better since it's at a lower fan speed, but all things considered, the MSI Gaming is the better overall card. I'd be much more comfortable with a 2C hotter core, 20C cooler vrms, and cooler VRAM. Just my 2c.
Again:

Regarding the VRM temps:

http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/asus-r9-290-direct-cu-ii-oc-review-1600p-ultra-hd-4k/28/

Screenshot:

R9290DirectCUIIVRM.png


As you can see, the sensor is not in the correct spot. That's why the reported VRM temps are high. That sensor is not picking up the temperatures of the VRMs.

I do not want to have to have a higher fan speed just to achieve the same temps. That means the fan will have to be louder. So, no. I will most likely go with the DirectCU II.
 

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IMO none of the 290/Xs are truly fully ideal.

Some blurbs on cons/pros of the aftermarket 290s from my research:

MSI GAMING 290/X:
-Cards manufactured on or before November 2013 are subject to leaky fan bearings as a result of a supply chain issue.
+6+2 power phase and real custom PCB, 3 year warranty by serial number, affordable.

ASUS DirectCU 290/X:
-Cooler transplanted straight from GK110 design.
+6+2+2 power phase beats the lot, and quietest fans, 3 year warranty by serial number.

Gigabyte Windforce 290/X:
-Cooler transplanted straight from GK110 design, analogous 5+1 power phase to reference, huge.
+Affordable, 3 year warranty by serial number (IIRC).

Sapphire Tri-X 290/X:
-Same PCB as reference, even down to 5+1 power phase, 2 year warranty, expensive, huge.
+Fully custom cooler and "guaranteed" Hynix memory chips.

Powercolor PCS+ 290/X:
-5+1+1 power phase, speculation of being "slower" than other 290/Xs at same clocks, expensive, huge,
+Fully custom cooler.

Seems there's really no drop-dead amazing 290/X to gun for. Can't really go wrong with the ASUS for the price though, especially since it's just a little HSF-customization away from being near-perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, I mean, all I have to do now is figure out if any DirectCU II R9 290 owners are getting black screen crashes and then I'll have my decision made. It's currently a toss-up for me right now between the MSI Gaming and the ASUS DirectCU II because the Tri-X is just a few millimeters too long for my case.
 

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I just cancelled my order
mad.gif


It looks like a poor design, and now I look at it, the cooler just doesn't even look right on the card. I think I'll go for the sapphire card and try to fit a backplate and change the colour to red
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post

Yeah, I mean, all I have to do now is figure out if any DirectCU II R9 290 owners are getting black screen crashes and then I'll have my decision made. It's currently a toss-up for me right now between the MSI Gaming and the ASUS DirectCU II because the Tri-X is just a few millimeters too long for my case.
I think I'm getting the Tri-X now. Is there no way you can mod the case? :/ Or if you are gutsy, mod the shroud on the gpu? Or is the PCB itself too long?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtMunky View Post

I just cancelled my order
mad.gif


It looks like a poor design, and now I look at it, the cooler just doesn't even look right on the card. I think I'll go for the sapphire card and try to fit a backplate and change the colour to red
I think that it's just fine. Study the professional reviews. For example:

http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/asus-r9-290-direct-cu-ii-oc-review-1600p-ultra-hd-4k/28/

R9290DirectCUIIVRM.png


I compared reviews of the DirectCU II 290 to reviews of the heavily-recommended MSI Gaming 290 and even though both cards got the same temps in Furmark, the MSI Gaming 290 needed its fan speed to be at 64% while the DirectCU II only needed 50%. So, I'm most likely going to get the DirectCU II 290.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtMunky View Post

I think I'm getting the Tri-X now. Is there no way you can mod the case? :/ Or if you are gutsy, mod the shroud on the gpu? Or is the PCB itself too long?
It's too long, and I currently don't own the tools to mod my case - nor do I want to. I don't want to affect its already-declining resale value. :)
 

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Fair enough, well good luck with the Asus card
smile.gif
I'm not happy spending £50 more when I'm unsure about the quality

This generation of cards has been very slow getting new revisions out
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtMunky View Post

Fair enough, well good luck with the Asus card
smile.gif
I'm not happy spending £50 more when I'm unsure about the quality

This generation of cards has been very slow getting new revisions out
Compare its thermal performance to the MSI Gaming 290 (same reviewer, same testing methods):

http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/msi-r9-290-oc-gaming-edition-review-1600p-ultra-hd-4k/28/

Almost the same temps exactly, but a higher fan speed. That tells me that the DirectCU II 290 is better.

I will trust ASUS on their word that the VRMs are well within temp specs. Plus, I won't be overclocking. After all, if I have any problems related to overheating VRMs, then I'll just return the card to Amazon.com as being defective.

All I have to do now is figure out if the DirectCU II R9 290 suffers from black screen issues due to the Elpida memory.
 

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I don't recommend buying a DCUII 290 series. I have to actually underclock my cards stock OCed memory to avoid artifacting and (eventual) crashes. Not to mention the card runs fairly hot (usual temps in the high 70s in gaming at 70% fan, low 80s in heaven/valley at 70-80% fan). I contemplated doing a return, but I've heard this is par the course for these cards and I got boned by Newegg's replacement only policy. I figured I could at least sell it for a decent return, but with 290x's now being worth peanuts and no one buying them with the mining market crash I am basically SOL.

I guess the one good thing about the card is VRM temps are generally lower than my Tri-X.
 
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