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Pros: It cools the beastly R9 290 as advertised
Handled very well under various load conditions
Definitely earned bonus points from me with its quietness
Good concept of having a one-piece passive heatsink covering the length of the card
Thermal paste was already in place, saving the guess work, non-capacitive, too!
Super long factory warranty gives me less worries
Cons: Certainly looks very intimidating when laying all the accessories out on the table
It’s not for someone lacks of patience to play with
Rather heavy to handle and bulky to install, taken up more space than preferred
Other Thoughts: This is a heavy-duty (literally!) but solidly-built cooler with aggressive cooling features both in front and at the back (first I’ve seen). This combination is nonetheless surprisingly effective in keeping the demanding R9 290 under control. Front cooling components include an enormous heatsink with 5 copper heatpipes and a single contact point with the GPU. Back cooling component consists of a solid piece of aluminum heatsink plate extends from end to end of the 290.
Installation in theory was pretty simple, align the holds, tightened the screws and there you go. In reality the process was a lengthy one and really testing my control over my anxiety. A quick tip: a sharp cutting blade would be very helpful when dealing with the thermal pads. Everyone all has a horror story about problems and I had to do trial-and-error a few times just to get it right. Hey, we all want to see our mods up and running in minutes, but that ain’t happening, so just “get a grip!”
I like the fact the thermal paste in place was non-capacitive because the static built-up and a little over-zealous portion of paste can be disastrous. While I wish the finished assembly could be skinnier but I get that something has got to give somewhere. That reality adjustment is always the tough part when the expectation strayed far off the course.
I had my doubt leaving the RAMs without heatsinks but after running the mod for over a month now and several hard fought tournaments, I did not see any temperature issue worth mentioning and believe me, I checked with my infrared thermometer often to be sure the temperature is stable and within the range I feel comfortable with. I am a firm believer of putting best-matched components in my mod so I can get the most out of them. Fancy stuff does not always work well together.
As far as my mod goes, I’m happy with the performance now comparing to when I had the stock cooler on my R9 290. It does what it said it would do for me and I’m happy with that.