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Pros: - fast
- relatively quiet compared to a lot of twin coolers
- looks nice
- beefy/heavy but very sturdy, sagging not an issue
- everything but the gpu and memory chips are non-reference/custom
- eats AAA games for lunch
Cons: - first one I got was defective, died after five days and I had to send back to Newegg for replacement (Newegg service is awesome, got a new one two days ago, 4 business days after shipping back first one)
- can get toasty under load
- uses Elpida memory (tends to be lower quality than hynix or samsung, but not always).
- Direct CU Cooler isn't specifically designed for Hawaii gpu, but still a great cooler non-the-less compared to reference cooler and many others
Other Thoughts: when I get a new graphic card, i generally run Unigine Valley or Heaven a few times to see whether everything is up to snuff. Installed in the same identical computer, same everything, same clocks, same drivers, the replacement card is getting 200 points higher score in Valley benchmark on stock clock speeds. What this tells me is that the first Card I got was defective from the get go, but took 5 days for it to finally stop working. I am not an engineer, so I can only speculate that it might have been a small fracture in the silicon that grew as I used it... no idea though, could have been anything really. It happens.
The replacement card I have now has an asic score of 76% (defective one was 86%), so this one tends to run slightly hotter because of the higher default voltages, but still not much past 80C under full continuous load with fans @ 55%, and VRMs always keep below 90C.
Also, for anyone reading these reviews: please bear in mind that most people don't bother writing reviews at all, while people who have bad luck usually do write reviews. The Newegg score for this card likely does not reflect the overall fail/success rate of these cards, so do not let Newegg ratings effect your buying decision.
Pros: - while it worked it was incredibly powerful. ran assassins creed 4 max settings 60fps butter smooth @ 1080p, which is no small feat.
- power consumption very good, really impressed with the wattage I was seeing pulled from the wall
- looks great, the backplate looks really nice from outside case window.
- Asus really put some work into the PCB and non-reference design of the card itself. ASIC score was 86.3% which means they probably binned the GPU for this product.
- VRMs had a heat spreader on them, VRM temps never exceeded 80C
- card ran nice and quiet before it kicked the bucket.
- temps never went past 80C while It was working and I could monitor temps.
Cons: - Card virtually died after 5 days, blue screens, green-grey screen before running games, eventually black screen before windows logo and/or blue screens. spent 2 days installing different drivers, with mixed results of bluescreens and/or blackscreens with fans @ 100%.
- Elpida Memory... I'm not impressed Asus, you should know better. cheaper 290's with better coolers use Hynix...
- The fan on top of Gpu had faint clicking noise from day one, when spun with finger
- Cooler is not meant for 290, only 1 heatpipe out of 5 makes full contact with the GPU, but still keeps the card below 80 mostly.
- Big. make sure you have a big case.
Other Thoughts: Card is currently off to Newegg for RMA, and I will review again if/when I get a replacement with an appropriate score.
My advice to anyone looking to get a 290/290x: Research beforehand and get a card that does not have Elpida memory. I'm disappointed in Asus for some of the decisions made with this card, but After spending thousands of dollars on their products over the years, I am not ready to write them off just yet as another has-been.