Joined on 12/25/13
Pros: This card runs much cooler than most R9 290s, and allows for some respectable overclocks. I am very pleased with the performance. The price was very good when I bought it compared to its competition, and it is objectively better than other R9 290s, except the Vapor-X it seems, based on v I have seen. It is also a perfect fit in my build (close call)! The backplate is also a nice touch.
Cons: Aggressive fan curve; hey you wanted a cool R9 290, so this is what it takes. Also, the 2.5 slot cooler means that you may have a bit fewer options for a build involving this card do to PCIe slot gaps. This lead to an issue on my mATX build, but call that poor planning on my part if you wish.
Overall Review: Under normal conditions it is rare for the card to go above 70C by default. With a moderate overclock in a warmer room, that temperature goes up of course. Even with the overclock and a manual fan speed of 45% (my threshold for 'quiet' on this card) I haven't seen it reach 90C. In a normal air-conditioned room you can run an 1100/1400 overclock and 45% fan speed and stay in the low 80s. I know this based on 6 weeks or so of running Folding@Home and playing with the settings. The default fan curve can reach upwards of 90% fan speed under worst case in my build, and it is loud at that level, so if noise is more important that a few degrees of cooling, you can play around with the fan speed manually. My build is mATX in a node 804 case, there are 2 PCIe 3.0 slots, but the top one can't be used since I have a NH-D14 cooler and the fan clips would press against the back-plate. This most likely wouldn't be an issue in a full sized ATX build, or if I had a smaller cooler, or were willing to sacrifice the front to back airflow for better GPU cooling. As it is, I must use a middle slot, which allows the card less than an inch of clearance at the bottom. I believe this plays a significant role in the loudness of the card I experienced at stock settings. I can say this with authority because for a period of time the card was used in another PC, and even while running benchmarks for 20-30 minutes on that PC, the card was not annoyingly loud. Unfortunately I do not have fan speed data from those benchmarks, but can confirm it also stayed just below 70C.