Date Joined: 06/13/14
Pros: This is a follow up to a previous review. Fine card- DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Cons: none yet...
Overall Review: AMD earns their criticism when it comes to "driver updates." (and this is all just my opinion) Or more correctly stated the frequency in which they release updates. There is indeed a long time between "driver updates." IMHO, when AMD release a driver for their cards, it is superb. Flawless. They do not seem to be in the habit of releasing a new driver every 4-12 weeks to "eek out" another 12 frames per second. Their drivers "hit the ground running" and set the standard for performance in the market. Don't expect there will be a new driver anytime soon; 6 months at the earliest and there will be a good reason for it- not just a few extra frames per second.
Currently AMD has 2 drivers available for download for win7-64bit; my system. 14.12 (meaning released December of 2014) and a beta driver 15.5 (meaning May of 2015). There were indeed reports of the r9 295x2 experiencing "flickering" at 144 Hz refresh rate. DO YOUR RESEARCH!! And I saw the flickering for myself- it is not minor. It will create headaches for sure. There was a solution out there on the web... Toastyx I think it was called. I guess it is a middle-ware piece of software the allows to to set the refresh rate at 139.47 Hz and the flickering went away. Uber geeks wondered if AMD would ever learn simplify this and incorporate this into their driver. Beta driver 15.5 does exactly that.
So, if you are considering this card, and you understand beta drivers "release them from liability" of any damage that may result to the card... take comfort in your 2 year warranty, take comfort in XfX, and take comfort that 14.12 made my BenQ flicker, and take comfort in 15.5 drivers are perfect.
The only reason I even tried the 14.12 drivers was I got upset I could not find the "enable free sync" check box in the 15.5 driver version. The problem was I had "Motion Blur" enabled on my monitor. The instant I disabled motion blur, a pop up box said, "You have connected a free sync enabled display device. Click here to configure and enable." 14.12 official bad, 15.5 beta good.
If you are reading all this- you already know you want it/need it.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. Sign up for promos. Stalk your hardware. Get the absolutely best deal you can. Stick with companies with good costumer service reviews. Stalk your sales; and a good hunter and get this card for just under six hun dred.
Pros: It did not set my computer on fire when I installed it.
The liquid cooling system does not leak.
I have previous experience with n-e-w-e-g-g and customer service is perhaps he best on the web in the USA. I called XfX at the number you can find in many reviews here; they answer the phone. XfX customer service is quick, frindly, and professional, yes really. And yes, my THREE calls to them were all prior to my purchase, press 4 I think it was. Yes, the XfX lineup may only have 2 fans instead of 3 (I reseached the heck out of the 290x) and 1040 MHz vs 1020 MHz... I was "THIS CLOSE" to going with another brand- until I did my customer service research. XfX was a no brainer for me. My case, CoolerMaster HAF 932, didn't just fit the card and the liquid cooling radiator, it seemed it was made for it. So, why should YOU, or moreover, why WOULD you buy this card? Let me tell you why you DO NOT get this card. 1920x1080, at any frame rate, this is way more card than you NEED. An R9 290 or R9 290X will suit you VERY WELL. My "old card" was an HD7970. And it drove my 27" 1080p panel to 150 frames per second all day long. It broke my heart when I learned the 7970 got "rebranded" as the R9 280 when I found out (XfX, fact check this please) the 7970 nor the 280 support free sync, aka adaptice sync. A topic I'd been watching, perhaps like you, for the past 1.5-2.0 years. A n-e-w-e-g-g sale later, and I got me my 2560x1440p 144 Hz refresh rate monitor supporting "free sync." I had to run the monitor at 1080p to get the 7970 to stay at the 140+Hz mark. 2560x1440 crushed the 7970 down to just over 60 frames per second. And, no free sync, aka DP 1.2a, but they don't advertise like that. They just call it 1.2. 7970 supports 1.2 (I got the box), but not free sync- tell me if I am wrong?
But really, why this card? 2560x1440 is, I guess maybe 2k or 2.5k gaming. 4K is right around the corner, right? Yes. But, at what refresh rate? Last I checked 4k monitors were availabe at 30 Hz, or 30 frames per second. Even 60 Hz if you married into a family of software engineers. I'm a first person shooter guy, Battlefield 4 all day long; and 60 frames per second displayed to me AINT COMPETATIVE! 120 Hz/fps is a must to be competative. My new B-e-n-Q with free sync demanded more performance than my 7970 could do, and after much deliberation and research, the 295x2 was a no brainer.
NOTE: stay at 24" with 1080p. 27" at 1080p... you can almost see between the pixels. If this is you- an R9 290 single GPU is an equally "awesomeness" choice.
Cons: All the hype about power requirements and how hard it is to fit in your case. Only you, and with a little research, YOU CAN KNOW if this card will physically fit in your case. Its about 2.25" longer than a 7970. And of course there is the radiator. Make sure you have room. Google it. Heck, call XfX and tell them your case, ask them if it will fit.
Another con. My core i7 940 is LGA 1366 in an x58 mobo, 6 Gb ram. My x58 mobo technology only supports PCI-e x16 rev 2.0, aka 2.5 Gbit thru put. This card supports PCI-e x16 rev 3.0, aka 5 Gbit thru put. I thought the card would "limp along" in my system- it SCREAMS. Oops, thats another pro, not a con.
Power Requirements on the web are, grrrrrr- misleading? AMD's website calls out 4 different power supplies; 4 different manufacturers. Very non-partisan. 1500 watt this, 1600 watt that... really? I call REALY!! Prior to my purchase, I used web based power supply calculators; 3 of them. 910 Watts was the general consensus. Then I downloaded a popular CPU-iD program variant called, I think, (hardware monitor) HW monitor. The HW monitor program seemed to show me that between my mobo and CPU, I was pulling 320+ watts. Add to that 500 nominal and 600 peak watts for the R9 295x5, and I am easily at 820 to 920 watts. Although I have a quality TX750w power supply in already; even I know 750 is less than 820. Wanting to avoid a house fire, I opted for an AX-1-2-0-0-i. A review to come soon (no- it didn't burst into flames either). The AX, given a mobo USB (NOT 1394, no!!) header proclaims at can tell you about power supply input/output volts, and current, and watts, and effeciancy. Darn thing says I am pulling max while gaming 662.1 watts. Unigine Valley Benchmark set at 2560x1440 at Ultra could only get the power supply to register 717.3 watts max.
1080p is not 1440p. And 1440p is not 4032p. And a card like this R9 295x5 is still under-utilized until you ask it for full 4k. I can see how asking this card to work at 1440p, and she says, "less than 650 watts Sir", can become a fire hazzard when you change your (display device) mind and ask for 4k, and AMD's flagship obeys- and she burns you house down.
Pros: Missing the Displayport cable is not a "pro", but newegg customer service is. Currently using the supplied dual-link DVI. Running BF4 at 1080P @ 120 fps, and then upscaling via the BenQ interface to fill the display. 2560x1440 @60 hz was an ingame option, but I really want to see the higher frame rates. I have a displayport cable on order and should be here in 7-9 days :( I was expecting my video card to take a hit in performance, it didn't. Then again, I'm only 1080P at 120hz. And yes, I can tell the difference from 75 hz to 120 hz. "Buttery smooth" is a fair description. Once the DisplayPort cable arrives, I'll see if this monitor can get the full 2560 x 1440 @ 144 hz.
Cons: As far as horrible colors out of the box... I don't see that. It is CRAZY bright in its default settings. I have not looked to dim the display. Turning on "motion blur" makes it much darker, but that is easily compensated for in the 'darkness correction'.
Overall Review: If you are a Battlefield 4 fan, and you follow the CTE (community test environment), then you are aware that DICE is considering tieing client updates to your FPS. Even without this added bonus to high quality machines, my kdr is improved a bit. Mt aim is as bad as it ever was, but with the increase in visual quality- I can see where I am mis-aiming.
Pros: I am writing this initial review on a computer using this monitor. So yeah, it works. Its nice that the monitor doesn't need a separate power supply like a laptop- or my previous 27" view sonic. Old ViewSonic was 1080P resolution. Now, every word of text is much smaller, and much more crisp. I can actually read text better. After 2 minutes... I'll have to fix webpage font size, it too small. The stand might be worth over-paying (paying too much cash) for the monitor. The stand is the best stand that ever shipped with a monitor - I suppose. I played with the stand before I mounted the monitor on it- I didn't understand how it work. Then I followed the "quick-set-up-guide"... Monitor weight and stand = wow.... (I guess they engineered that part). Out of the box, very impressive.
Also- it fits where my old 27" once sat, and it power cord requirements are simpler, no DC supply.
Cons: supposedly the color "out of the box" need calibration. Looks fine to me, but everything is small. At $300 US this is an awesome monitor for web browsing. For $600.00 US I need to put it thru its paces. HD7970. freesynch not supported, i know that. and then driver issues..... I will follow up... Can a monitor really make you a better player.... gosh netcode....
Overall Review: other thoughts.... I might not give more feed back... I might just pwn you. i know, its not fair- I know....
Pros: Newegg tech support guy nailed it, and my hold time was about 1 minute. Look for an option in the interface to send the sound to the headset output, and make sure you are plugged into the headset output. And yes, my eyes rolled when he said it- but he was right.
And yes, it sounds incredible. I've spent the last 3 days tweaking the setting for BF4 and I must say, its like cheating. I can hear everything. Tho I mostly play Metro 64 player and the explosions are non-stop- if I need to find an enemy that "broke thru" and he moves, I'll hear him. Simply AMAZING!!
Cons: Though it works awesome when gaming (the reason I bought it), I got my first BSOD when clicking play on a video from "you web place". The first BSOD the machine had EVER. Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 rev 1, i7 940, hd7970, 6 Gig., win 7-64. And my best guess is the 64 bit OS after much evening research. Removing the card did not stop the BSOD, uninstalling the driver utility did not stop the BSOD. Thank goodness for Windows 7 restore points. I found the restore point from the day before I installed this card and my system is not BSOD'ing anymore. My last hope was BIOS. I am not going to go with beta BIOS in hope of addressing the issue, BIOS is official version up to date. Also, if you google this card with BSOD, the top result is vip dot asus dot com forum with a "solution". There is a guy cranking out drivers to address the issue for all flavors of the Xonar card. If you are running 32 bit OS, fear not this card. But 64 bit, not so much... Also, PCI-E 1X is a teenie tiny little bus. I tried it in both PCI-E 8x and 16X. Card performed the same in each. Sounds INCREDIBLE in-game, BSOD surfing the web watching videos.
Overall Review: If I had a second machine up and running for web and email, there is no way I would be returning this card. It is flawless when you ask it to perform. But ask it to do simple stuff- oops. So its 1 of 2 things. Either I got a bad one, or ASUS needs to fix the driver. And there is a VERY good chance I will buy this card again and see if that one can handle the web as well as state of the art games. I spoke with Asus customer support twice, and newegg once. I highly recommend this card if you are a competition gamer and its a dedicated box. One more thing- one of the biggest reasons I choose this card was levelcapgaming's review of this card and his statement that he can "hear an enemy to with 10 degees of accuracy". Wish I had more time with this card, but yeah- it is (nearly) that awesome. And lastly, levelcap's assessment was on a pair of AD700's. Me, I use Sennheiser PC 330 G4ME, 32 ohm, perfection to 22kHz.
Sending this card back is a heart break.... maybe I should just build me an i3 for web browsing.... humm... Newegg, coupon please?
Newegg support (tech/RMA/etc) is why you buy from Newegg. Indisputable fabulous customer service. If you are reading this review and looking to drop this kind of money on a sound card, this IS the place to buy it from. Happy Hunting.