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Apr
15
2014

AMD Radeon R9 295X2 Review - World's Fastest Gaming Graphics Card

AMD Radeon R9 295X2 Review - World's Fastest Gaming Graphics Card

Introduction

Ever since the Radeon HD 3870 X2, AMD has aimed to release a dual-GPU variant of its higher end graphics card. These dual-GPU cards have also become the hallmark for graphics card manufacturers and much of the issues that existed in the past have been fixed. With the new Radeon R9 295X2, AMD has slapped two fully unlocked Hawaii cores on a single PCB and aims to take back the crown from NVIDIA.

After multiple teasers which consisted of sending reviewers pictures with the hashtag #2betterthan1, AMD has finally released the much anticipated dual Hawaii GPU R9 295X2. Unlike previous designs, the reference R9 295X2 features a built-in all-in-one cooler to cool the GPUs and a fan in the middle to cool the VRM.

Same as with the R9 290 series, AMD has given the R9 295X2 a 512-bit memory bus with a total of 8GB of VRAM (4GB per GPU). It also features twice the shader units, ROPS and transistors of the 290X. All of this performance, however, comes at a cost. Considering the R9 290Xs were such power hungry cards, the dual-GPU variant is no different. The R9 295X2 is a 500W card which is the first reference card with 500W from either NVIDIA or AMD.

Dissipating 500W of heat takes a lot of engineering. AMD decided that a normal air-cooling solution wasn’t going to cut it so they went ahead and implemented a closed loop liquid cooling unit on the reference design. There are two Asetek pumps and a single 120mm radiator that are designed to cool the GPUs. The VRMs are left to be cooled by the single fan in the middle.

This doesn’t come as a surprise as the original reference design R9 290Xs ran pretty darn hot (94C). How does this card perform? Well you’ll just have to see our benchmarks down below.

Build Quality and Design

The R9 295X2 uses a mixture of plastic and metal and offers a unique aesthetic considering the card is cooled with a closed-loop solution. Taking into account the price of the card, AMD has beefed up the quality and the metal components offer a touch of luxury that we have been accustomed to with NVIDIA’s higher-end offerings.

The single red fan in the middle glows red and so does the RADEON logo that sits on the side of the card. The 120mm fan that resides on the radiator is controlled by the pumps on the graphics card and is thus not controllable by software.

Images courtesy of TPU

Benchmarks

Being one of the most popular franchises to date, Battlefield 4 is the latest addition to the series that takes full advantage of the latest hardware. For our settings, we set everything to Ultra with 4x MSAA enabled.

We chose to use Bioshock Infinite to test the video card due to its magnificent visual qualities and the fact that it is one of the most popular PC games out at the moment. This will allow us to get an accurate benchmark of how the card will perform in real life scenarios. We tested the AMD Radeon R9 290X and the other graphics cards using the built-in benchmark tool with ultra graphics and DDOF enabled.

The Crysis series has always been a staple in the benchmarking world. Considered to be one of the most demanding games out on the market, we put the card through a variety of in game scenarios to determine the average frame rate. For the settings we used 4X MSAA, Very High graphics.

Widely used to test the capability of a GPU, Heaven benchmark puts maximum stress on the GPU allowing you to check stability issues and real time performance of the card. It also generates real-time in game video that gives the user an accurate reading of the cards capability. The settings that we used to test the cards were as follows: High Quality, 4x Multisample Anti-Aliasing, and Normal Tessellation.

3DMark Fire Strike offers extensive features and unbiased results by testing the full potential of DirectX 11 hardware. It is considered to be the best option out there when trying to find out the power of one’s computer as it tests both the graphics and physics capabilities of a GPU.

Temperature

Conclusion

To sum it up, AMD has really stepped its game up and has delivered what we believe to be an excellent product. Not only is it the fastest graphics card that we have ever tested, it also comes in at a reasonable price point. The power requirement is a tough one and you need to make sure you buy a power supply that will work with the graphics card. If you use a power supply of cheaper quality, you run the risk of melting wires and rendering the card useless.

Seeing the all-in-one cooling solution on a reference design was a welcomed addition. It allowed the card to run cool and quiet as well as fix the issues that we have with the original R9 290X. In essence, the R9 295X2 is a beast and definitely is the best and most powerful graphics card currently out on the market for gaming.

 

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