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ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II Preview

I have been getting  a lot of questions from the PCDIY community on if or when ASUS would be releasing a non reference version of the R9 290X. I am very excited to report that the wait is almost over. To further this update I have what you are really interested in photos! So with that lets get into it and check out the new ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II.


ASUS graphics RD have been  and continue to be hard at working taking the FPS beast that is the R9 290X and are tweaking it, tuning it and bringing all of our ASUS design magic to this card. What will come out of this process is another DirectCU II monster. A monster in all the right ways. As always you can expect the quality to be top notch while retaining the hallmarks of cool and quiet operation, great build quality and overall attention to detail. The ASUS R9 290X will of course feature all the same cutting edge specifications and technology support featured on current reference R9 290X cards but will be improved upon helping to assure non reference also means superior than reference. This is no easy task as you know the R9 290X is a powerhouse and features no less than 6.2 billion transistors and 2,816 stream processors. When packing this type of power, heat output and effective and efficient dissipation of that is heat is very important. One of the key reasons is temperature performance can affect performance and ultimately the game-play experience. As such ensuring  cool operation ensure stable operation as well as ensures optimal consistent performance under load. The R9 290X is a FPS powerhouse that is a given but along with that power it has high game load temperatures and the acoustics that are reasonable but not quiet. Additionally the choice of quieter or faster performance has to be considered by the user due to reference designs having a switch to enable different operating modes. These modes are quiet operation or uber operation. Our goal as always is to ensure the experience of gaming is improved upon in all the ways that matter. This means giving you a consistent level of performance, lower operating temperatures in game and overall quieter operation. This trifecta when paired with the pure FPS performance afforded by the 290X really enables an outstanding gaming experience. In addition it also means you do not have to decide between quiet or uber.


Design Aesthetic

With that out of the way let’s take a closer look at the upcoming ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II.

R9-290X-DirectCU-II-preview-1     R9-290X-DirectCU-II-preview-2     R9-290X-DirectCU-II-preview-3     R9-290X-DirectCU-II-preview-4

As you can see it is a classic DirectCU II design with aggressive but clean red and black styling. Featuring a metal shroud and an advanced heatsink and fan assembly. The R9 290X DirectCU II is ready to jump into some HqD or QHD gaming glory or even 4K if you want Crossfire this bad boy. The GPU definitely brings performance and IQ to the table and creates a truly immersive and impressive game-play. This is only a preview, so while I will not being going into complete specifics on the card or performance details I can flesh out some points.



Partial feature list of ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II

  • High performance but carefully tuned and optimized dual fan design, ensures outstanding thermal dissipation while offering quieter operation. In addition features two dust proof fans for improved reliability.
  • High quality and high performance non reference power delivery. Featuring Digi+ VRM which includes an advanced digital PWM for power delivery and control. The VRM is also comprised of SAP power components which include 5K SAP Capacitors, SAP ( fully molded ) high amperage chokes, SAP mosfets.
  • A large heatsink assembly with advanced heat dissipation design featuring extensive internal fins and multiple direct contact continuous heatpipes. This includes a large 10MM  heatpipe for further improved thermal dissipation.
  • A VRM heatsink to ensure cooling for the critical VRM components.
  • A backplate in classic high end DirectCU II design that not only offers a clean visual aesthetic but also aides in thermal dissipation.


For those of you not up to speed on some of the features of the R9 series of gpus check out some of the information below.


Taken from AMD specification page.

GCN Architecture

Primed to enable astonishing performance and breathtaking image quality, making it a top choice for gamers who expect the best.


Ultra Resolution Gaming

Leave HD in the dust by gaming on displays much, much larger. Whether using a 4k monitor or combining multiple HD monitors, you’ll get an expansive experience that’s truly out of sight.



There’s optimization, and then there’s Mantle. Games enabled with Mantle speak the language of GCN architecture to unlock revolutionary performance and image quality.


AMD Eyefinity technology

Enjoy the ultimate immersive gaming experience with innovative “wrap around” multidisplay capabilities.


AMD App Acceleration

Improve performance of everyday tasks such as Web browsing, office applications and video rendering.


AMD CrossFire™ technology

With outstanding performance scaling, a system equipped with AMD CrossFire™ technology keeps you fragging while everyone else is reaching for an upgrade.


AMD PowerTune technology

Enables intelligent power monitoring to enable higher clock speeds and better performance in your favorite games.5


AMD ZeroCore technology

Allows your AMD Radeon™ GPU to consume virtually no power when in idle state.


AMD HD3D technology

Play 3D games, watch Blu-ray 3D videos, and edit 3D photos on your 3D monitor, TV or projector.


For those of you that want a quick refresher on where the 290X sits in comparison to the rest of the R series Radeons check out the table below. The specification table below is taken from AMD R9 series specification page. Please keep in mind ASUS non reference DirectCU II solutions like the R9 280X, R9 270X, R9 270 are already all available.

* Specifications for ASUS R9 series may differ please reference the website for more information.

ASUS R9 280X Matrix

ASUS R9 280X DCII TOP V2 – 3 Slot

ASUS R9 280X DCII TOP – 2 Slot



R9 290XR9 290R9 280XR9 270XR9 270
GPU Architecture28nm28nm28nm28nm28nm
API SupportDirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3
PCE Express® Version3.
AMD PowerTune TechnologyYesYesYesYesYes
4K Resolution SupportYesYesYesYesYes
DDMA AudioYesYesYesYesYes
HDMI (With 4K, Stereo 3D, Deep Color & x.v.Color™)YesYesYesYesYes
TrueAudio TechnologyYesYesNoNoNo
AMD Eyefinity Technology (Maximum displays)3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub
Video Codec Engine (VCE) (with H.264, MPEG-4 ASP, MPEG-2, VC-1 & Blu-ray 3D)YesYesYesYesYes
GPU Clock SpeedUp to 1GHzUp to 947MHzUp to 1GHzUp to 1.05GHzUp to 925MHz
Memory BandwidthUp to 320 GB/sUp to 320 GB/sUp to 288 GB/sUp to 104 GB/sUp to 104 GB/s
Memory AmountUp to 4GB GDDR5Up to 4GB GDDR5Up to 3GB GDDR5Up to 4GB GDDR5Up to 2GB GDDR5
Stream Processing UnitsUp to 2816Up to 2560Up to 2048Up to 1280Up to 1280
Required Power Supply Connectors1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin2 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin
AMD CrossFire® Support (Maximum number of GPUs and CrossFire Bridge Interconnect required)4, no4, no4, yes2, yes2, yes
Form FactorFull height, dual slotFull height, dual slotFull height, dual slotFull height, dual slotFull height, dual slot


That wraps up our quick preview on the upcoming R9 290X DirectCU II. Be sure to check back soon for more information on the soon. For those wondering about release time frame mid to late January is the targeted time frame.

25 Responses to "ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II Preview"

  1. Kris
    Kris 6 months ago .Reply

    JJ, I hope you can help me.. I have Asus R9 280x DCIIT.. whatever I try to do I can't get it to "boot" on my Asus A88X-Gamer motherboard.. I did try to flash bios.. "Adapter not found", In device manager it's listed as Unknown device (using my old card..) and I can't install drivers. Atiwinflash: No ATI discrete graphic found. Green lights at both connectors and both fans spinning)

    PSU:Corsair TX650 (54A on one 12v rail)
    CPI:Athlon x4 860K stock clocks
    MB:Asus A88X-Gamer latest ( A88X-GAMER BIOS 1501
    改善系統穩定性 (whatever this mean)) bios
    2x4gigs kingston 1600mhz mem
    1 wd black hdd

  2. 300k2o
    300k2o 2 years ago .Reply

    Will we see something similar to the 780 Posideon in an AMD counterpart?

  3. Chris K.
    Chris K. 3 years ago .Reply

    Are you guys planning on releasing a DCII R9 290 non x version as well?

  4. Dan
    Dan 3 years ago .Reply

    Any idea on a release date?

  5. Jonathon William Tho

    Will the card have the color sticker options like the 780 Ti? Red, gold, or just all black (no sticker)

  6. BS
    BS 3 years ago .Reply

    Is this card still going to be compatible with the reference design water blocks or have the changes that ASUS made going to make incompatible?

  7. John D.
    John D. 3 years ago .Reply

    I don't like to be the guy that rains on someone's parade, but regarding heatsinks for the GDDR – if it was deemed worthwhile to have them for current and older nvidia and AMD high end video cards i think it would have been worth it for this card as well.

    When people buy non reference cards they will want to OC, inclunding the RAM. In time dust will accumulate both on the chips and within the heatsink which will constrict airflow and the RAM chips will be proned to overheating.

    A cheap metal sheet would have been worth the investment, in my opinion, just like it was worth it with other high end models.

  8. Daryl Nelson
    Daryl Nelson 3 years ago .Reply

    They should impliment a similar if not the same cooler to the R9 290 version at a cheaper price point.

  9. John D.
    John D. 3 years ago .Reply

    I did not read the whole article but i only found "• VRM heatsink to ensure cooling for the critical VRM components". Does this mean that the GDDR chips won't have any heatsink on them? In the 2nd picture from top to bottom it kind of looks like one of the RAM chips is not covered by anything.

    Imo, if this it's true, than it might be a downgrade even from the reference cooler, which although loud, you can at least expect it to cool all the components.

  10. Joey
    Joey 3 years ago .Reply

    Awesome, can't wait to see benchmarks, might have to go amd

  11. Mike Bivins
    Mike Bivins 3 years ago .Reply

    JJ, Is there an ETA on DirectCU II GTX 780 availability?

  12. Mike Bivins
    Mike Bivins 3 years ago .Reply

    Another beautiful card from ASUS. Now the R9 290X's value has really increased. The noise won't be an issue any longer.

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