Featured Image

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.

Overview

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.

 

Features

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.

 

Mantle

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

ASUS R9 270X DCII TOP

ASUS R9 270 DCII OC

R9 290X R9 290 R9 280X R9 270X R9 270
GPU Architecture 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
API Support DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3 DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3 DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3 DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3 DirectX® 11.2, Mantle, OpenGL 4.3
PCE Express® Version 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
AMD PowerTune Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
4K Resolution Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
DDMA Audio Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HDMI (With 4K, Stereo 3D, Deep Color & x.v.Color™) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TrueAudio Technology Yes Yes No No No
AMD Eyefinity Technology (Maximum displays) 3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub 3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub 3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub 3 with DVI/HDMI, 4 using DisplayPort, 6 with an MST hub 3 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) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPU Clock Speed Up to 1GHz Up to 947MHz Up to 1GHz Up to 1.05GHz Up to 925MHz
Memory Bandwidth Up to 320 GB/s Up to 320 GB/s Up to 288 GB/s Up to 104 GB/s Up to 104 GB/s
Memory Amount Up to 4GB GDDR5 Up to 4GB GDDR5 Up to 3GB GDDR5 Up to 4GB GDDR5 Up to 2GB GDDR5
Stream Processing Units Up to 2816 Up to 2560 Up to 2048 Up to 1280 Up to 1280
Required Power Supply Connectors 1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin 1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin 1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin 2 x 6-pin 1 x 6-pin
AMD CrossFire® Support (Maximum number of GPUs and CrossFire Bridge Interconnect required) 4, no 4, no 4, yes 2, yes 2, yes
Form Factor Full height, dual slot Full height, dual slot Full height, dual slot Full height, dual slot Full 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.

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

  1. Mike Bivins
    Mike Bivins 11 months 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.

  2. Mike Bivins
    Mike Bivins 11 months ago .Reply

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

  3. Joey
    Joey 11 months ago .Reply

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

  4. John D.
    John D. 11 months 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.

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      There is a dedicated heatsink for the VRM components as for the memory is cooled by direct airflow from the two fans. Overall thermal temperatures across the PCB including the memory are superior than that of reference this is due to the increase in ambient temperature for the GPU as a whole compared the open design with superior airflow of this non reference design. In this respect all components run cooler compared to the reference.

  5. Daryl Nelson
    Daryl Nelson 11 months ago .Reply

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

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      Stay tuned….

  6. John D.
    John D. 11 months 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.

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      Appreciate your feedback , with that noted we have perform aging tests and found this to not be an issue. Users with our SSU based 2 slot design from previous generations like the 600 series have had consistent and reliable memory overclocks without issues running for more than 1 year. In our aging tests we also found dust buildup in well laid out chassis was minimal and not impactful. We also always advise cleaning of your heatsink assemblies whether they be for the CPU cooler, VRM heatsink or the GPU heatsink and fan assembly on a bi monthly basis to ensure the best long term reliable operation. Regardless appreciate your feedback we are always looking to improve upon our designs when possible.

  7. BS
    BS 11 months 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?

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      AS DCII cards always feature non reference PCB designs as such require custom waterblocks. Please check EK and their cooling configurtor. We work very closely with them to have then release compatible non reference waterblocks.

  8. Jonathon William Thorpe

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

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      Yes it will also come with the metal strips that have adhesive allowing you to customize the look of the card.

      • Jonathon William Thorpe

        Thank you for the response.

        I know you can’t give an exact price, but do you happen to have a rough estimate on what the launch price will be? Maybe a ballpark number :)

        • Michael Bivins
          Michael Bivins 11 months ago .Reply

          More than a dollar, but less than $1,000.

          • Jonathon William Thorpe
            Jonathon William Thorpe 11 months ago .

            Well that is a ballpark number. But I think that range is flawed, what if it sells for $.99 or $1000.99, then we are out of the ballpark.

          • Michael Bivins
            Michael Bivins 11 months ago .

            Touche’ my friend, touche’

  9. Dan
    Dan 11 months ago .Reply

    Any idea on a release date?

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      As of right now we are looking for formal launch with availability some time in mid Jan 2014.

      • Dan
        Dan 11 months ago .Reply

        Great, thanks JJ.

  10. Chris K.
    Chris K. 11 months ago .Reply

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

    • JJ
      JJ 11 months ago .Reply

      Yes stayed tuned for more but there will be a DCII R9 290 ( non X ).

  11. 300k2o
    300k2o 9 months ago .Reply

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

    • JJ
      JJ 9 months ago .Reply

      The POSEIDON was a large undertaking in regards to design and development. We are hoping to have this be a new long term product line for ASUS GPUs. At this time though we are waiting to see what the feedback and demand from the community will be. If it is there you can rest assured we will offer it on both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

Leave a Reply