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Review: PowerColor Radeon R9 290 PCS+

by Tarinder Sandhu on 26 February 2015, 16:30

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD), PowerColor (6150.TWO)

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Power Consumption, Temperature and Noise

The Radeons score well in pure gaming benchmarks, but such performance prowess does come at a cost. The under-load figure is substantially higher than a GTX 970 OC.

That overbearing cooler does a good job at keeping the Hawaii GPU in good shape.

Here's where the catch is. PowerColor programs the card to run the trio of fans at a minimum 30 per cent speed when idling, which we believe to be too high. Of rather more concern is how the fans ramp up when gaming load is applied. Our logs show the fans spin at 76 per cent of maximum capacity under duress, pushing fan speed to over 3,000rpm.

The fans are clearly audible when gaming, to the point of becoming annoying. PowerColor should let the temperature rise to, say, 80°C and lower the associated fan speed.

Switching over to the second BIOS profile available on the card reduces maximum speed to 66 per cent (2,740rpm) and noise to 43.8dB. Temperature meanwhile jumps to just 72°C.

There's an easy solution, mind, which involves setting a manual fan speed in Catalyst Control Centre. We chose 45 per cent and watched the under-load temperature rise to an acceptable 83°C. Noise dropped to a more reasonable 39.6dB, as well.