How annoying is the R9 290 stock fan

dn7309

Senior member
Dec 5, 2012
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Thinking about getting the 290 but wanted to know if the stock fan is bare able under normal gaming 1440p. I'm not planning to overclock just use stock speed.

And since this us design to run at 95 degrees will it throttle?
 

Gloomy

Golden Member
Oct 12, 2010
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Well it'd vary depending on opinion. Personally I think you should avoid it. However, it's not noticeable if you use headphones to game.

It's just really bad though. Even if it were quiet, it keeps the GPU too hot, and hampers performance. I'm replacing the cooler on mine pretty soon.
 

RaulF

Senior member
Jan 18, 2008
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It's pretty bad.

If you use headphones is a moot point. The Nvidia blower can also get pretty loud, but for some reason is not as harsh (sorry don't know another way to describe it). I think is because the Nvidia blowers have a passthruh design for the intake part of the card. While AMD the intake is at the blower itself.

radeon-290x-hsf.jpg


GeForce-GTX-780_4.jpg


See the big opening! AMD does not have something like that. The intake of the AMD blower is the fan pretty much. It does have a few small holes around the fan, but i think they actually cause the sound issue with the card.

I believe that's causing some harmonics to come out of the AMD blower that are more noticeable than the nvidia design.
 
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lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
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However, it's not noticeable if you use headphones to game.

That assessment would also vary depending on opinion. In my opinion, any fan noise above the smooth and consistent idling of my PC is easily noticed through headphones, and a reference fan would be easily noticed even when there's a lot going on in-game. It'd be massively annoying.

My advice to OP: just get a 3rd party card. I'd probably get a Sapphire because I've been so happy with the cooler of my 7950 Vapor-X as well as the 7950 Dual-X before it. However if you can buy from newegg, there's MSI Gaming for $430 AR, it should be one of the quietest cards.
 
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lavaheadache

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2005
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I actually have a brand new unused Twin Frozr cooler from an Msi card that I bought for my original 290x that I had to RMA. Pm me if you are interested
 

VulgarDisplay

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2009
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If you are buying new why get a reference card? Fan noise and cooling are not issues on aftermarket cards.
 

wand3r3r

Diamond Member
May 16, 2008
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It's barely sufficient to keep the card right at the throttling point. I don't get throttling in BF4 when I checked at uber on the 290x's.

I've had my cards running 24/7 for a while mining which requires more fan noise to reduce throttling and I really despise the noise. Then again I went to an open bench and a case would probably muffle it a bit more, and gaming is never as intense as mining. It's like running furmark.

I would buy aftermarket unless you get a smoking deal. If you are buying new that Gaming linked above is a great deal and is sooooo worth the $30 more then reference.

My take: Avoid reference. Reference may be acceptable but it's subjective and hard to guess your taste or what you're accustomed to, but it's borderline on the verge of the throttling point. It is a little loud to my taste having been accustomed to aftermarket cards for a long time.
 
Feb 19, 2009
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Don't waste your money on reference design these days when so many similar priced custom models offer so much more: Better performance since they don't throttle, less noise and a cooler GPU.

Outside of compatibility with waterblocks, there's few reasons to ever use reference AMD cards. Their blowers are horrible.
 

Headfoot

Diamond Member
Feb 28, 2008
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The sound is really not that bad. People are either extraordinarily sensitive or blowing it out of proportion for political purposes.

Still, I would agree to get an aftermarket cooler version purely for the temperature improvements with the noise as a nice side benefit, even if its $50 more
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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Yep, get an aftermarket card. The reference models are fairly restricted in performance ceiling due to the design, and it's loud to boot.

R290/290X are designed to operate at 100% until a certain temp is reached, then they throttle until they reach a target safe temp, then they will ramp up again, throttle again, etc. With a moderately warm room and a less than perfect case, you can get quite a lot of throttling and noise.

Aftermarket cards are better in every respect, and really unleash the excellent silicon that AMD worked so hard on. I honestly feel the initial cards were genuinely let down by the shoddy stock cooling design. When given a better air cooler, to say nothing of WC, noise goes down, throttling happens much less, and performance can be raised up a good bit.

Eg : this Gigabyte OC model 290 is about as fast as a reference 290X :

http://www.techspot.com/review/762-gigabyte-radeon-r9-290-oc/page3.html
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
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To repeat, if you're buying new, get one with an aftermarket cooler. Depending on how you game, the reference cooler will be at the edge of tolerances.

Even if noise is something you can live with, the superior coolers on the aftermarket models will let the 290 run at its boost clocks much longer.
 

Gloomy

Golden Member
Oct 12, 2010
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R290/290X are designed to operate at 100% until a certain temp is reached, then they throttle until they reach a target safe temp, then they will ramp up again, throttle again, etc. With a moderately warm room and a less than perfect case, you can get quite a lot of throttling and noise.

That's not how it works. It reaches a temperature, and stays there. It won't run the fan faster than it needs to. It won't cool itself down.

And it retargets so fast monitoring software may not even catch clocks dipping and coming up again. So even if you think it's not throttling-- it might still be throttling. Microthrottling.

A properly cooled card will sometimes end up being faster than an improperly cooled card at the same clocks.
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
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That's not how it works. It reaches a temperature, and stays there. It won't run the fan faster than it needs to. It won't cool itself down.

And it retargets so fast monitoring software may not even catch clocks dipping and coming up again.

So even if you think it's not throttling-- it might still be throttling. Microthrottling.

Oh, I've watched both the clock frequencies throttle up and down using both AMD's Catalyst drivers and GPU-Z. Set the target GPU temperature at 75-85C, allow the fan to hit 100%, and you'll see the drivers drop the core clock down 30-40% to try hit it. Thats not microthrottling, you can see it plain as day.
 

dn7309

Senior member
Dec 5, 2012
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look like I will getting after market then. As soon as I can unload my GTX 660 I'll jump on the 290 bandwagon with my fantasy basketball winnings :p
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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Oh, I've watched both the clock frequencies throttle up and down using both AMD's Catalyst drivers and GPU-Z. Set the target GPU temperature at 75-85C, allow the fan to hit 100%, and you'll see the drivers drop the core clock down 30-40% to try hit it. Thats not microthrottling, you can see it plain as day.

Yep. I've installed dozens of the things, and have seen it myself time and time again : they're limited by the stock cooling in terms of performance. To use a terrible car analogy : it's like a Vette ZR1 with a radiator from a Smart Car. Ridiculously good silicon, ridiculously naff stock cooler.

The difference between a stock R9 290, and a great aftermarket-cooled 290 (or 290+water) is something to behold in both noise and temps.

To be clear, I'm not saying that anyone who bought a reference 290 is dumb or anything stupid like that, I supplied many a reference 290 to people. What is basically undeniable though is that there may have never been a card made before so obviously unleashed and improved as the 290/290X cards. You get better, more consistent performance, and lower noise, and you can even target lower temps if you wish.

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/msi_radeon_r9_290x_gaming_oc_review,18.html
 

blastingcap

Diamond Member
Sep 16, 2010
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I own reference and aftermarket 290s.

In a decently cooled case, at stock speeds, under normal loads (not mining or Furmark), the difference is undetectable (zero to minimal throttling) and it's not much noisier than a stock 7970.

The difference is if you want to overvolt/overclock heavily, then you should either be okay with cranking up fan speed an noise, or go with an aftermarket design. But I would not pay a huge price premium. Keep in mind that a 290 is still one of the fastest GPUs on the planet even at stock.

Also, keep in mind that aftermarket parts need to breathe and suffocate in crossfire. Well, one of the cards gets flowing air but the other probably has less than an inch gap between it and the hot backplate of the 290 beneath it. That suffocating card will suffer reference or non-reference. In fact the reference card might actually be better since it's a powerful blower design so it WILL get its air, even if it has to generate more noise to do it. Whereas an axial (non blower) fan will struggle.
 
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Z15CAM

Platinum Member
Nov 20, 2010
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Right now I got 2 x's Reference Sapphire R9 290X Elpida CRAP in Crossfire running a 96Hz QNIX 2710 PLS Display.

It's FAST and relatively quiet running BF4 using AB with a Custom Fan Profile.

My platform is set up for Water Cooling and that's what I will be doing with these 2 Reference Cards - shortly.

My biggest complaint about these Hawaii cards are that most of them have Elpida Ram which is very Temperature and Voltage fickle for OC'g - which I do - AND you never know what vRam your going to get with these cards.

In my opinion, VRM and vRam cooling is more critical then GPU cooling on these cards if you intent to over volt.

Under water with a reputable WB like an EK or XSPC you can run a single Reference R9 290x with Elpida CRAP easily and QUIETLY at 1230 - 1500 using a +0.156 VDDC off-set 24/7.

With reference cooled 290X's Elpida CRAP in Cross fire I tend to hit a limit of 1130-1300 with a +0.068 VDDC off-set. Don't whinz it's Fast and Stable and can sound like a jet taking off when loaded but it does keep the VRM's relatively cool. I've yet to see how fast Crossfire 290/X's will run under water.

One thing I know is that Samsung and Hynix Hawaii Cards is not as Voltage fickle as Elpida Cards and much easier to OC and runs cooler.

I see potential for a 4320 x 2560 res display with Hawaii in crossfire and you need at least a 1000W PSU. An 850W will do 290/X Crossfire if you don't OC. 850W if you OC a Single and a 750 if you don't.

Make no mistake AMD's Hawaii decimates nVida at Higer Resolutions and for Video Realism that's what it's all about when we look at our screens.

As to the Op's title "How annoying is the R9 290 stock fan"

Depends where you're at, considering you can hit 1130 x 1300 with a + 0.068mV VDDC off-set with the Reference cooler Screaming and keep the card under 90C and doesn't throttle.

 
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dn7309

Senior member
Dec 5, 2012
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beside stock blower, is there any aftermarket card maker that also used custom blower. I can entertain the possibility of going dual graphic card in the future, but having an open air card will raise a lot of heat when the top card is starving for fresh air.
 

LittleNemoNES

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
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Very loud. Obnoxious, even.

I got rid of it and got a 780 ti which was very quiet.

Of course I really wanted to try out AMD Mantle so I got rid of that too and bought a Sapphire Tri-X OC 290x.

Unfortunately it is also pretty loud. Mine also has a lot of coil whine. It's too bad prices are plummeting for R9s cos I would consider going back to a 780ti due to comparable performance and quiet fans.

You will see people who will say theirs is quiet but I can't see how.
 

VulgarDisplay

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2009
6,193
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Very loud. Obnoxious, even.

I got rid of it and got a 780 ti which was very quiet.

Of course I really wanted to try out AMD Mantle so I got rid of that too and bought a Sapphire Tri-X OC 290x.

Unfortunately it is also pretty loud. Mine also has a lot of coil whine. It's too bad prices are plummeting for R9s cos I would consider going back to a 780ti due to comparable performance and quiet fans.

You will see people who will say theirs is quiet but I can't see how.

My tri-x shroud vibrates at 40-45% fan speed. Another user at over clock said his card does the same thing. Try to manually set your fan speed to 45% and when it starts to rattle touch the plastic of the shroud to see if it stops.