Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X 4GB Graphics Card Review

by - 7 years ago



Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X (4)

When the AMD R9 290X hit the market everyone was impressed with the fantastic value for money offered – performance that could challenge and often easily beat the GTX 780 for a fraction of the price at the time of release. Nvidia of course responded with price cuts but AMD did even more to undercut the R9 290X than Nvidia did by releasing the R9 290. The R9 290 is $150 cheaper than the R9 290X and offers only a tiny drop-off in performance. Of course we aren’t here to review the AMD R9 290, we’ve already done that here, but what we are doing today is looking at our first non-reference R9 290 graphics card from an AMD partner.

The generous AMD partner is Sapphire and they’ve provided us with their Tri-X AMD R9 290 graphics card. For the eagle-eyed reader with a good memory you make see the rather obvious similarities with this graphics card and the Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Edition graphics card we recently reviewed. The similarity comes from the shared Tri-X cooling solution. In the case of the R9 290 it really needs this kind of high performance cooling solution because it is a graphics card that produces a lot of heat and gulps its way through a lot of power, even at stock clocks. However, Sapphire have been brave and taken clock speeds from 947MHz to 1000MHz on the core and bumped the memory up to 5200MHz from 5000MHz. This is going to result in even more heat so the Tri-X cooler is a necessary addition.


Sapphire’s packaging has the usual feature bubbles along the bottom pointing out key things like UEFI BIOS compatibility, the fact it is overclocked and using the Tri-X cooling solution.

Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X (1)

The rear of the packaging contains more product details and explanations of the features. You can check out more details about the product at the official product page here.

Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X (2)

Included with Sapphire’s R9 290 Tri-X graphics card is a 1.8m HDMI 1.4a cable, molex to 6 pin power supply adapter, dual molex to 8 pin power supply adapter, driver CD, Sapphire case badge/sticker and some documentation.Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X (3)

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. A Closer Look
  3. Testing Procedure
  4. 3DMark 11
  5. 3DMark 2013
  6. Unigine Heaven 4.0
  7. Alien Vs. Predator
  8. Bioshock Infinite
  9. Battlefield 4
  10. Dirt Showdown
  11. Metro Last Light
  12. Sleeping Dogs
  13. Tomb Raider
  14. Scrypt Hashing
  15. Acoustics
  16. Power Consumption
  17. Temperatures
  18. Overclocking
  19. Final Thoughts
  20. View All

Author Bio

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10 Comments on Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X 4GB Graphics Card Review

  • Avatar charley machicote says:

    would love to own 1 or 2 of these cards would up me to the next level of gaming……!!!! Happy New year all

  • Avatar Eroticus says:

    2 Years ? i got on mine 290x 3 years o.O

  • Avatar Armitage says:

    With your Unigine Heaven tests, did you use any anti-aliasing or tesselation?

  • Avatar Rob1987 says:

    The cart looks rigged.
    how can a AMD R9-290 OC beat a R9-290 Tri-x OC Sapphires cards a pretty well known for their overclocking value.
    but i’ll see it for myself once i get mine in the mail, i’m pretty sure i can squeez it up to 1200mhz core clock without artificing. and depending on the memory chips perhaps i get lucky and get Hynix and not Elpida then i am convinced i can get even more juice out of it probably under 1.3 volts.
    This card looks very beastly for its price 😀

    • Avatar Mune says:

      Looks like their OC results were definitely a little under par. Hardware Canucks managed to get much more impressive results. “By using TRIXX we were able to get the Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC we were able to hit 1251MHz on the core and 5666MHz on the GDDR5 with .085V of extra voltage. This vastly outstrips the levels attained by our reference samples and brings actual performance to some incredible levels.”

    • Avatar Ryan Martin says:

      Not rigged at all. Our R9 290 reference card reached a higher clock of 1100MHz i think. You’ll notice that the AMD R9 290 stock card only beats the Sapphire card with a fixed high fan speed to prevent thermal throttling. At default fan profiles it loses because of thermal throttling despite having a higher frequency. Overclocking on our sample was particularly poor, not rigged in any way just luck of the silicon lottery. Why would we “rig” it anyway? What do we have to gain by making a card look bad…

  • Avatar axlwhite says:

    The Tri-X is not so stable when it comes to benchmarks. Here it scores around 70FPS on COD Ghosts.

  • Avatar Pablo Jimenez says:

    You may not remember but please answer if you can / remember. You said the GPU measures 30 cm / 11.8 inches long but in many other reviews they say that the length is 305mm / 12″.
    The thing is that my GPU gap is 303mm and if it measures what you say it’ll fit but if it doesn’t it wont.
    If you don’t remember, when you review a graphic card do you usually measure it by yourself or do you say the manufacturer measures. I wish you can help me.

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year,

    • Avatar Ryan Martin says:

      305mm is the specified length by Sapphire’s specifications, just under 300mm is what I measured. The manufacturer spec includes the ‘lip’ of the PCI bracket which I don’t count because it’s irrelevant. By lip I mean the bit you screw into the PCI bracket cover.

      • Avatar Pablo Jimenez says:

        I contacted Sapphire and they told me that the card itself is arround 11.5 inches in length from the beginig of the PCB to the end of the card, without the piece of metal, same as you have just told me.

        Great review and awesome card btw.

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