AMD Radeon R9 295X2 review

$1,500 buys plenty of compute power and massive performance increases over single-core cards.

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AMD has officially released its dual core Radeon R9 295X2, much earlier than expected.

Originally AMD was expected to launch the card either at Computex, or as the showpiece of a spring tech day. However as the launch date drew closer there were some signs that AMD was targeting a spring launch for the card.

AMD has been hyping this card all spring, with the card first being known under its codename of “Vesuvius.” The card features dual-Hawaii XT cores each clocked at 1.02GHz, 8GB of GDDR5 memory, 5,632 stream processors, and the ARES II water-air cooler.

Below is a chart showing the card’s specs in comparison to other Radeon cards:

xx AMD Radeon R9 295X2 review

It should be noted that the Radeon R9 295X2 is simply two Radeon R9 290 cards on one PCB, so multiplying data from one Radeon R9 290 card by two would get the same results.

Taking a closer look

AMD has made a number of tweaks to the Radeon R9 290’s architecture in order to fit two of them on one board. One of the more interesting tweaks is with power consumption: the Radeon R9 295X2 consumers 500W of power, but only uses two 8 pin PCIe connectors. Each Hawaii core still uses the 4 + 1 + 1 phase power supply.

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A Radeon R9 295X2 next to a regular Radeon 7990

A big complaint with many users of the first Radeon R9 290 cards was that they were excessively noisy. With the Radeon R9 295X2, AMD has effectively remedied this with the ARES II cooler. Although water cooling setups are not too common, for those that have the capability the card fully supports this option.

AMD has chosen to use SK Hynix as a memory supplier for this card.

Benchmarking

Considering the sheer power of this card, the only proper test resolution would be 3840 x 2160.

Below are the specs of the system used for benchmarking:

  • Intel Core [email protected]

  • ASUS Rampage IV Extreme Black Edition

  • G.Skill 8GB 2133MHz DDR RIPJAWS Z x 8

  • DC S3500 Intel SSD 400GB

  • Corsair H105

  • Corsair RM1000

  • ASUS PQ321

As the chart below shows, the gap between the Radeon R9 295X2 and the Radeon HD 7990 is quite large — at least 30 percent.

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For some games, such as Thief running in Mantle, the gap between the two cards is close to 100 percent.

During temperature testing, it’s easy to see the return on investment the ARES II cooler brings. With AIDA64 we can see that the card’s maximum temperature is 70 degrees, with a resting temperature of 67 degrees.

temp 1024x627 AMD Radeon R9 295X2 review

After the card was set to standby, the temperature dropped to between 40 and 38 degrees.

The card’s power consumption hit a maximum of 604W, while it was at 150W during standby mode.

Conclusion: A powerful card, but what’s the point?

For those who need the graphics compute capabilities this card can provide, there’s truly no other alternative. The card has some serious muscle, and it’s clearly the most powerful card on the market. But who exactly is this card targeted towards? Professional graphics users are going to default to the FirePro. That’s the card AMD has marketed towards them for years. Granted the Radeon R9 295X2 would do exceptionally well in this market, but Radeon is a gaming brand. Count most of the cryptocurrency mining community out, as ASIC miners geared towards Litecoin and other alt-coins are hitting the market in due course.

But for those who, for whatever reason, want this kind of power there’s no alternative to the Radeon R9 295X2. It’s just that much more powerful than the competition.

The Radeon R9 295X2 is available now from retails for $1,500.

Benchmarking was completed by the Chinese VR-Zone team.

Pros:

  • A mighty powerful card at the right price.
  • ARES II cooler ensures it stays cool and quiet.

Cons:

  • No definite use-case for the card.
  • The ARES II card it watercooler mode is unsightly.

8 5 AMD Radeon R9 295X2 review

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