MSI Radeon R9 290 

Released December, 2013
  • 1 GHz
  • 4 GB GDDR5
7.1 Out of 10

NVIDIA's GTX 780, which has seen a price drop down to $500 last week suddenly looks really expensive, but it does run cooler and quieter; not sure if that's worth the extra $100.
by techPowerUp!
It yields additional performance to beat the GTX 780 by increasing maximum fan speed from 40% to 47.
by techPowerUp!

GPUBoss Review Our evaluation of the Radeon R9 290 among Desktop GPUs


Radeon R9 290
Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Bioshock Infinite and 21 more


Radeon R9 290
T-Rex, Manhattan, Cloud Gate Factor, Sky Diver Factor and 1 more


Radeon R9 290
Face Detection, Ocean Surface Simulation and 3 more

Performance per Watt

Radeon R9 290
Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Bioshock Infinite and 32 more


Radeon R9 290
Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Bioshock Infinite and 32 more

Noise and Power

Radeon R9 290
TDP, Idle Power Consumption, Load Power Consumption and 2 more


Overall Score

Radeon R9 290

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Radeon R9 290

Bitcoin mining Data courtesy CompuBench

Radeon R9 290
540.64 mHash/s
GeForce GTX 770
103.88 mHash/s
GeForce GTX 970
488.73 mHash/s

Face detection Data courtesy CompuBench

Radeon R9 290
89.33 mPixels/s
GeForce GTX 970
148.87 mPixels/s
GeForce GTX 770
49.59 mPixels/s

Ocean surface simulation Data courtesy CompuBench

Radeon R9 290
1,366.31 frames/s
GeForce GTX 770
1,095.72 frames/s
GeForce GTX 970
1,586.77 frames/s

T-Rex (GFXBench 3.0) Data courtesy CompuBench

Radeon R9 290
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 770

Manhattan (GFXBench 3.0) Data courtesy CompuBench

Radeon R9 290
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 770

Fire Strike Factor Data courtesy FutureMark

Radeon R9 290

Sky Diver Factor Data courtesy FutureMark

Radeon R9 290

Crysis 3

Radeon R9 290

Reviews Word on the street for the Radeon R9 290

You still get four independent tessellation units, 64 ROPs, a 512-bit wide memory interface, and 4 GB of memory running at 5.00 GHz, churning out 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight


One cornerstone for this impressive performance is AMD's updated driver: it switches the upper fan speed limit from 40% to 47%, which yields higher performance because it allows the card to throttle later.
by techPowerUp!
The driver does not affect the fan speed/performance ratio of any other AMD product.
by techPowerUp!
I'm don't really know why AMD increased the fan speed limit at the last minute instead of looking into making the card quieter and doubt many people will care about a few percent in performance, or whether the card beats the GTX 780.
by techPowerUp!


As soon as you play any games on the card, though, the experience becomes extremely noisy.
by techPowerUp!
Averaged over all our games and resolutions, the card exactly matches the performance of the Radeon R9 290X in "Quiet" mode, and the difference is just - 6%, very little, compared to the R9 290X in "Uber" mode.
by techPowerUp!
It is functionally very similar to the CHiL controllers we've seen on previous generation cards and provides software voltage control and extensive monitoring via I2C.
by techPowerUp!


With load temperatures of 94°C, the card already runs very hot, but even at those temperatures, the fan needs to run at a deafening 49 dBA to handle the heat.
by techPowerUp!
Temperatures are quite high.
by techPowerUp!
Especially its gaming temperatures at 94°C seem very high, but AMD apparently had no other choice since the card had to be kept at somewhat sane noise levels (it's still extremely noisy).
by techPowerUp!


GPU overclocking is a bit lower than what we've seen on the R9 290X, but that's to be expected, assuming AMD is sorting GPUs to use the best ones on R9 290X cards.
by techPowerUp!
Being a new device, though, it might take a bit until it is fully supported in overclocking software.
by techPowerUp!
Overclocking of our card worked reasonably well and did yield positive performance improvements (remember, the R9 290X in quiet mode scaled negatively during OC), but a bug in the BIOS seems to hold back memory overclocking—the memory could clock much higher and did so on the R9 290X using the exact same PCB and components.
by techPowerUp!


The TMU count is down from 176 to 160, and the GPU core clock speed is 948 MHz instead of 1000 MHz.
by techPowerUp!
The cooler also cools memory chips and voltage regulation circuitry.
by techPowerUp!

Specifications Full list of technical specs


GPU brand AMD
GPU name Hawaii
Market Desktop
Clock speed 1,007 MHz
Turbo clock speed 947 MHz
Is dual GPU No
Reference card AMD Radeon R9 290 947 MHz 4 GB

raw performance

Shading units 2,560
Texture mapping units 160
Render output processors 64
Compute units 40
Pixel rate 64.4 GPixel/s
Texture rate 161.1 GTexel/s
Floating-point performance 5,156 GFLOPS


Memory clock speed 1,250 MHz
Effective memory clock speed 5,000 MHz
Memory bus 512 bit
Memory 4,096 MB
Memory type GDDR5
Memory bandwidth 320 GB/s

noise and power

TDP 275W
Idle noise level 39.5 dB
Load noise level 57.2 dB
Idle power consumption 87W
Load power consumption 381W
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Showing 2 comments.
Totally agree with Yar. Best GPU for the money. It's simply a killer of a chip coming for pennies really. Even listed on Amazon for a whooping 35% discount right now Perfect time for a Crossfire setup and then add in Mantle API and there's no stopping you from ruling the world ;)
Best GPU for the money period. If you can stand the heat and noise (or get a version with decent cooling) or want Nvidia features (Physx, Shadowplay etc), there is absolutely no reason to buy the equivalent GTX780. I have this card, modded with a custom cooler, and it runs cool,quiet and kicks ass.
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