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Asus teases Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II

Asus teases Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II

Asus' Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II ditches the reference cooler for something a little more up to the job, but there's no word yet on availability.

Asus has teased its upcoming AMD Radeon R9 290X variant, dubbed the Asus R9 290X DirectCU II, with which it hopes to address the questionable performance of the original's reference cooler design.

AMD's reference Radeon R9 290x is certainly an impressive performer for the cash, but thermal throttling led to concerns that its stock cooler may be too inefficient for such a beast of a card. AMD was even accused of cherry-picking review samples when selected retail hardware throttled earlier than expect, explaining this away as a bug addressed by a fan control patch designed to eliminate performance variation between manufacturers' implementations.

Many gamers have been wondering just what the card can do with a little extra cooling, and while full cover waterblocks are undoubtedly the best solution for the true performance enthusiast there are impending releases which ditch AMD's stock cooler for something a little more custom - including an upcoming DirectCU II from Asus.

Teased on the company's PC DIY site late last week, the Asus R9 290X DirectCU II is a dual-fan design - one standard, one using Asus' 'CoolTech' design - boasting a large heatsink connected to a single large 10mm heatpipe and numerous - although unspecified - smaller heatpipes. A VRM heatsink is also included, while the board itself enjoys non-reference power components including Digi+ voltage regulator modules using the company's Super Alloy Power (SAP) technology.

Sadly, since teasing the card five days ago the company has been silent on availability or pricing. The pictured card is described as a pre-release example, with no details yet provided as to how - or if - the board differs from the final retail design.

Meanwhile, AMD is continuing its investigation into the performance variability of R9 series boards, issuing an updated statement via email: 'Reasonably we would expect the variability to occur both above and below the performance of the [R9] press samples, however it appears that most reported performances are biased towards the low side. We are actively investigating these reports and we will update when we have completed our investigation. It is important to note that is it to be expected that the more thermally limited the [PowerTune] setting the more variation can naturally occur. AMD Radeon R9 290X, by default, ships with two default BIOS settings for different acoustic levels and the "Uber" setting was designed to limit the level of thermal throttling and comparisons in this test mode are more consistent.'

2 Comments

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Anfield 10th December 2013, 14:18 Quote
Sexy card from Asus as usual, now to wait for the non X version to save a whole lot of money.
SchizoFrog 10th December 2013, 15:33 Quote
Looks the same as the 780 version to me...
ASUS are also in the process of updating all their Direct CU II coolers by the looks of it as current stock on several etaillers are on sale and ASUS have new models (SSU) on view on their website, for example, this GTX760: http://www.asus.com/uk/Graphics_Cards/GTX760DC22GD5SSU/
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