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<p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 13px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arimo, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); -webkit-text-stroke-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); -webkit-text-stroke-width: 1px; background-color: rgb(246, 246, 246);"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">When we first took a look at AMD&rsquo;s Radeon R9 290 back in November, what we found was a card that was on the whole a mixed bag. On the one hand the amount of performance offered for the price was unequaled. AMD decided they wanted to take on the $500 GeForce GTX 780 and win, and they did just that by delivering performance better than the GTX 780 for just $400. This made 290 a very potent card for gamers still looking for a value at the high-end.</span></span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 13px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arimo, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); -webkit-text-stroke-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); -webkit-text-stroke-width: 1px; background-color: rgb(246, 246, 246);"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">On the other hand AMD had to make significant sacrifices elsewhere to get there. AMD&rsquo;s reference cooler already struggled to keep the 290X without generating excessive noise, and for the 290 AMD needed to turn up the fan speed even further in order to ensure the 290&rsquo;s average performance was very close to its maximum performance. The end result was that while the reference 290 was fast it was also obnoxiously loud, especially in comparison to the high-end cards of the last few years. Ultimately this meant that for buyers concerned about noise the options available were either to take a performance reduction or pay quite a bit more for a GTX 780.</span></span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 13px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arimo, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); -webkit-text-stroke-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); -webkit-text-stroke-width: 1px; background-color: rgb(246, 246, 246);"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">With that said, we have known since that first day that the stories of the 290 and 290X weren&rsquo;t yet complete. While the reference cards set the bar for performance and (for better or worse) drive the overall perception of the series, the modern board partner system means that in time we can look forward to partners eventually releasing semi-custom and fully-custom cards, which use custom coolers and custom boards respectively. Customization allows the board partners to differentiate from each other by designing cards around different capabilities &ndash; be it size, cooling, or overclocking &ndash; in the process creating a wide spectrum of cards for a wide spectrum of use cases. Or with respect to the 290 in particular, customization offers partners a chance to go back and try to improve on the reference 290&rsquo;s weakness, its noisy cooler.</span></span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 13px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arimo, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); -webkit-text-stroke-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); -webkit-text-stroke-width: 1px; background-color: rgb(246, 246, 246);"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Ever since the 290 review there has been a lot of chatter and questions about when we&rsquo;d see the first customized cards show up, and the answer is that customized cards are finally here. There are already a handful of models on the shelves now with a number more to arrive over the next few weeks, and over the coming weeks we&rsquo;ll be taking a look at several of those models. The first such card we&rsquo;ll be looking at is Sapphire&rsquo;s first customized card, the Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X OC.</span></span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 13px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arimo, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); -webkit-text-stroke-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); -webkit-text-stroke-width: 1px; background-color: rgb(246, 246, 246);"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/7601/sapphire-radeon-r9-290-review-our-first-custom-cooled-290" target="_blank">Read more...</a></span></p>

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