Asus R9 290 Direct CUII OC Benchmark and Review

FIRST, a story…

Last weekend a friend of mine runs up to me at work and says “you need to sell your video cards”. I was perplexed to say the least. I bought 2 XFX 7970’s just over a year ago, how could it be worth selling them? Well, with the surge in crypto-coins, my 2 7970’s that I paid about $680 for were now worth $700+! Long story short, I sold them swiftly on Craigslist and am now the owner of an Asus R9 290 Direct CU II OC (with brand new 3 year warranty as well).


PRICE: $539.99 CAD

  •  Core Clock - 1000mhz
  • Stream Processors - 2560
  • 4GB GDDR5 @ 5,040Mhz, 512-bit memory interface
  • Memory Bandwidth - 322.56GB/s
If you’d like to see the rest of what’s in my build click HERE.


I’ll be the first to admit that I am NO PRO when it comes to overclocking GPU’s or CPU’s. To start off with this card I went here:,1.html

Hilbert Hagerdoorn at Guru3D got a “max stable overclock” of 1165 core and 5500 memory with +100mv. Another LONG story short and I’ve found my max stable overclock to be 1140 core and 5500 memory with +125mv with max temps of 78C. I say “max” because my chip seemed to hit a voltage wall at 1140mhz and I need to push 1.39+ on the core to get to 1150 and beyond, pushing my thermals up to 86-87C. Let me be clear though, never once in my testing did the card exceed 87C, even with 1.412v on the core.


(All games benchmarked in 1080p, all graphic options turned up to MAX, EXCEPT for motion blur, I HATE IT!)

Gaming temps maxed out 75-78C.

  • Far Cry 3: Min - 38fps, Max - 70fps

  • Borderlands 2: Min - 118fps, Max - 150fps

  • Crysis 3: Min - 30fps, Max - 66fps

  • Battlefield 4 - Golmud Railway, Operation Lockers, Guilin Peaks: Mantle: Min - 75fps, Max - 160fps & DX11: Min - 65fps, Max - 130fps   

In-Game Benchmark:

Tomb Raider: TressFx ON: Min - 68.0fps, Max - 114.0fps, Avg - 88.7fps

                        TressFX OFF: Min - 116.0fps, Max - 172.0fps, Avg - 146.2fps

Synthetic Benchmarks:

3DMark: Firestrike - 5063

LuxMark: 2955

Unigine Valley - Extreme HD Preset (1080p): 2630

Unigine Heaven (1080p): 1424


This card is quiet. At 100% load, gaming for hours on end, temps didn’t exceed 78C and the fans never went past 55%. I have a fairly quiet build as it is and couldn’t really pick out the sound of the video card apart from the sound of my radiator and case fans.

Visual Appeal:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, eh? But I love how this card looks. The full metal back plate, the metal shroud with nickel plated heat pipes, the black and red... It's purrrrrty!


This card performs almost on par with 2 mildly overclocked 7970’s. It plays everything I want at great frame rates. The overclocking ability was about average for a R9 290 (after perusing the other forums and comparing) and am satisfied with it’s capability in this respect. The DCUII cooler is amazing at both keeping temps low and sound to a minimum.


KEEP IN MIND! This is my own personal experience. I’m not a pro-reviewer. I just wanted to share my experience with the community after seeing Logan’s review of the (much much more expensive) R9 290X.

Please let me know if you guys have any questions about the card or how I did any of my tests!

This makes me wish I would have went with a 7970 rather than a GTX 670 when I built my PC. Can't complain though. It gets the job done and has served me well.

Great review. Very informative while still being concise enough to keep my attention.

Nice review mate!

I'm interested in selling my 7950.But i'm in SIngapore. Mining hasn't really kicked off here.Not that i know of,at any rate.

Good job, Beez. Felt like i was on a tech site.

You could still look at selling it on ebay. If you find the right buyer they may not care about shipping charges.

Thanks eh? Did you think I was gonna stiff ya on the review after I talked it up so much? XD

Hmm,thanks mate.Will consider that. I did have my mind on the Asus290X,but not at those prices.Heck,might as well head over to the 780(Ti) if i do manage to sell my card.

You have a 7970 right?

you should put test results against that card.

So we get an idea of what kinda of generationa performance improvements have been made.

Nice Review! once i get working this summer I'll be getting this card for sure- hopefully the price will go down a little though.

You must not have read the whole review! :-P

I sold both my 7970's which enabled me to pay for this card and still have almost $150 left over. 

I wish I had done more benchmarking before I got rid of the cards but honestly, they sold FAST.

I must've missed that part.

Well i can show you the Tomb Raider comparason with TressFX OFF i have a screen cap somewhere from a cuple of mths ago this is with the HD7950 (OC'ed to HD7970 performance 1100mhz/1500mhz)

I'm not the only one who hates motion blur, cool.

How the heck... I did the same as you.. I sold my 7970 2 months ago for 489, I bought the Asus R9 290 DirectCU II for 439, I tested it on Unigine Valley Extreme HD but at 1440p resolution and anti-aliasing at 0 and i get around the same score but my gpu heats up to 90+ degrees and starts throttling. I haven't even overclocked. 

Do you have the bios switch set to the "Uber" position so fan speed isn't limited? 

Also, do you have the DCU II, or the DCU II OC? 

I'm not sure why your temps could be so bad dude, do you have sufficient airflow in your case?

I have the DCU II OC, I've switched the bios switch and each position gives me bad temps. And my airflow in my case is pretty good, everything else is pretty cool.

Maybe a bad card? I would open a service ticket with Asus and see what they say. Make sure you tell them that it's overheating at stock speeds, because that's not cool. Their label makes some grand claims but the results you're getting are still WAY below what you should be getting. If you even read the review on Guru3D that I linked above you can see their temperature results are in line with my own.