The R9 290X GPU is know to become rather hot and cooling this chip with a reference and even a custom aircooler can be quite a challenge. In almost any case you will see thermal throttling. In this article we're going to compare the results of an ASUS R9 290X Matrix Platinum watercooled versus the same card with ASUS Matrix Platinum cooler. At this point a little teaser: the differences can be as high as 25 percent!
As we already mentioned, in this article we're going to have a closer look at
possible differences between a watercooled and an aircooled ASUS R9 290X
Matrix Platinum. For this purpose EK Water Blocks shipped us one of their brand new
EK-FC R9-290X Matrix fullcover waterblocks. First of all we're going to have a
closer look at both, the water as well as the aircooler and afterwards we will
run both cards through our set of recent games with stock clocks as well as
overclocked to the coolers specific maximum. Apparently we will also show you
R9 290X Matrix Platinum -
Watercooling EK-FC R9-290X Matrix
EK Water Blocks is the first company to come up with a custom,
full-cover waterblock for ASUS' R9 290X Matrix Platinum graphics card. The block
establishes direct contact to GPU, memory as well as VRM area. This way you can
be sure there is going to be best possible cooling whereever necessary. The
cooler EK Water Blocks provided us with has been made from nickel plated
electrolyte copper. Above the GPU there is a thin channel structure to provide
additional surface area, where it actually makes sense to have it. On top of the
cooper block there is a plexi cover and on the right hand side you can see a
brushed stainless steel plate. Looking for threads we find G1/4'' inch one's
where you can attach a vast majority of fittings. The threads have been cut into
black plexi cover. Although the material is rather solid it's enough to tighten fittings by hand to achieve sufficient
sealing and you don't have to use a gripper. In fact by using a gripper you can/will
break the plexi. Manufacturing quality is always excellent, when it comes to
products from EK Water Blocks. These blocks are just perfectly made and the looks are
breathtaking. In order to achieve best possible looks in combination with ASUS ROG graphics cards
we would recommend you go choose red colored coolant. This way it will perfectly
match the ROG color scheme.
R9 290X Matrix Platinum -
Matrix Platinum Aircooler
This version of the Matrix Platinum cooler comes with no less than five
heatpipes, which feature a GSG shape. There is one heatpipe with a massive
diameter of ten millimeter and other than there are two more with eight
millimeter diameter and another two which measure six millimeters. The heatpipes have been nickel plated and are in direct contact with the GPU core. Soldered to the heatpipes you find the fin stack which is being provided with fresh air via two 95mm fans. The fan closer to the I/O shield is a hybrid axial/radial fan ASUS like to call "CoolTech". They claim that this fan is able to provide a higher airflow than standard axial or radial fans at the same noise level. In case of the second fan you find a standard axial fan. Both fans are being manufactured by Everflow and strangely share the same model name, T129215SU.
Overall the cooler is well made and the finish is on a very reasonable level too.
This cooler definitely plays in another league than the reference cooler from
AMD. But still, even this custom aircooler is just about able to not make the
290X throttle at stock clocks.