Wednesday | September 28, 2016
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PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core 290X (290X2) Graphics Card Performance Review

PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core 290X (290X2) Graphics Card Performance Review

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The Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X

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The Devil 13 has two Hawaii cores running at 1000MHz and features 8GB of Hynix GDDR5 memory running at 1350MHz. Per GPU for the Stream processors AMD and Powercolor have gone for a 2816 “core” design (64ROPs / 176 Texture units) and our memory bus is 512-bit. PCIe 3.0, DirectX 11.2 and DirectCompute are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content and the card can output 7.1 audio over HDMI including DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Finally, as expected, Mantle and TrueAudio are both supported as is bridgeless CrossFire.

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Performance

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So let’s start with the design and build quality of the new Devil 13. This is one monster of a card, in many respects. First of all, it’s huge. As long as the 295 X2 but both taller (about 2-3cm) and wider, 3 slots. It is also significantly heavier than pretty much any graphics card we have tested. Of course a lot of that aspect is down to the significant amount of metal used here. We have a durable shroud and backplate then the heatsink fins, masses of copper heatpipes (two thicknesses), large GPU blocks and another plate on the front of the PCB.

PowerColor, as well as using high quality “Platinum Power” components to build the card, should also get some credit for making the effort to build a card like this even if it is in limited quantities… but have they been successful overall?

Well first of all, purely on a framerate point of view the Devil 13 does well. It exceeds the performance of the cheaper GTX 780 Ti most of the time and of course is faster than a single 290X. In games (or 3DMark) which are well optimised for dual GPUs it also compares well with 290X CrossFire and isn’t too far behind the similarly priced GTX 780 Ti SLI. Added to that the card is often a touch faster than the 295 X2 from AMD and runs 4K gaming without issue. So no real complaints there… things start to get a bit ropey when we look at power use where this card requires a huge amount to run, hence the 4x 8-pin connectors. Our system was drawing around 100w more than the 295 X2.

Past that things start to get more significant. First up are temps where this card runs significantly hotter than a custom 290X OC with even more of a difference over 295 X2 with its high performance cooler. This is of course with the three large fan design of the Devil 13 mixed with a lot of metal… and that is where our most significant issue with the product sits. This card is exceptionally loud. In fact it’s very intrusively loud and in our view, too loud. Even in a chassis, under a desk it’s very noticeable and even when we left the room and closed the door we could still hear the fans on the Devil 13.

What’s the solution to that? Well build a system in a case with good noise dampening. Then game with a set of headphones on at a decent volume. It may sound a bit like a joke but as good as the Razer mouse is that PowerColor bundle, and it is a GREAT mouse, they should have gone with a set of noise cancelling headphones. That would have helped with the noise issue but everyone already has a mouse, not everyone has a decent set of noise cancelling headphones so they would be more useful.

So who should buy the Devil 13? At £1100 it is a niché product in terms of cost for sure. The £100 mouse does add value, as the free games from AMD do too, but in our opinion this card is a tough sell against the 295 X2. If AMD had botched the design of that card and it was more difficult to install then PowerColor had a gap to aim for because this card would have been much easier to install but the 295 X2 is easy enough to install, quieter, cooler and just about as fast. Similar things can be said of the 290X and 780 Ti CF/SLI setups also. Really what we are left with is a set of users who have a large case, significant budget, want a fast single PCB solution and don’t want liquid anywhere near their rig. For everyone else, there are better options out there.

Pricing: Ebuyer.com £1098

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.

4 Comments

  1. Ahuss

    Hate your new styles of review, i used to love this website for review but now i am going back to tomshardware. You guys suck never coming back here again

  2. stevevnicks

    lol I left toms hardware due to pop-up city from the mouse pointer, this site is far more user friendly than toms hardspams :/