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.