I recently purchased a R9 290X from someone on the site to use in my new upgrade. The card was with the AMD reference cooler and i was aware of that at the time of purchase. I had plans to change the cooler because i knew the reference cooler has a bad reputation. Out of curiosity i plugged it in with the reference cooler on and started up some of my normal games. Playing a game was graphically timid as World of Warcraft this this was at 90 degC and in call of duty blops2 it was even higher. It was atrocious, I immediately took it out of my rig. I knew it was bad but i had no clue how bad it really was.
Last night i detached the reference cooler added some VRM heatsinks and slapped on a Kraken G10 with a H55. The temps plummeted, last night i wasnt seeing anything ver 50 degC even when playing crysis 3. Games like WoW usually hover around 45ish.
The best part is that my FPS in CoD Blops2 went up from 110 with the reference cooler to 140-150 with the kraken. Turns out the GPU was throttling back because of the temps very very significantly so much so that the performance was on par with my old gtx 770.
The point of this post is to let you guys know: ABSOLUTELY DO NO BUY THE R9 290X WITH A REFERENCE COOLER UNLESS YOU PLAN TO REPLACE THE COOLER IMMEDIATELY. I knew it had a bad reputation but losing 30-40 frames because throttling from heat is horrible. The way i look at it is that the R9 290X with reference cooler is basically a 770 that runs at 90 degC all the time. Also have to give a shout out to the Krakren G10 with H55, dropping a card 40 degC is an insane upgrade, cant wait to overclock it today after work.