Those of you who are currently holding off on upgrading to AMD’s flagship single-GPU solution due to its less-than-stellar temperatures can breathe easier, with non-reference R9-290X cards having officially been announced to arrive in late January or early February.
We have gotten a peek at three of what could arguably be described as the best upcoming non-reference design cards...
The MSI Lightning R9-290X
One of the main features of this card is to reduce the core voltage from 1.25v to 1.15. This will drastically reduce temperatures, reducing them as much as 10°C even on the reference design.
Another key change is the power phase design, running at 12+3+2, insane overclocks will be more than attainable. As well as this, with the Lightning most likely using a Tri-Frozr cooler, which can also be found on the GTX 780, the temperatures will likely stay modest even under heavy overclocking.
The Gigabyte Radeon R9 290X OC Edition Sports WindForce 3X
Not much light was shed on this specific card though we can expect it to have similar designs to the MSI Lightning.
What we do know though seems to be quite promising.
The Core clock is expected to run at 1040 MHz at stock, though you can easily push it much further due to its custom PCB, with a beefy cooler that is arguably among the best non-reference coolers.
The card is also able to produce much less sound, ensuring ~16dB lower than the reference models in Quiet Mode.
The Asus DirectCU II V2
Jon has already covered this card in some detail here, but this new card from Asus features their patented Cooltech cooling system as well as their direct copper heatpipes to enable potential for some nice overclocking. The specs aren't currently known, but it's almost certainly going to come factory overclocked.
No official launch dates or pricing was mentioned but it is safe to assume they will launch in late January or early February, although definitely after CES 2014 (January, 7-10).