It is already quite obvious that all Radeon R9 290X graphics cards at launch will be based on AMD's reference design as partners did not get either the green light from AMD or the final design in order to make their own custom designs. According to a few sources that we had a chance to talk to, custom R9 290 series graphics cards could come in late November.
Some of our sources did mention that it will be a race, as all partners will start making custom graphics cards at the same time. Of course, the big ones like Sapphire, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and others will probably be a tad bit faster than small AMD AIB partners and come up with their own solution a bit earlier.
According to a few details that we managed to gather, most are aiming at mid- to end of November but in the end it is important to have those graphics cards on retail/e-tail shelves in time for the Christmas shopping spree.