Keep in mind that the PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X is a non-reference card. It ships with a high factory GPU and memory overclock, 93MHz and 100MHz respectively. Thanks to its non-reference cooler it stays relatively quiet all the time and the card did not exhibit any performance drops, which can’t be said of the reference card, as it throttles after it is placed under load.
The full performance of the reference R9 290, i.e. 947MHz for the core, comes to light only when the fan is allowed to speed up to cope with the heat. However, when fan is running at high RPMs the reference card simply gets too loud for most users.
Judging by our tests, the PCS+ cooler has a lot of potential. It manages to keep the GPU under 64 degrees Celsius in gaming tests. The reference cooler does not even come close and as long as you keep the card under load it hovers around the 94 degree mark. Note the target GPU temperature on reference R9 290 cards is set at 94 degrees Celsius.