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Review: MSI Radeon R9 290 Gaming 4G

Review: MSI Radeon R9 290 Gaming 4G

Sam ChenFebruary 13, 2015

R9 290 Meets Twin Frozr IV

msi-r9-290-gaming-4gb-graphics-card-custom-pc-review-8Late last year along with the unveil of AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 290X graphics card, AMD also unveiled a lower cost offering, the Radeon R9 290, which promised only slightly lower performance at a significantly lower price.

Since then the Radeon R9 290 has been extremely popular, and due to high demand and a shortage in components, we haven’t really seen any custom designed Radeon R9 290’s on the market until late last January.

That said, today we’ll be reviewing a the MSI Radeon R9 290 Gaming 4G, which is MSI’s latest custom designed graphics card based off AMD’s Radeon R9 290 GPU. Given that the Radeon R9 290 Gaming 4G is one of MSI’s gaming series graphics cards, we can already expect a number of features such as MSI’s Twin Frozr IV cooler, Military Class components, and a slight overclock, which are pretty standard across MSI’s entire line of gaming graphics cards.


GPUAMD Radeon R9 280XAMD Radeon R9 290AMD Radeon R9 290XMSI Radeon R9 290 Gaming 4G
Core Clock850MHz Base / 1000MHz Boost662MHz Base / 947MHz Boost727MHz Base / 1000 Boost662MHz Base / 1007MHz Boost
ArchitectureGCN 1.0GCN 1.1GCN 1.1GCN 1.1
Stream Processors2048256028162560
Texture Units128160176160
Memory Buffer Size3GB GDDR54GB GDDR54GB GDDR54GB GDDR5
Memory Interface384-bit512-bit512-bit512-bit
Memory Frequency6.0GHz5.0 GHz5.0 GHz5.0 GHz
Additional FeaturesN/AMantle, True AudioMantle, True AudioMantle, True Audio, Twin Frozr IV, Military Class Components

Looking at the specifications on the R9 290 Gaming, there’s not all that much that stands out – at least on paper. The R9 290 Gaming will be overclocked out of the box to a healthy 1007MHz, which is a decent boost up from the 947MHz boost clocks from the reference design. Additionally, given that the R9 290 Gaming is based off AMD’s latest Hawaii class GPUs, we’re also going to get support for AMD’s Mantle API as well as their True Audio technology when it arrives sometime this year.

About The Author
Sam Chen
Hardware and Technology Enthusiast. SSD Evangelist. Editor-in-Chief. You can find Sam's full biography here
  • SOUK

    The MSI Radeon R9 290 & 290X are still highly over priced in the UK as of today, plus its not currently shipping with any games.

    I’m confused as to why these high end very expensive types of cards still ship with cheap molex to pci colored cables with no sleeve; it would of been nicer to see them sleeved, or at the very least made using black connectors and cables, to set the quality a part from the cheaper lower end cards.

    The DVI to VGA connector is pointless in my opinion, who in there right mind is going to fork out all that money for a stunning card like this and proceed to hook it up on a analogue monitor? It would of been much nicer to see this come with a HDMI to DVI or Display to HDMI or something along that line.

    Personally I think the best all around 290 or 290x in the UK for value, cooling and performance is the Gigabyte AMD Radeon R9 290 1040MHz 4GB Windforce 3X OC w/ BF4 v2, its cheaper, it runs cool, it ships with BF4 and its shipped clocked higher than the MSI one.

    The MSI is a fabulous card but from its current price point and lack of games its rubbish, especially when the 290 version in the UK is bordering some Nvidia GTX780 cards (superior card).

    • Ko zhi yi

      And you have earned a dislike from me. Asus in malaysia is way overpriced. In fact all the r9 290 cards are overpriced thanks to the litecoin mining

      • SOUK

        What don’t you agree with?

        I stated that the Gigabyte AMD Radeon R9 290 1040MHz 4GB Windforce 3X OC w/ BF4 v2 on the date that I made the post was, and still is the best all round none-reference AMD 290/X ‘pound for pound’ in the ‘United Kingdom’; and that’s regardless of the current trend in the virtual currency market.

        Even with the AMD / virtual currency inflation, Gigabyte has still managed to undercut the likes of ASUS and MSI in particular and are still offering BF4 with their card as well as a better base price i.e more value for money.

        For Example:

        You will pay more for a MSI Gaming Edition 290 with NO game than you will for a higher clocked Gigabyte AMD Radeon R9 290 1040MHz 4GB Windforce 3X OC w/ BF4 v2.

    • HotelQuebec

      Some people like myself have multiple rigs and use KVM switch which is VGA.

      BF4 game vouchers are abundant and go for about $20 on Craigslist and Ebay so it’s not a deal breaker.

      Extreme OC cards are hit and miss in terms of stability. Just look at the reviews on Newegg.

    • Brian Blair

      You people need to stop with the brainwashed fanboy crap! You are not benefiting from anything doing this, As a matter of fact you are only selling yourselves out. What you should do is buy from whomever offers the best performance for your dollar. I have no attachment to AMD or Nvidia or Intel! As a matter of fact I think all three are dirty corrupt corporations that do nothing but take advantage of people! So I look up specs on the products, And reviews and benchmarks, And then I buy whatever product that offers the best price/performance. I do not listen to opinions or spend hard earned money based on opinions. And also when somebody swears his or her opinion is fact does not make it a fact either. Also taking a small fact and stretching it into several opinions as fact does not change reality either. Example: If you have a selection of two High end GPU’s, And the first GPU costs $345 and uses only 145 watts, And the second GPU costs $279 and uses 275 watts, If the price of the 275 watt GPU is significantly less in price than the one that uses 145 watts, It would not be wise to pay over $50 more for the 145 watt GPU simply because it uses less wattage. Yes the 145 watt card is more efficient, But you are not gaining anything at all, The most you will save per year on your electricity bill would be about $2 dollars, And that would not even be noticeable. I have no idea why everyone is pretending that they are going to save big money on lower watt cards, LOL, You are not benefiting from anything. However the great thing is no matter what you decide, You can choose whatever GPU you want. And as long as you wanted that GPU, Then your decision was right no matter what. But just admit you bought a card because you wanted it, Don’t lie and try to make up false realities explaining why it was a good decision. Not everyone has the luxury to choose because they are on a budget, And budget buyers need facts to get the best bang for buck.

  • disqus_BuIvBxA9rc

    Second best card of the 290 lineup I feel, though the fans are pretty bad. Once again they’re using the same low quality brushless DH series, which tend to begin rattling within three or four months – maybe a year if lucky. I think from now on I’ll be passing on all MSI GPUs until they learn to provide nice fans and also equally important, send you replacements when you contact them.