XFX officially launched its new R9 200 series line-up a couple of days ago and at the press time it consists of R9 280X and R9 270X graphics cards. Today we want to share our first thoughts about XFX's Double Dissipation (DD) R9 280X 1000M Boost 3GB GDDR5 (D5) Ghost2 Thermal Dual Mini DisplayPort (2xm DP) HDMI 2XDVI or Part No.: R9-280X-TDFD. For obvious reasons, we will use short part number in our preview.
When we heard that XFX is working on a new cooler we could not wait to give it a go in our bench rig. Why? Because AMD's own cooling solution for the R9 280X did not end up as quiet as we all hoped it would be.
Just to refresh your memory, XFX was among first to hit the market with non-reference HD 7900 graphics cards. The cards featured high factory overclock but thanks to the Ghost Thermal Technology and XFX's Double Dissipation cooler the GPU thermals were kept in check and at of that our ears were threated more gently compared to the reference cooler, i.e. the Double Dissipation cooler on HD 7900 series managed to provide good cooling while keeping noise levels at a reasonable level; it was not completely silent but not loud, either.
However standards have now changed and users strive for silence, mainly thanks to Nvidia and the Titan cooler which now serves as reference for comparison of high-end graphics cards, at least when it comes to noise levels.
AMD managed to create reference cooler for Volcanic-Islands which is quieter compared to the previous generation, but as we already noted it is not silent.
Aside from performance, a quiet cooler is very important feature to have. XFX decided to made revolutionary changes on its Double Dissipation cooler design. New Double Dissipation cooler created for the R9-280X-TDFD sports a bigger dissipation surface, which is achieved by extending the cooler's height one and half centimeters over the standard size. Updated: The shroud house two 85mm fans.
With the R9-280X-TDFD, XFX is addressing overclockers too by unlocking voltages. Note we are not talking about a Black Edition card because XFX needs some time for the GPU binning process in order to find the best of the best GPUs. The card we got works at reference clocks which are 1000MHz for the GPU and 1500MHz (6000MHz effectively) for 3GB of GDDR5 memory.
The card comes with two mini-DisplayPorts, one standard HDMI and two DVI connectors. It needs one 8-pin and one 6-pin power cable for normal operation. The PCB length is 26.7cm while the card with the cooler measures 28.4cm.
Under load the GPU temperature hits 65 degrees Celsius in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme test. It is obvious that the Dual Dissipation cooler does a better job than the reference one. In idle we measured 35 degrees Celsius. We were particularly impressed by the noise levels. The fans were nearly silent even under load.
We still have a lot of work before ahead of us, but the full preview should be done soon.