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Video Cards Reviews

Water cooling enthusiasts know all too well how expensive high quality, aesthetically pleasing, and low noise components are. So, what if you could have a graphics card with all of that in one affordable package wrapped around a high-end AMD R9 290? Sound intriguing? VisionTek thinks so and has made available their latest enthusiast level graphics card… The CryoVenom R9 290. Partnering with EKWB, VisionTek has set out to offer all the convenience of a pre-assembled, water cooled graphics card at a price much lower than the individual components themselves.

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Today we will be reviewing the mighty R9 290x Lightning from MSI. Some of us may recall the outcome of the GTX 780 Lightning review wasn’t exactly what the enthusiast crowd wanted it to be with the imposed power limits that were in place. Now, to be fair, this was not MSI’s fault. That distinction is squarely on NVIDIA’s shoulders for their ‘green’ program. That aside, this is an AMD card and we will have no such limits! That has to be a good thing, right? We will dig down into the nitty gritty of this R9 290x and see what MSI has done to make it warrant the Lightning moniker, and how well it performs.

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The popular DirectCUII air cooler gets an added water cooling channel and a new name too… DirectCU H2O. This GTX 780 based offering from ASUS gives the user a choice between air or water to keep the card cool. Not only do we have a unique cooling solution attached to the Poseidon Platinum GTX 780, but ASUS took it a step further and provided a factory applied GPU overclock to the card as well. Let’s take this newest member of the ROG graphics card family for a spin and see what’s in store!

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NVIDIA partners are beginning to roll out their new GTX 750 graphics cards and the new Maxwell architecture they offer. As we discovered during our launch day article, Maxwell GPUs bring a lot of new technologies along with the new architecture. Most notable is the high power efficiency they bring to the table, which allows them to be used in lower end systems that might not have been able to handle the power demands before. Today, we’ll be looking at one of Galaxy’s new Maxwell GPU offerings in the form of their GTX 750 GC 1 GB Dual Fan model. Galaxy has added several of their own unique enhancements from the reference design cards, such as an expanded PCB, proprietary dual-fan cooler, and a factory overclock. It all sounds good on paper… Let’s go find out!

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AMD has had its new R2xx series GPUs out for a couple of months now. Although model with aftermarket cooling have been out for it, here at OCF we have not had a chance to review any of them. That is about to change! In my hands is MSI’s offering, the MSI R9 290 Gaming 4G, which sports the Twin Frozr IV cooler. In past iterations, this cooler has been effective and quiet. Let’s see how it fares with trying to cool a R9 290, shall we?

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Small form factor (SFF) gaming PCs have exploded in popularity recently. Valve has even released their own SteamOS that turns PCs into console-esque gaming machines, which has prompted a rise of the Steam Machine or Steam Box from many manufacturers in the pre-built PC business. MSI has a couple of products that are designed specifically to fit into the SFF gaming PC segment, the Z87I GAMING AC motherboard and the GTX 760 GAMING ITX graphics card. They look to be a great core for a DIY Steam Machine or even just an everyday SFF PC.

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NVIDIA has another architecture release day for us! The Maxwell GPU core has arrived at Overclockers in the form of an EVGA GTX 750 Ti FTW. The Maxwell GPU core architecture promises great power efficiency, low power consumption, and performance that surpasses its predecessors. This particular card also comes with EVGA’s ACX cooler, which has tested very well in the past on other EVGA video cards. So, let’s find out if EVGA put this new technology to good use as we run the GTX 750 Ti FTW through our testing procedure.

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There has been a lot of talk about AMD’s Dual Graphics as of late, especially since the release of the Kaveri APU lineup. Today, we’re going to explore the performance gains that can be had by leveraging the Kaveri A10-7850K’s built-in R7 graphics with a R7 250 discrete graphics card. AMD is constantly pushing affordable gaming to higher levels, and Dual Graphics with the latest Kaveri APUs is another example of this effort.

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In my last single card review (AMD R9 270), I mentioned that AMD and its partners are beginning to fill in the blanks in the pricing and performance holes left by only having the 250, 260x, 270x, and 280x lines out (290/290x do not matter in this context). If you recall from my ’roundup’, the performance gaps between those cards were pretty significant, on the order of 50% between them. Today, we have a reference model R7 260 to continue to fill in those blanks. It is time to see if this card can do accomplish it like its big brother did.

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Team Green’s latest attempt at graphics card domination has landed… this time in the form of a GTX 780 Ti. EVGA has long been the number one seller of NVIDIA based products; and with all the enthusiast-level hardware they offer, it’s easy to see why. Today, we’ll be looking at yet another such enthusiast-level offering from EVGA – The GTX 780 Ti Classified. When EVGA slaps the “Classified” name on one of their GPUs, it usually means we get a graphics card loaded with features that performs great. Let’s get going and see if this holds true this time around as well!

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