Fixing The Radeon R9 290 With Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III

No Surprise: Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III Is Recommended

Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III does exactly what it's supposed to do: it cools. But it does that job so effectively and quietly that you end up wondering if AMD's Radeon R9 290 is even the same card in your PC.

We'd like Arctic to include three additional full-sized sinks and one lower-profile RAM sink for the Radeon R9 290 and 290X. It might also want to consider increasing the contact area of its VRM coolers. 

Of course, the Accelero wasn't designed for the R9 290, and Arctic doesn't even try claiming AMD's latest is officially compatible. But after our experimentation, the results were so convincing and the list of alternative options so short that we're almost forced to recommend this modification.

This isn't just an endorsement of the Accelero Xtreme III, but a must-have fix for anyone who can't wait for AMD's board partners to start selling Radeon R9 290 and 290X cards. You'll spend extra on the heat sink and fans, but save money on mandatory headphones, we suppose. Additionally, the performance you'll pick up due to the Hawaii GPU running at its peak clock rate, rather than dithering down to lower frequencies, will make the reference cards look antiquated.

Our Smart Buy award goes to Arctic's cooler, which turns AMD's newest high-end cards into faster, quieter, better versions of themselves. AMD needs to take a page out of Nvidia's book. Its reference cooler shouldn't be considered reference at all. It's more of a torture device for an otherwise very capable graphics processor. Someone over there should be thanking Arctic for providing a reprieve.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
11 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • Applepienation
    Too bad that the new radeon cards have such poor reference coolers. That really hurts the cards. Oh well. AMD makes cheap cards but powerful with poor design, Nvidia makes expensive cards with better design.

    Also waiting for videos of the noise.
  • bemused_fred
    Why do the noise comparison videos show up on the US website, but not here?
  • bl4c
    great technological articles lately (290 fan speed, thermal pastes, ...) !
    nice to see a hardware site actually trying to live up to its name :)

    would you be able to do a comparison between after market coolers ?
    - Arctic Accelero Xtreme III
    - Arctic Accelero Hybrid
    - Gelid Rev. 2 ICY VISION

    (i think these are the only normal "ready-to-install" coolers available)
  • Terminal Boy
    Will be doing exactly this at the weekend.

    Have set of these to ensure full VRM cooling: Alpenföhn Passive DRAM / VRAM Chip Coolers
  • TuffLittleUnit
    I used the Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II on a GTX670 because the reference cooler was so poor (even after an RMA). Once installed it's amazingly effective and almost silent. However, the installation wasn't exactly easy. The thermal glue (not paste) took well over a day to cure and during that period the little heat sinks were rather mobile. Not for the feint-hearted but very worthwhile. It also taught me that some cards are cheaper than others for a reason.
  • blak24
    Guys I did not understand two things over the replacement process:
    1) Where to put insulating strips;
    2) How to completely solve the 4 lacking heatsinks if I don't have other spare ones from other coolers. I mean, can I leave the 4 remaining chips without anything? Or should I cover with something else? (insulating strips?, tape? I did not understand this).
  • blak24
    I'm sorry but I can't see a way to edit my previous comment. Anyway, where may I buy the other 4 heatsinks for VRAM? And what are the dimensions of them?
  • Terminal Boy
    1. Insulating strips postion is shown in step 4 of installation guide. Their role is to prevent the heatsinks on the RAM and VR components from shorting out on components either side.

    2. I purchased a set of these to ensure I can get everything as cool as possible.

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS-038-AL&groupid=701&catid=2330&subcat=787

    I haven't fitted mine yet, BTW.
  • blak24
    Will Zalman ZM-RHS1 fit the R9 chips? I've found that the 290 chips are about 12x15mm. The Zalman are about 12x12mm. Will they be ok for a difference of 3mm? I was also not able to understand if the ones linked by you are OK, since I've not found dimensions for them.

    EDIT: 1) I know that it's written in the guide, but I can't see it on the images and I don't clearly understand where to use it.
  • baronduff
    Is anyone aware whether install on a 290x would be similar to this? The stock cooler is slowly killing me