I was lucky enough to receive a package in the mail from MSI so today were taking a look at the R9 280x gaming series card. As most of you already know the 280x cards released are a revamp of the 7970’s that have been around for some time and yes they are crossfire compatible Still its nice to see msi’s 280x showing off a custom pcb and cooler, we’ll take it for a spin shortly to see if its performance is still up to the job. Special thanks to MSI Australia for the card so lets get to and take a look at what you get!! First up the card itself and quite a looker to red and black , well it just never gets old in my book. Next to that are the packaged accessories pretty standard stuff really install manual , crossfire connector , Couple of molex and power adaptors , vga to dvi adaptor and a displayport to mini display port adaptor and of course the driver / software disk that of course i left in the box. Checking out some more pics this time of the available video outputs on offer you’ll see a single dl/Dvi port , two mini displayports and a single HDMI port 1.4a. for full HD audio. Its nice to see a few connectivity options for eyefinity fans although another dl/Dvi port would of been nice. Probably not an issue as more and more screen makers are supporting dp so maybe i’m just old fashioned. The 280x from MSI comes with some nice clocks straight out of the box with 1050 and the 3gb of Hynix GDDR5 memory clocked in at 1500 and the Twin Frozr Cooler in the mix for some great cooling. The card supports the pcie3 standard as well as the latest DX 11.2 and AMD’s mantle when it arrives. Complete specs can be found here http://www.msi.com/product/vga/R9-280X-GAMING-3G.html#specification One of things i noticed is the size of the 280x from MSI it looked a little stubby so after a quick measure and google search it does look like the MSI offering is indeed shorter coming in at around 27cm. I took a comparison picture beside my 7970 Lightning coming in at 30cm for those interested. Taking more of a look into the card we see MSI have kept the dual bios switch right next to the crossfire connector and on the other side as expected an eight and six pin plug. Dual Bios was nice to see considering some manufacturers have done away with the dual bios switch probably to save a few dollars in manufacturing. Another tick is Voltage adjustment is available via AB another nice feature especially after some of us were caught out with Rev 2 7970 voltages being locked down. Some 280 x's also don’t ship with voltage control so just be aware your overclocking may not go as well as msi’s 280x. So lets see some numbers shall we!! Test system used Asrock Z87m-OC Intel 4770 k @ 4.2 throughout testing Corsair 2666 Vengeance pro 8gb MSI R9 280x gaming 13.11 b6 driver OCZ agility 3 Win 7 Pro 64bit *Ambient temps were kept at 25-26’c throughout testing *All cpu power saving also turned off *Gpu tests done at stock and then at 1200 core / 1600 memory clocks *Gpu clocks could go higher for some benching/gaming test however these higher clocks where not stable throughout them all so i settled for max clocks of 1200 /1600 First off lets check out some 3D benchmarks 3DMark Vantage @ Stock clocks 3DMark Vantage OC clocks 1200 /1600 3DMark 11 Stock 3DMark 11 OC clocks 1200 /1600 3DMark FireStrike Stock 3DMark FireStrike OC clocks 1200 /1600 So that the synthetic tests done and some pretty good performance out of the box but by bumping the voltage to 1250 mv in AB i unlocked some extra performance. AB does let you go to 1300 mv but i didn’t see much gain other than heat really. Temps were kept in check even at stock with the fan set to auto and running whisper quiet. You can see for the oc settings i set a fixed fan of 80% which does get pretty loud especially on the test bench but i did manage to set a custom fan curve that was easier on the ears and only added a few degrees while still letting me keep my OC clocks. Ok so whats the point of all these synthetic tests i want some game tests. Well sure why not!! I didn’t get my card in time for BF4 beta so I’ll add some results first chance i get so for now we’ll take a look at a few others i had on hand. All test settings for games where done at 1920x1080 and all video and quality settings set to Ultra or as high as they would go. Dirt Showdown Stock on the left and right OC 1200 /1600 Hitman Absolution Stock on the left and OC right 1200 / 1600 I noticed a pretty big spike in max fps when oc’d so i re ran several times to make sure but results remained consistent across several reboots and re runs. Next up was Metro 2033 although it been around for some time maxed out with all the eye candy on its still pretty taxing on the system Next up BF3 Still a big favourite amongst FPS fans Stock on the left OC on the right FarCry3 One of my favourites and overclocking got some nice extra performance. Stock on the left OC on the right Now there is a lot of talk of people crossfiring the 280x with 7970’s etc so i thought I’d give it a shot with my 7970 lightning. Sure enough plugged in the second card and bingo crossfire working. Did a quick 3D mark 11 to see how they scale with both at stock and was suprised by the strong result of 17270 marks http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/7387272 Battlefield 4 Well I finally found the time to bring this little update. I used the 3rd mission in the campaign where you board a sinking aircraft carrier. I have for this test updated to the latest beta driver 13.11b8 which worked without a hitch. Test rig remains the same and all testing was carried out with ULTRA Settings except Antialliasing Deferred which I dropped back to 2X MSAA instead of 4X MSAA. Stock settings on the left OC 1200 / 1600 on the right Pretty good performance i think and very playable frame rates. BF4 is pretty tough on the GPU though as I found out and the 1250mv I had used for all my other testing was no longer cutting the mustard I needed 1290mv to maintain my OC clocks of 1200 / 1600. With the extra voltage it did heat up and max gpu temps peaked at 82'c while the vrm's peaked at a toasty 100'c. At stock settings the card peaked at 71'c and the vrm's at a more comfortable 77'c. Conclusion Well for a minor refresh I’m still impressed overall with the card. I had a few issues to start with but looked like it was a software issue with AB not applying voltage unless i forced constant voltage which probably makes the card use more power and add a little extra heat. Cooler does a pretty good job however the vrm’s can get a little toasty at times. Having a look I’m not sure the plate/heatsink covering the ram and vrm adds to the cooling or just locks in the heat. Either way the card never throttled once during testing so i guess all is fine. Overclocking was decent at 1200 / 1600 and the fact they are crossfire compatible with their older brothers the 7970 is another win , new drivers look good to no issues installing or enabling crossfire. So thats a thumbs up from me thanks for looking If you like the review or have a question post away happy to help if i can .