I originally wanted to do 2 separate posts but due to my work schedule I ended up missing yesterdays post on the re-pasting the R9 290X. Lets get started.

Re-Pasting the R9 290X

After getting this beast of a card I came to the conclusion that all R9 290(x) owners come to, its loud and hot. Seeing as the stock thermalpaste that OEMs use is usually not the best I decided to pick up some Gelid GC-Extreme Thermal paste and take apart the card to replace the paste. This is also the same process for R9 290 owners as the PCB is very similar, if not identical.

Disassembly & Reassembly of the R9 290X

The process was relatively simple. Unscrew the 2 screws on the backplate by the DisplayPort connector. Then remove all the misc screws on the back of the card followed by removing the GPU plate (silver X thing with 4 small screws). Carefully wiggle the PCB slightly to loosen the paste, BE PATIENT! Once this is off clean the GPU with 90+% isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip. Make sure it is 100% dry and apply a small amount of the paste and re-assemble. Make sure all the thermal pads and still in place (16 ram pads, 1 large VRM strip, 1 small VRM strip. Put the card back in and power up. There are pictures at the end of this post that I took during the process.

Before and After

Before I re-pasted the GPU core it would sit at about 90C with a 75% fan speed and being fully loaded. After the re-paste at the same fan speed and load it was sitting around 78-80C. This allowed me to run the fan speed lower (less noise) for the same target temp of 90C. I would recommend that anyone who is fairly technical to do this to get better temps. Also my wattage dropped by about 15-20 watts. Be aware that this may void your warranty. However I have never had issues RMA’ing cards that I have changed cooling on, but your mileage may vary.

Tuning for better khashes

If you do not mine coins then this part can be ignored. The settings here may not give the best gaming results but for mining they yield about 930-970/khashes/s for me. I use the latest beta of the MSI Afterburner program. This works for 24/7 on my card. However when re-starting the miner it does sometimes crash, rebooting before restarting the miner fixes this.

GPU Settings

  • Fan Speed – 80%
  • GPU Core – 1000mhz
  • GPU Memory – 1500mhz
  • Power Limit – 35%+
  • ULPS Disabled
  • AMD PowerTune Disabled (keeps GPU at full speed all the time, may not be stable without this)

CGMiner Settings

  • Intensity – 20
  • Worksize – 256
  • Thread Concurrency – 32765
  • Vectors – 1
  • GPU Threads – 1