XSPC Razor R9 290/290X Full Cover Cooling Block Review

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Too often we find a singular facet of an item’s performance focused on far too much. Typically, this is caused by a marketing ploy that creates a buzzword, but it can also be caused by a misrepresentation of actual performance. One of the misrepresentations I recall most vividly revolved around car audio amplifiers in the 1990s. Subs and boom were at their peak, and everyone and their brother was trying to cash in. There were literally hundreds of budget amplifier companies selling giant amps labeled as “1000 WATTS”. Never did they give you a THD level….or frequency response at that level….or if it was RMS or simply a peak it could hit for less than 1 ms. Typically inside of these giant cases was a PCB the size of a pack of cigarettes, that output what most reputable audio companies would call 20 watts. Could these amps produce 1000 watts? Well…..sort of. Could they produce a usable 1000 watts? Absolutely not.

 XSPC R9 290X Cooling Block

On the other side we see the misplaced focus, or narrow focus. With gaming, folding, mining, etc., the need to cool video cards is on the upswing, and we are seeing more and more aftermarket and home rigged solutions. Many have great claims of GPU temps, and some actually have good performance in that regard. However, when you strap that noisy CLC onto the PCB, or affix a universal air cooler, what is keeping the VRM cool? Well, essentially nothing, and cooling the VRM is essential in proper performance and longevity. This is one of the many reasons full cover blocks show dramatically better performance than any other GPU cooling solution. While once cost prohibitive and complicated, XSPC is now offering full kits and GPU blocks that are easy to install and actually are priced comparably to trying to use two CLCs in your rig. Unlike CLCs, though, with XSPC kits, excessive fan noise is not included.

 XSPC R9 290X Cooling Block


AMD’s new R9 290 and 290X have proven to be hot running components and XSPC has a full cover Razor Block set to cool them down. The XSPC R9 290/290X Razor is installed simply on any reference design, and targets not only the GPU, but the VRM and memory, as well, for a complete cooling solution. The heart of the Razor is a solid copper contact plate with liquid channeling to all major PCB components and direct contact on the PCB side. A unique offshoot carries liquid to the VRM section of the contact block ensuring proper active cooling. The GPU contact area features .5mm fins for increased dissipation right at the contact point. The block is backed with a stainless steel plate for increased reliability and rigidity. The acrylic covering is drilled for two 3mm LEDs, with blue included, that can be used with any standard 3mm LED to match any color scheme. The top plate is attractive black brushed aluminum with the XSPC logo, and a matching backplate is available. The XSPC Razor is easily installed on the R9 290/290X, and includes all necessary mounting hardware.