Gigabyte R9 280X WindForce 3X OC 3GB
Like Asus, Gigabyte isn't content with just one or two Radeon R9 280X graphics cards. It also thinks five is the perfect number of variants to offer. However, Gigabyte's cards are all much the same. The first batch (labeled 'rev 1.0') features the WindForce 3x cooler with Triangle Cool technology and there is a standard version as well as an overclocked version.
The revision one cards feature a black plastic fan shroud which was upgraded to a black aluminum fan shroud for revision two. Specification-wise the revision one and revision two OC cards are exactly the same with the exception of the black fan shroud.
This means the Gigabyte R9 280X WindForce 3X OC operates its core at 1100MHz, while the GDDR5 memory remains unchanged at 6000MHz. Compared to the Asus card we have on hand, the R9 280X WindForce 3X OC's core operates 3% higher while the memory is 6% slower.
The Gigabyte R9 280X WindForce 3X OC 3GB features the WindForce 3X cooling system, an innovative triple-fan solution with Gigabyte's patented anti-turbulence inclined fans and three 8mm pure copper heatpipes.
Gigabyte says that the combination of anti-turbulence inclined fans and pure copper heatpipes helps reduce excessive heat and minimizes the flow of turbulence between fans. The unique "Triangle Cool" technology enhances the speed of heat dissipation. This technology combines fin with clip module in a special triangle shape. With the original anti-turbulence structure plus the new triangle cooling design, it enhances the efficiency of heat dissipation dramatically by minimizing the flow of turbulence between fans.
We have seen graphics cards in the past using the Gigabyte WindForce 3X cooler and the results were impressive.
The R9 280X WindForce 3X OC 3GB is a member of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable VGA range, which only uses Japanese solid capacitors, Ferrite Core (Metal) Chokes that don't give out low-pitched noise under load, and Low RDS (on) MOSFETs. It also means a 2oz copper PCB has been used along with first-tier Samsung/Hynix memory with 100% testing.
Gigabyte has built this Radeon R9 280X from the ground up including a totally reworked PCB. The PCB measures 268mm long but the oversized cooler stretches the card to 286mm long. Keep that in mind if you are using a compact mid-tower in favor of a full-tower case.
As with the Asus card, we find that Gigabyte has stuck with the standard 6-pin/8-pin PCIe power connector configuration, though Gigabyte has gone off script with their output configuration, dumping a DVI port for a pair of mini-DisplayPort's. We don't have strong feelings one way or the other, but gamers should be aware that just a single dual-link DVI port is on offer here.
Out of all the R9 280X graphics cards in this roundup, the Gigabyte R9 280X WindForce 3X OC 3GB is by far the easiest to find retailing for $300.