Extra performance is always welcome, whether that is CPU performance, memory performance, SSD performance or GPU performance.  It makes it a lot more worthwhile if the performance comes at a lower than expected cost.  This is what VisionTek are trying to do with their new R9 290 CryoVenom – this is a custom built liquid cooled card designed to be cheaper than a self-built liquid cooling solution.

On the front of it, the CryoVenom is just another GPU with a water block attached (users will have to supply their own water loop), however VisionTek are trying to cut out a lot of the hard work for the user.  The card will have the water block preinstalled (similar to the EVGA Hydro range), and will be factory tested for a suggested overclock.  The GPU will come out of the box at stock settings, but VisionTek will custom test each one and provide in the box a certificate with their 95% percentile overclock, allowing users to go straight in to Catalyst and set the numbers.

VisionTek are going to sell the CryoVenom for $550 with a one year warranty, which they compare to a DIY version which breaks down into the following cost scenario:

R9 290 card $400.00, Water block $140.00, Back plate $36.00
Assembly, Pressure Testing, and Overclocking Verification: estimated three hours at a value of $75.00
Total cost: $651.00
Warranty: None
Hassle Factor: High

This is fair enough – if you water cool your own cards then the warranty is gone and there is always a risk that something might break.  That being said, the CryoVenom is $150 more than a standard R9 290 card, although it is a quiet solution and has all the tools necessary for a good overclock as long as the user has a suitable water loop to pair it with.

The water block itself is designed to cover the GPU core, the memory and the VRMs, leaving nothing uncovered.  The copper base is nickel plated to prevent corrosion and precision cut acrylic is applied on top.  The rear back plate is anodized aluminum, providing passive VRM cooling.

The VisionTek R9 290 CryoVenom should be available today direct from their website at $550.

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  • smunter6 - Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - link

    Ironic side note: this is cheaper than any open air cooled 290 on the market.
  • iamkyle - Thursday, January 9, 2014 - link

    And just like that, they are out of stock. Gotta love those BTC miners!
  • wbensky - Thursday, January 9, 2014 - link

  • makerofthegames - Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - link

    I'm surprised they kept the normal 2-slot width and air vents on this. It looks like the unit is thin enough that it could have been a single-slot card if they sacrificed the second DVI port. And the air vent seems unnecessary - it might even marginally worsen cooling of the rest of the system by letting air in/out where it shouldn't.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - link

    Queue the dremel, or if you lack class like I do, a hacksaw.
  • BrightCandle - Thursday, January 9, 2014 - link

    It might look like it could be single slot but because of the barbs the card will almost certainly need that second slot in one of the two directions at least. You might be able to have it only take up one slot in the usual direction (down), but it requires the barbs to come out the backside above the CPU. In Crossfire its more typical to have one barb come out on the CPU side and have an extender come out from the card to the next card and finally have the last bit of water come out the bottom. The extender needs the space of a card slot to be workable with and the last card has water being expelled at the bottom so the barb and tubing is taking up the second slot as well.

    Equally important is you don't want to loose a DVI slot.
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, January 9, 2014 - link

    I'd happily lose the DVI slot (displayport ftw!), and the barbs aren't a fuss: as long as there's enough clearance to fit in a normal PCIe card (I have a network card and a sound card in my PC, and a RAIDcard is in the wings. All in all, for a two card setup, my machine is already completely full, and I have to use a PCIe extender to fit any more.

    I'm not saying remove it for everyone, just give us a removable DVI port (via a ribbon cable or something).
  • madmilk - Thursday, January 9, 2014 - link

    Given that air-cooled R9 290s are still over $500... this is quite a steal.
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Thursday, January 9, 2014 - link

    This looks fantastic. I would not mind this card at all.

    Does anyone know if they have a 290X in mind?
  • superart2 - Monday, February 10, 2014 - link


    Just managed to snag one of these bad boys. Came out to just under $600 with tax and shipping.

    They were scheduled to start selling these at 10:00amCST. They BuyIt button showed up at 10:15, and they were all sold out before 10:30.

    Lucky me :-D !!

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