Cold versus Hot R9 290X Results
The first set of results are going to showcase the performance differences between the "cold" and "hot" runs of Crysis 3 at each selected fan speed. Through these graphs, you'll see noticeable performance deltas (between the two runs) at the lower fan speeds and minimal deltas at the higher fan speeds.
With the maximum fan speed set at 20%, the R9 290X shows a very significant performance difference between the card at initial start up and after just a handful of minutes in the game. Average frame rates go from ~29 to ~24 which is equal to more than 20%. Clearly the game play experience would be affected.
At a 30% maximum fan speed setting, there are still very dramatic performance drops from the first run in Crysis 3 to the second run. We see basically the same 20% drop in average frame rate.
At 40% maximum fan speed we are looking at the out of box results you would get if you bought an R9 290X today. While clearly more consistent than the 20% or 30% results above, there are still performance differences between runs. Going from an average frame rate of 29 FPS to 26 FPS is a drop of 10% and, if you look at the Frame Times plot, you can see that in fact the delta between Run 1 and Run 2 actually expands over the 60 second window.
A 50% fan speed is ALMOST what you have with the 290X in the "Uber" fan mode and we clearly see a big advantage here. Performance in Run 1 is nearly identical to the performance in Run 2 with very little change in average frame rate and no change in the Frame Times graph.
At 60% we see no change from the 50% results above; moving the maximum fan speed up another 10% did us no good for expanding performance.