The AMD Radeon R9 is already the leading graphics card family for the Bitcoin mining community, but the company is preparing to double their pleasure with its new R9 295X2, which manages to pack a pair of R9 290X GPUs into one board.
As that suggests, the specs of the 295X2 are mostly those of the 290X -- times two. That means double the stream processors (5,632 total), double the video RAM (8GB in all), and, of course, double the power consumption (500 watts). There is a slight uptick in the peak clock speed, from 1000MHz to 1018MHz. In all, AMD claims there's 11.5 teraflops of computing power packed into the card.
Because the 295X2 requires an additional 125 watts of power beyond what the company's previous dual-GPU card, the Radeon HD 7990, needed, AMD has enlisted Asetek to provide a closed-loop liquid cooling system with 120mm radiator (and a fan that lights up red) to keep things cooler and quieter. The card is built from powder-coated aluminum, though you'll only be able to appreciate the aesthetic appeal of the metal construction until you actually install it in your system.
Once inside, the Radeon R9 295X2 performs, according to early reviews, as you might expect -- like a beast. Anandtech says AMD made "absolutely no performance compromises in putting a pair of Hawaii GPUs on to a single video card," while HotHardware concludes that "this is one of the most drool-worthy graphics cards to ever come out AMD."
The price, however, will elicit more of a spit take than drooling. Expect the 295X2 to cost around $1,499 when it's released later this month -- obviously a ton of money considering that it will cost more than most PCs, but not crazy when compared to buying a pair of R9 290X cards and a liquid cooling solution separately. It's also half the amount for which Nvidia plans to sell its own dual-GPU super-card, the GeForce GTX Titan Z. If you'd rather purchase the 295X2 in a pre-built system, Maingear has already announced the Rush Vesuvius Edition, which starts at a cool $4,479 for a souped-up desktop that also includes an Intel Core i7-4820K quad-core processor, among other high-end specs.