Of course you can purchase a water block from a few different manufacturers. You will need to install it, potentially void your GPU warranty, test it yourself and do your own overclocking. These are some reasons VisionTek believes it will persuade you into buying the CryoVenom R9 290. They may just be on to something when you look at the numbers.
For the example below, we will only include what is concrete and easily verified. Price. We will not try to figure out labor cost of installing the block either. There is no need to discuss or include the rest of a water cooling system while factoring into the cost of acquiring this GPU versus any other solutions because the buyer already has plans on building it or has already built it. That would be like counting the whole system against you for using a certain CPU cooler. The cost of water cooling vs air is totally different topic.
Below is a few possible solutions based on current pricing. Reference board R9 290 has a current price range from $429-499. For this example I used a middle number of $450.
||Full Cover Block Price
Simple math shows that VisionTeK is in fact offering a very competitive product at the listed $600 price tag. Ordering the EK solution comes very close to the CryoVenom, however once you include shipping cost, time spent installing and possibly voiding your warranty it becomes a more costly proposition to buy everything separate. Performance vs another 290 with a full cover block will be almost identical. The main differences are coming from the CryoVenom vs. Reference cooled 290. There will be a larger overall performance because there will be no throttling down, so performance will be more consistent across the board.
Everything is not perfect when it comes to this solution. Purchasing the CryoVenom will limit you to only the EK block that VisionTek chose. There is no say in the matter unlike if you shopped around to purchase separately. Shopping around potentially has another advantage. If you purchase a R9 290 by itself, the warranty length is generally around 3 years. If installing a water block does not void the warranty altogether, it will be up to 3 times longer then the warranty offered with the CryoVenom R9 290. Yes you heard me. This only comes with a one year warranty. I am guessing that the warranty is shortened because of the expectation of higher overclocks. Remember VisionTek did not send you an overclocked GPU. They just offered suggested and verified clock speeds the CryoVenom can handle safely.
So as you can see from this brief review there are some advantages to picking up the VisionTek CryoVenom if you are a water cooling enthusiast and looking for a performance GPU. The $600 price tags looks like a lot on face value but actually works out in your favor when compared to purchasing everything separately. My only gripe is the shortened warranty period. If you can swallow that, then choosing the CryoVenom R9 290 is a good buy at the moment. Overall, the CryoVenom 290 is a great piece of hardware and easily earns PureOC “Great hardware” Award.
** VisionTek informed me there is also a CryoVenom R9 290 Limited Edition GPU. The 290LE comes in a custom wooden crate, Inject specimen T-Shirt and a Battlefield 4 redemption code. Sticker price of $650. However VisionTek is celebrating Tax time buy offering an additional 5% off the Cryovenom 290 and 290LE. To receive the special “income tax refund” 5% discount, customers should use the coupon code “CRYO5ALIVE” during checkout by May 1, 2014. Only available on https://www.visiontekproducts.com/