Good review as always Tom.
mantle gave a good increase in performance there, especially given the CPU your using.
Only time will tell how much mantle will benefit gamers, lets hope Thief comes to market with full support for ALL GCN GPUs and works in Crossfire unlike BF4 at present.
One thing i will add here, the PCB on this MSI card is reference,so it is watercooling capable (checked by EK here
), but also contains some of higher quality components compared to the reference card (MSI military class) and likely could be a higher binned chip.
Definitely worth considering for those water cooling or planning to watercool a 290, especially those who can't watercool immediately considering the stock card's noise levels and throttling. It also has a good looking backplate at stock