AMD Radeon R9 390X, R9 380 And R7 370 Tested

MSI Zero Frozr And Noise

MSI Zero Frozr

One feature that makes MSI’s new graphics cards unique is Zero Frozr, which turns off the fan during idle or low loads. This is a capability that we know from Nvidia’s three newest graphics card and it’s balanced well; there are no wild fan speed fluctuations.

We already talked about the underlying RPM curves and their corresponding thermal readings on the previous page. These fan speeds are ultimately responsible for the actual noise levels of all three graphics cards in this test.

The following graphs show how the fans rev up smoothly. They’re given a big push via extra voltage to make sure that they get going in the beginning. The underlying rationale for this is that fans do have production tolerances, which is to say that they don’t all function equally well. Of course, they get older as well. The initial bump is a pure safety feature. It’s not really audible, so you won’t find yourself annoyed by it.


We measure each graphics card's noise levels with a calibrated high-quality studio microphone 50cm away from a position perpendicular to the middle of the board. This distance, as well as the strong cardioid microphone characteristic, represents a compromise between avoiding noise generated by the fan’s airflow and ambient noise that can never be completely eliminated. Our noise-dampening efforts certainly help, but they'll never be 100 percent successful.

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Room22°COpen BenchtableGaming LoopOpen BenchtableTortureClosed CaseGaming LoopClosed CaseTortureIdle
MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G:32.5 dB(A)33.6 dB(A)32.4 (*)33.2 dB(A)0 dB(A)
MSI R9 380Gaming 2G:37.4 dB(A)38.8 dB(A)35.3 dB(A)36.3 dB(A)0 dB(A)
MSI R9 390XGaming 8G:38.4 dB(A)40.1 dB(A)37.2 dB(A)38.5 dB(A)0 dB(A)

(*) Noise level of the test system was higher than that of the graphics card. It was impossible to separate the two.

  • mikenygmail
    Nicely done AMD. Keep up the good work Lisa! :)
  • FreshPineApples
  • BadNight
    Why did you ignore 390? It's basically a 390x for $100 less.
  • Grognak
    390X at 4K is the only one showing anything that could be called an improvement and that's entirely due to the additional RAM, which you can already get on a 290X. I fear for the future.
  • envy14tpe
    Again I am left disappointed....AMD please stop doing this to me. So what I learned is the 390X is the same as the 290X at 1440p or below (which is 95% or more of gamers) and the 390X only excels at 4k but still only on par with the 980 (non ti). Looks like I'm abandoning AMD for my next GPU. damn it.
  • whimseh
    Nice to see 980 Ti still stomps everything, glad I bought one... a wise investment!
  • FormatC
    Why did you ignore 390?
    I can only test what I have. Too less samples :(

    The 390X is'nt a bad card per se - it depends a lot at the price and your personal preferences.
  • fudoka711
    Wait, I think I'm misunderstanding something. Is the 390x a rebranding of the 290x, but costing $100 more??
  • HideOut
    Nice to see 980 Ti still stomps everything, glad I bought one... a wise investment!
    These are rebadge cards, their new cards are due out in days. Fanboy
  • de5_Roy
    MSI R9 390X Gaming 8G's texture fillrate in the spec table (1st page) may have been incorrect. the gpu-z screeny shows 193.6 GTexels/sec.