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

How We Test

Test System

We’ve introduced our complete methodology for graphics card benchmarking in our foundations article. Consequently, we’re just listing the main components in the table below.

Test Methodology:
Contact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card)
Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable
Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply
Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording
Test Equipment:
2 x HAMEG HMO3054, 500MHz Four-Channel Oscilloscope with Data Logger
4 x HAMEG HZO50 Current Probe
4 x HAMEG HZ355 (10:1 Probe, 500MHz)
1 x HAMEG HMC8012 DSO with Data Logger
1 x Optris PI450 80Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect
Test System:
Intel Core i7-5930X overclocked to 4.2GHz + Raijintek Triton All-in-One Water Cooler
Crucial Ballistix Sport, 4x 4GB DDR4 2400
MSI X99S XPower AC
2x Crucial 512GB (System, Applications + Data, Storage)
Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 850W
Microcool Banchetto 101
Windows 8.1 (Fully Updated)
Drivers:
AMD: Catalyst 15.5 Beta / 15.15 Beta
Nvidia: GeForce 353.06 WHQL

AMD’s 200-Series Comparison Graphics Cards

We were really interested to see how the new cards, especially the Radeon R9 390X, would stack up against their predecessors. We had to dig deep to find a model with the same stock clock rate, but eventually succeeded: HIS’ R9 290X IceQ Water Cooled 4GB doesn’t just have the same frequency as MSI’s R9 390X, but also sports a hybrid water cooling solution that managed to minimize leakage currents in spite of its high power consumption.

We want to assess if AMD has successfully optimized the new version of its Hawaii GPU or simply took a brute force approach by increasing clock rates as much as possible.

We’re comparing the MSI R9 380 Gaming G2 to Gigabyte's R9 285 Windforce with its 973MHz overclocked from the factory. The tuned R7 370 Gaming 2G goes up against HIS' R7 270 IceQ X² Turbo Boost Clock that also runs at 975MHz, as well as an older Radeon HD 7850 card based on the same Pitcairn GPU. The benchmarks are rounded out by suitable Nvidia graphics cards: the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 980, 970 and GTX 960.

Unique Aspects Of Power Consumption Measurement

We’ve gone over our complete methodology for graphics card power consumption measurement in our foundations article, so we’ll stick with the highlights here.

In order to measure and record eight channels at the same time (4x voltage, 4x current), we need two coupled oscilloscopes (master-slave setup). We measure each of the PCIe power connectors separately. The reasons for this should be well-known by now–graphics cards like the Radeon R9 295X2 make this kind of setup unavoidable, since each of the connectors serves one of the GPUs.

The currents on the 3.3 and 12V rails are measured between the graphics card and the motherboard via two loops of a riser card that was constructed specifically for this purpose.

We’re using 1ms intervals for all of our results. These represent numbers that have been cumulated by our measurement equipment in order to get the massive amounts of data generated by these measurements under control.

Infrared Temperature Measurement With The Optris PI450

We’ve found that the temperature results aren’t just more interesting for us, but also for our readers, if we supplement the usual temperature diagrams and curves with meaningful pictures of our infrared camera.

The Optris PI450 is an infrared camera that was developed specifically for process monitoring. It allows us to shoot both pictures and video at a good resolution. These don’t just show the maximum temperatures, but also any weaknesses in board or cooler design.

The Optris PI450 provides infrared pictures at a massive rate of 80Hz in real time. These can be transferred to a separate system via USB and recorded there as a video. The camera’s thermal sensitivity is 40mK, which is particularly well suited for the detection of small temperature differences, which is great for us, of course.

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277 comments
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  • mikenygmail
    Nicely done AMD. Keep up the good work Lisa! :)
  • FreshPineApples
    Cool
  • 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
    Quote:
    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
    Quote:
    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.
  • HideOut
    While im at it, theres a typo up top (maybe someone else pointed it out by now?)

    390x/290x water cooled. Texture fill rates should be the same but they are not.
  • mikenygmail
    Impressive, AMD really did well with the Fiji archictecture, though you wouldn't really know it from the article and comments.
  • FormatC
    @HideOut & de5_Roy
    There are typos in US this version, in German it was already fixed. Copy'n'Paste from an older table. Sorry. I'll inform my US colleagues to fix ist soon.
  • vertexx
    Love all that MSI Red & Black!

    I wonder what a fully enabled Tonga GPU could do.....
  • afya
    Wrong driver. Use the new 15.15 to test again. The original 15.200 shown in GPU-Z is not very optimized.
  • danilson1009
    Its funny because guru3d.com tested the MSI 390x and the gtx 980 and at 1440p and 4k the 2 cards are almost identical across a whole lot more games tested. Why are these tests so much different???
  • Emanuel Elmo
    Quote:
    Quote:
    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


    And exactly which ones will those be?
  • dragonsqrrl
    Quote:
    Wait, I think I'm misunderstanding something. Is the 390x a rebranding of the 290x, but costing $100 more??

    Yes, you're comparing the street price of the 4GB 290X to the MSRP of the 390X. Unfortunately for AMD the 390X will likely fall below MSRP fairly quickly.
  • ccarroz
    Quote:
    Nice to see 980 Ti still stomps everything, glad I bought one... a wise investment!

    I grabbed a Ti as well since I was sick of waiting any longer. Would like to see how the Furry X competes though. I find it strange that we get Furry X made for 4k, but only has 4GB of RAM yet they give the 390x 8GB? I am also hooking up the ti to a 4k TV so the lack of HDMI 2.0 in all of these cards is a deal breaker.
  • jjb8675309
    Absolutely no reason to buy these cards, not impressed at all, glad I snatched a slightly used gtx 970 a while ago.
  • ern88
    Why the hell would they drop only 2 gigs of ram in the 380's. That's just retarded. Hell my HD7950 has 3 gigs.
  • John Wittenberg
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    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
    And exactly which ones will those be?


    The Fury X and the Fury X2 which are the new Fiji based cards with HBM. However, my understanding is that they won't be released to market until around September this year. Benchmarks show the Fury X often beating the 980 Ti, but the Fury X2 blows everything away due to it being a dual GPU card (that is still smaller than the 780 Ti/980 Ti - wowza).
  • tslot05qsljgo9ed
    Quote: The small Pitcairn-based graphics card manages to stay significantly under 150W. Average is 147.36 Watts

    How can you say 147.36 Watts is "significantly under 150W" with a straight face?

    That is only 2.64 wattls lower or 1.76% less. That in reality is NOT significantly lower.
  • FunSurfer
    How come the GTX 970 uses 168W on gaming and 243W on stress while the GTX 980 uses 185W on gaming and 177W on stress? 0_o