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

AMD's 300-series Radeons dropped today, and we've got three MSI cards in the lab: the R9 390X Gaming 8G, the R9 380 Gaming 2G and the R7 370 Gaming 2G.

Since AMD isn’t sending out reference versions of its newest graphics cards, we’re using samples from MSI to explore the new 300 series. The R9 390X Gaming 8G, R9 380 Gaming 2G and R7 370 Gaming 2G all sport GPU and memory overclocking from the factory. Further, MSI’s Zero Frozr cooler turns off in low load and temperature situations.

But let’s get back to the three new graphics cards, which, in reality, aren’t really that new. There’s actually a good reason for a feeling of déjà vu when reading this article: the GPUs have all been around for a generation or two.

AMD Radeon R7 370: Pitcairn Returns (Again and Again and Again)

In March of 2012, more than three years ago, Pitcairn first saw the light of day. It was in a card called the Radeon HD 7850 back then, and it later resurfaced as the R7 270. Pitcairn continues life as the Radeon R7 370. No longer content to rename just its products, AMD is renaming GPUs as well. This one is being referred to as Trinidad.

We’ll see when we get to the benchmarks that this smaller GPU shouldn’t be written off yet, even though it’s transitioning from mid-range down to the entry-level segment.

MSI’s new offering can call 1024 shaders and 2GB of graphics memory its own, and it’s is the smallest of the new graphics cards. We’ve gone over its technical specifications more than once and will consequently just refer you back to our original launch article from the year 2012: AMD Radeon HD 7870 And 7850 Review: Pitcairn Gets Benchmarked

AMD Radeon R9 380: Tonga Makes the Switch from R9 285 to R9 380

Antigua Pro (previously called Tonga) makes a reappearance as well in the Radeon R9 380. This card is another rebrand, plain and simple. But at least it’s built on a more recent version of AMD’s GCN architecture than Pitcairn. It was launched in September of 2014.

The only improvement over its predecessor seems to be higher GPU and memory clock rates. The card’s power consumption increases right along with them, which means that the new revision likely doesn’t include any actual changes.

Once again, we won’t rehash the technical details. Instead, we’ll just take a look at the performance differences and what they’ll cost you on your electric bill. Those who really want to know all the details can always reference our original launch article, AMD Radeon R9 285 Review: Tonga and GCN Update 3.0.

It’s too bad that all Radeon R9 380 boards don't get upgraded to 4GB of GDDR5 memory. As it sits now, there will be two versions, one with 2GB and one with 4GB; the boards we've seen and tested are the former.

AMD Radeon R9 390X: Hawaii’s Return

Even the largest graphics card we benchmarked for this article, MSI’s R9 390X Gaming 8G, is just an old acquaintance with a new name. In this case, the Radeon R9 290X with its Hawaii XT GPU makes another appearance. It was launched on October 24, 2013, which is to say that it’s about 1.5 years old at this point. The GPU is now called Grenada XT.

This isn’t really an unprecedented move. Nvidia did the same thing with its Kepler architecture, renaming the GeForce GTX 680 to GeForce GTX 770. The company then came out with its Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 750 Ti and placed the 780, 780 Ti and Titan above it in the pecking order.

It looks like something similar is about to happen with the Radeon R9 390X, since AMD’s Fury cards are just around the corner.

Until then, Hawaii needs to hold the fort with more memory, a higher clock rate and even more power consumption than its predecessor. Its architecture hasn’t changed at all either, so we’re forgoing the theory part of the review again. Those interested in it can refer to our original launch article once more: Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD's Back In Ultra-High-End Gaming.


HIS R9 290X
IceQ WaterCooled
MSI R9 390X
Gaming 8G
Gigabyte R9 285
Windforce OC
MSI R9 380
Gaming 2G
HIS R7 270
iPower Boost
MSI R7 370
Gaming 2G
Process
28nm
28nm28nm28nm28nm
28nm
Transistors
6.2 Billion
6.2 Billion5 Billion5
Billion
2.8 Billion2.8
Billion
GPU Clock
1100MHz
1100MHz
973MHz
1000MHz
925MHz
1050MHz
Shaders
2816
2816
1792
1792
1024
1024
Texture Units
176
176
112
112
64
64
Texture
Fillrate
193.6 GT/s
193.6 GT/s
109 GT/s
112 GT/s
59.2 GT/s
67.2 GT/s
ROPs
64
64
64
32
32
32
Pixel Fillrate
70.4 GP/s
70.4 GP/s
62.3 GP/s
70.4 GP/s
29.6 GP/s
33.6 GP/s
Memory Bus
512-bit
512-bit
256-bit
256-bit
256-bit256-bit
Memory
4GB GDDR5
8GB GDDR5
2GB GDDR5
2GB GDDR5
2GB GDDR52GB GDDR5
Memory
Clock
1350MHz
1525MHz
1375MHz
1400MHz
1400MHz
1425MHz
Memory
Bandwidth
320 GB/s
390.4 GB/s
176 GB/s
179.2 GB/s
179.2 GB/s
182.4 GB/s