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AMD Radeon R9 Fury Review: Sapphire Tri-X Overclocked

Quickly following the Fury X, AMD’s next graphics foray is a cut-down Fiji called Fury, running at 1000MHz GPU clock. We tested Sapphire’s Tri-X Overclocked version.

How We Test

Test System

Tom’s Hardware standardized the benchmarking test system across all of our various locations and reviewers for 2015. The idea being that we can compare the tests that everyone does and rule out any discrepancies from using different components. The PC we all use has an Intel Core i7-5930K, 16GB of DDR4, two 500GB SSDs from Crucial and an MSI X99S XPower motherboard. We also use an 850W Platinum-rated power supply from be quiet!, which gives us the headroom to test even the most power-hungry graphics cards.

Software & Drivers

We’ll be making use of the results recently garnered from our GTX 980 Ti and R9 Fury X evaluations. Some of the tests use different drivers. For instance, Nvidia's 352.90 build was used for all tests on the GTX 980 Ti. It was also used for all Nvidia GPUs while testing Grand Theft Auto V. All other games were tested with GeForce driver 347.84 for the Titan X, 980 and 780 Ti.

AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury X and Fury were both tested using Catalyst 15.15 Beta, since it was the only driver with support for Fiji when testing was conducted. Catalyst 15.5 Beta was used to test the 290X, as 15.15 does not support it.

As we noted earlier, though, two days before the Fury release, AMD published Catalyst 15.7. Igor managed to test GTA V, Shadow of Mordor, Battlefield 4, Metro Last Light and Thief. In all of his spot checks, there were no appreciable performance differences. The new driver primarily focuses on features like DX12 and Windows 10 support.

In addition to running all of the tests using Sapphire's stock settings, the Fury Tri-X was tested at AMD’s reference specifications, which gives us a nice baseline for comparing other reference-class Fury cards (like the other model Sapphire intends to launch). Sapphire pointed out that initial stock for these cards will be limited, while its lower-clocked model will be more obtainable.

Direct XDirectX 11
Graphics DriversGeForce GTX 980 Ti: Nvidia 352.90 Beta Driver All GeForce Cards in Grand Theft Auto V and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Nvidia 352.90 Beta Driver GeForce GTX Titan X, 980, and 780 Ti in all other games: Nvidia 347.25 Beta Driver Radeon R9 290 X: AMD Catalyst 15.5 Beta Radeon R9 Fury X and Fury: AMD Catalyst 15.15

Benchmarks

Middle-earth: Shadow of MordorBuilt-in benchmark, 40-sec Fraps, Ultra preset
Battlefield 4Custom THG Benchmark, 100-sec Fraps, Ultra preset
Metro Last LightBuilt-in benchmark, 145-sec Fraps, Very High preset, 16x AF, Normal motion blur
Tomb RaiderVersion 1.01.748.0, Custom THG Benchmark, 40-sec Fraps, Ultimate preset
Far Cry 4Version 1.9.0, Custom THG benchmark, 60-sec Fraps, Ultra preset
Grand Theft Auto VBuild 350, Online 1.26, In-game benchmark sequence #5, 110-sec Fraps, FXAA: On, MSAA: 2x, Texture Quality: Very High, Shader Quality: Very High, Shadow Quality: High, Reflection Quality: Very High, Water Quality: High, Particles Quality: Very High, Grass Quality: High, Soft Shadows: Softer, Post FX: Very High, Anisotropic Filtering: 16x

Noise

As usual, we’re using a high-quality measurement microphone that is positioned perpendicular to the center of the graphics card in question at a distance of 50cm for our noise measurements. Smaart v.7 is used for the analysis. The ambient noise at night during our measurements never exceeded 26dB(A) and was recorded and accounted for during each individual noise measurement.

Power Test System

Test MethodContact-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 Equipment2 x HAMEG HMO 3054, 500MHz Digital Multi-channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function 4 x HAMEG HZO50 Current Probe (1mA-30A, 100kHz, DC) 4 x HAMEG HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500MHz) 1 x HAMEG HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function 1 x Optris PI450 80Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect
Test SystemIntel Core i7-5930K 4.2 GHz + Raijintek Triton All-In-One Water CoolerCrucial Ballistix Sport, 4x 4GB DDR4-2400MSI X99S XPower AC2x Crucial MX200 500GB SSD (System, Applications + Data, Storage)be quiet! Dark Power Pro 850WMicrocool Banchetto 101Windows 8.1 (Completely Updated)
DriversAMD: Catalyst 15.5 Beta / 15.15 BetaNvidia: GeForce 353.06 WHQL
  • Troezar
    Some good news for AMD. A bonus for Nvidia users too, more competition equals better prices for us all.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Kevin, Igor, thank you for the review. Now the question people might want to ask themselves is, is the $80-$100 extra for the Fury X worth it? :-)
    Reply
  • bjaminnyc
    My next card, nice job AMD.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    When the @#$@#$#$@#$@ are your web designers going to fix the bleeping arrows on the charts????!!!!!
    Reply
  • eza
    fyi - typos in verdict: should be "has proven" and "fewer texture units"
    Reply
  • ern88
    I would like to get this card. But I am currently playing at 1080p, but will probably got to 1440p soon!!!!
    Reply
  • confus3d
    Serious question: does 4k on medium settings look better than 1080p on ultra for desktop-sized screens (say under 30")? These cards seem to hold a lot of promise for large 4k screens or eyefinity setups.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    This is my next card for certain. Fury X is a bit too expensive for my taste. With driver updates, I think the results will get better.
    Reply
  • Larry Litmanen
    Serious question: does 4k on medium settings look better than 1080p on ultra for desktop-sized screens (say under 30")? These cards seem to hold a lot of promise for large 4k screens or eyefinity setups.

    I was in microcenter the other day, one of the very few places you can actually see a 4K display physically. I have to say i wasn't impressed, everything looked small, it just looks like they shrunk the images on PC.

    Maybe it was just that monitor but it did not look special to the point where i would spend $500 on monitor and $650 for a new GPU.
    Reply
  • Embra
    I hope you can add the 5.7 driver results.
    Reply