AMD Radeon R9 Fury Review: Sapphire Tri-X Overclocked

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AMD targeted the GTX 980 as Fury's direct competition. But this sample is factory-overclocked, so it merits a comparison to the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Titan X as well. The Fury X is an obvious inclusion, since everyone is dying to see how AMD's two Fiji-based boards stack up to each other.

Battlefield 4

Sapphire’s Fury Tri-X performs well in QHD, though this is one of the few occasions where Fury gains nothing over the GeForce GTX 980. Both cards demonstrate the same average frame rates.

Things change a little bit when the resolution jumps to 3840x2160 as AMD's Fury pulls away from the 980 by roughly three frames per second. These aren't what I'd consider playable numbers, though. Running around in a shooter at 30 FPS isn't particularly enjoyable; you'd want to turn the quality settings down to make 4K more viable.

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 seems to favor the GCN architecture. Both the Fury X and Sapphire's Fury Tri-X see higher peak frame rates than either of the Nvidia options. Strangely, Fury X didn’t fare well on this test, but both the reference and factory-overclocked Fury Tri-X tests yield strong results, with the overclocked version besting even the mighty Titan X in average and maximum frame rate.

Fury X takes the crown for Far Cry 4 in Ultra HD. Again, the Fury cards are favored over Nvidia's GeForces. Even at reference clock rates, Fury keeps pace with Titan X.

Grand Theft Auto V

The Sapphire R9 Fury Tri-X handles GTA V in QHD like a champ, averaging nearly 65 FPS. Even at the lowest point, it maintains more than 45. The games plays smoothly at that frame rate, we'd say.

Ultra HD, on the other hand, is not enjoyable at these detail settings. Even the menus you hit before entering the game feel sluggish.

Metro: Last Light

There’s something about Metro that Fury really likes, be it a big memory pipeline or lots of extra shaders. All three Fury variants share the same 82 FPS average rate. The Fury X enjoys a slightly higher minimum frame rate, but not as high of a maximum. Nvidia’s GTX 980 Ti trails Sapphire's R9 Fury Tri-X Overclocked by an average of seven frames per second.

Ultra HD mirrors the results at 2560x1440. Each version of Fiji bests the mighty GM200 in Metro, if by only the slightest of margins.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor’s results are more in line with the rest of the games in our test suite, where Fury comes in right behind the Fury X's performance. The game is very playable at its Ultra preset at 2560x1440, dipping into the 50 FPS range, but averaging closer to 75 FPS.

The Fury provides a decent experience at 4K, never dipping below 30 frames per second, and maintaining an average above 40. Still, you’d likely want smoother performance, so dial back some of the detail settings.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider was released back in 2013, yet remains a taxing title. At 1440p, Sapphires Fury Tri-X Overclocked registers an average of 72 FPS, though the occasional dip under 40 FPS feels a little jerky at times.

The game isn’t as playable at 3840x2160. You would definitely want to scale some of its quality settings back. With an average only slightly above 30, and dips down to 21 FPS, the frame rate just isn’t smooth enough for an enjoyable experience.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • Troezar
    Some good news for AMD. A bonus for Nvidia users too, more competition equals better prices for us all.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Kevin, Igor, thank you for the review. Now the question people might want to ask themselves is, is the $80-$100 extra for the Fury X worth it? :-)
  • bjaminnyc
    My next card, nice job AMD.
  • vertexx
    When the @#$@#$#$@#$@ are your web designers going to fix the bleeping arrows on the charts????!!!!!
  • eza
    fyi - typos in verdict: should be "has proven" and "fewer texture units"
  • ern88
    I would like to get this card. But I am currently playing at 1080p, but will probably got to 1440p soon!!!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Embra
    I hope you can add the 5.7 driver results.