Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Sapphire says this card is a great value for 1080p gaming, and it is. But at this resolution, the R9 390 trails our 970 until it is overclocked. At higher resolutions, the tables turn.
Using Ultra settings at QHD, it outpaces the R9 290X by a small but consistent margin. The same can be said for the GTX 780 Ti. Remarkably, it manages to maintain an average frame rate only 7 FPS behind the more expensive Fury Tri-X. With a bit of overclocking, that gap naturally shrinks.
At 1440p, our GeForce GTX 970 holds a small lead, while at 4K the R9 390 starts to pull away, keeping its nose above 22 FPS. That's the same minimum observed on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980.
The average frame rate at this resolution is too low to play at these settings. This holds true for every card except the Fury Tri-X, and even that experience isn’t what gamers are going to want. Overclocking doesn't help much either.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
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.
How to turbo-charge your Raspberry Pi 5 with an NVMe boot drive
AI comes to massive gaming monitor to solve burn-in problems - Aorus CO49DQ 49-inch super ultrawide QD-OLED gaming screen
South Korean chipmaking tool firms increase their sales into China, capitalizing on U.S. sanctions against the PRC
:sarcastic: How about an updated hierarchy chart?Reply
great review. i have a question about AMD and project vulkan. do AMD cards benefit from vulkan, like they do (did) from project mantle with the GCN1.1+? also it was said that implementing different multi card setup on DX 12 is harder than anticipated, is project vulkan capable of such feat?Reply
It's good to see competition so close. It does beg the question as to why hardware several years old is still leading the charge.Reply
Both companies seem to be in a bit of a pit. Hopefully the new manufacturing node size will gets things going again.
I am pretty happy with my GTX970 though. It's a nice card.
I m so torn between getting a 390 or gtx970. (1st world problems)Reply
If amd gvr were as good as shadowplay it wouldn't be a contest. But shadowplay is only a 1-2 fps hit compared amd gvr 10-20fps loss. The gtx 970 uses about 100w less than the 390 under load. But the 390 has better specs on paper & seems more future proof. Plus I m worried I'd be stretching my 650w psu with the 390.
note: using hd7870, Ive tried out gvr & its horrible, currently using dxtory & obs.
Tainted, GVR options abound that great features. I have used OBS with some really neat overlay options and Raptr has a solid set of features as well.Reply
As for the PSU, you should be just fine. I run a Nitro 390 on my demo rig and do so with a 450 watt PSU and no issues. In fact at gaming load I have not yet seen the computer push over 400 watts total power load.
Under typical gaming loads the 390 pulls about 80 watts more power. Our cooling solution means this is not a heat issue as we easily handle any heat generated by the card. 80 watts equates to nothing in power usage over typical gaming sessions. Assuming 8 hours per day, every day it would mean a difference at the end of the year of about $25 in extra electric charges.
It's time for an updated "Best GPUs for the $$"Reply
Why is the 980 missing from so many of these charts? There should be a 3rd party OC 980 (not the reference) in every chart if your really wanting to compare price/performance across these options. Is this on purpose to make the 390 look better or a lack of comprehensive testing?Reply
I've been holding out a while to upgrade my GTX 760. Truthfully, I've been patiently waiting to see what Nvidia is going to come up with to counter the AMD 300 cards. Each article I've read, each video benchmark I've watched, just shows the same result, the 390/390x cards outperforms the 970/980! Not by much but it's noteworthy. I guess my money is truly going for the red brand this time around.Reply
I've been holding out a while to upgrade my GTX 760. Truthfully, I've been patiently waiting to see what Nvidia is going to come up with to counter the AMD 300 cards. Each article I've read, each video benchmark I've watched, just shows the same result, the 390/390x cards outperforms the 970/980! Not by much but it's noteworthy. I guess my money is truly going for the red brand this time around.
"Not by much but noteworthy." LOL How does that work? But sure if you'd like your rig having to draw and dispense 100+ watts of internal heat for 3-5 more noteworthy FPS then knock yourself out.
Got myself an MSI 390 to replace my evga 660ti 3gb. Holy poo what an upgrade !Reply
Was running stupidly hot at 84c for a week but then noticed that was due to the game, Mech warrior online using dx 11 which has known issues on a lot of cards, not just AMD.
More than happy with it and happily clocks to 1720 core with an 83% asic