Sapphire's Dual-X R9 280 OC Graphics Card Review

Game Benchmarks

Watch Dogs

We begin our benchmarks with Watch Dogs. As you already know, its developers stand accused of handicapping the potential graphics quality of the PC version to maintain parity with consoles. Regardless, it's a fun game with attractive visuals that definitely exploit available GPU horsepower.

At the high detail preset, Sapphire's Dual-X R9 280 has a slight advantage over the competition. The GeForce GTX 760 fares better in our frame time variance measurement, but all of the cards display an acceptable result with few spikes at or above 15 milliseconds. We didn't notice any particularly smooth or laggy products during our tests.

Arma 3

Arma 3 is a brutally realistic combat simulator, and it's also taxing on the PC.

The results are quite close, but Sapphire's Dual-X 280 manages a slight advantage in both frame rate and frame time variance over the GeForce GTX 760 and Radeon HD 7950 Boost.

Battlefield 4

The Battlefield 4 benchmark gives us an opportunity to turn on AMD's Mantle graphics API and see if the company has made any improvements compared to DirectX since we last checked.

The Mantle rendering option does grant the Radeon cards a miniscule boost in FPS, but nothing to boast about. The results are extremely close across the board, though Sapphire's card once again garners an insignificant win.

Battlefield 4 is known for low frame time variance, and these tests do nothing to dispel that expectation.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is another game that demands a great deal from PC hardware in exchange for beautiful graphics. Will any of these competing graphics cards be able to separate themselves from the pack?

Not really. It is almost as though the Radeon 7950 Boost, R9 280, and GeForce GTX 760 were designed to deliver extremely close performance in the benchmarks we picked.


Thief is known to demonstrate significant advantages for Radeon cards when the Mantle API is enabled, so lets see if the GeForce is able to keep up.

It's no surprise that Nvidia's GeForce GTX 760 is behind the pack in this title, but it still presents a playable result. The Radeons enjoy a smoother frame rate, however, and never drop below 30 FPS. The Mantle API does add a couple of frames per second to the minimum and average performance numbers.

The average frame latency is low across all three cards. We see some GeForce spikes in the sample, but that evens out with the Radeon cards over time according to the average and percentile data.


Titanfall is a difficult game to benchmark in a consistent manner; the only way to select a specific map is via a private multiplayer match, which is incompatible with Fraps due to the game's dependance on EA Origin's overlay. Our benchmark therefore consists of standing in place and looking at a demanding part of the Demeter map.

The results are very close, so once again there's not too much to discuss.

  • Menigmand
    Why no noise measurements ?
  • patrichpachich
    ill wait for tonga
  • Nuckles_56
    Why no noise measurements ?
    The one thing I was really interested to see
  • blackmagnum
    This... as a newer, faster and more power efficient R9 285 comes out?
    What are the board partners thinking?
  • Omegaclawe
    They got the wrong memory bandwidth for the R9 280 and 7950 cards... it's 384-bit.

    Which is why I'm worried that the 285 won't be able to keep up. Particularly at higher resolutions.

  • elbert
    Wow mantle gives Intel 6 cores relevance in games. Wonder if AMD will design a 16 core now for the AM3? Cant wait to see mantle on Intels new 8 core CPU's.
  • Shneiky
    Am I the only one who finds it unfair to bench an Overclocked card and put it against a reference model?
  • elbert
    The mantle 4770 test for thief was -.1 min fps and only 1fps average increase. Clearly on the 6 core its getting more in both min fps and average.
  • elbert
    The battlefield 4 mantle test lost performance with the 4770 on 1080.
  • cleeve
    14034247 said:
    Am I the only one who finds it unfair to bench an Overclocked card and put it against a reference model?

    This is a Sapphire Dual-X review, not a reference 280 launch.

    The Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 comes overclocked from the factory.