XFX Radeon R7 370 2GB Black Edition Review

High-end graphics cards receive the most attention, but not everyone can afford to spend big bucks on one. Besides, most gamers don’t need that kind of power. Rather, AMD thinks its Radeon R7 370 is the right fit for a large swath of its customers. Our Best Graphics Cards For The Money column would agree. The 370 is one of our picks around the $150 level, after all.

XFX’s R7 370 2GB Black Edition is built on AMD's Trinidad GPU. It's an affordable graphics card designed to deliver enough performance for 1920x1080 at a price point low enough that almost anyone can justify. The R7 370 features 1024 shaders, 64 texture units and 32 ROPs. It operates at a base clock rate of 975MHz, and includes either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory on an aggregate 256-bit bus. The overclocked implementation we're reviewing today comes with 2GB of GDDR5 at 5.8 GT/s and a GPU tuned to 1040MHz GPU.

Specifications

MORE: Best Graphics Cards For The Money
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Product 360

One of the first things you'll notice about the XFX Radeon R7 370 Black Edition 2GB is how devoid of garish bling it is. The shroud is a basic black plastic with a matte finish, and the fans are a slightly glossier finish with reflective XFX logo stickers covering the centers. There is no other color to be found, and the shroud isn’t stylized in a particularly fancy way. XFX even builds the card on a black PCB to keep the aesthetic consistent.

XFX brands its cooling solution Double Dissipation, arming it with two 90mm IP5X fans that push air down through the heat sink. The company uses what it calls Ghost Thermal 3.0 technology, featuring a floating, open-air design. Except where it contacts the GPU, the heat sink is raised above the components on the card. XFX says this offers superior cooling by allowing air to pass freely through the horizontal aluminum fins, though it also leaves the memory modules and VRMs with no direct contact, relying on air passing directly over them for cooling. The GPU, of course, does make contact with the sink, and two 7mm electro-plated copper heat pipes in the shape of a U pass through the fins to improve thermal transfer.

See the plastic tabs in the lower-left and upper-right corners of each 90mm fan? These release the fans from the shroud and allow for easier cleaning, though the wires connecting them to the power source are very short. The fans are only able to be lifted enough to clean out dust.

Measuring from the tip of the I/O bracket to the end of the black plastic shroud, the card is 9.75 inches long. The black PCB is 4 and 3/8 inches tall, but the two heat pipes protrude out the top and add an additional quarter-inch. The dual-slot cooling solution is slightly narrower than some of the other cards I’ve tested recently. XFX's board doesn’t feel very heavy. Still, at 508g, you wouldn't call it light, either.

The Radeon R7 370 Black Edition requires one six-pin power connector, which sticks out the back of the card rather than out its top. It's oriented so that the locking tab faces out, making it easier to remove. As you can see in the picture, XFX reuses this PCB design; there's space for a second power connector that goes unused.

AMD’s newer GPUs do away with physical CrossFire links, but the R7 370's pedigree dates back to Pitcairn, which predates the XDMA engine. As such, a single CrossFire connector enables dual-card configurations.

The outputs found on the back of XFX’s R7 370 Black Edition include dual-link DVI-D and dual-link DVD-I, one HDMI 1.4a port and a full-sized DisplayPort connector. With the remaining space, XFX cut out some ventilation with its logo serving as a grille.

The R7 370 Black Edition's packaging is really quite basic. The box is made of corrugated cardboard and has a slide-out section housing the board. The tray doesn’t provide any support at all. Fortunately, the hardware is tucked inside a thick bubble-wrap bag.

Along with the card, XFX includes a quick-install guide, a driver disc, an install guide and an adapter that converts two four-pin Molex connectors to one six-pin PCIe connector. The R7 370 requires a 500W power supply, so most PSUs should have the requisite cables available already.

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34 comments
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  • blackmagnum
    XFX, you could try throwing in a free game or two or three...
  • Achoo22
    It would be nice if this article had proper links for reviews of the GTX950 that was being compared. I follow Tom's pretty closely, but I don't remember seeing the review and it isn't currently listed in the best-of-the-month column. It also would've been nice, for the sake of comparison, if the article mentioned the price delta between the card in question and the board that tested highest - in this case, it would've been nice to explain that the gtx960 is about $50 more than the r7 370 instead of merely referring to it as "the pricey 960."
  • ErikVinoya
    Would also be nice if we get an updated Best GPU article
  • killerchickens
    Turn down the fan profile and it will magically become quiet.
  • cinergy
    Tom's bashing AMD yet again. Don't worry, soon they will be out of business and you can only buy your precious nvidia.
  • Mac266
    Quote:
    Turn down the fan profile and it will magically become quiet.


    And hot. It's a damn thin line.
  • wkwilley2
    I like how they use a 380 ITX card for the highest end AMD card.....

    not really.
  • americanbrian
    I suspect the aggressive fan profile is to ensure the PCB components that do not contact the heatsink receive adequate airflow. I would be willing to bet that if you relax the fan profile your memory and voltage regulators start getting a bit hot.

    I have to say I am distinctly unimpressed with XFX third party cooling solutions. I have had a number of DD cooled GPU's and they are really bad. For example, one revision of the 7950 has blocked vents over the VRMs so no airflow at all. I had the rear fan blow out prematurely on a 7970. And on another 7950 the card throttled stock clocks until I increased the power limit. Overall just AVOID AVOID AVOID.

    I recommend Sapphire Dual-x/vapour-x, tri-x and Gigabyte windforce third party cooling. MSI-gaming style has also given me problems similar to the XFX DD (failed rear fans, better solution overall though when working).
  • uglyduckling81
    With AMD products it's Sapphire or GTFO in my opinion.
  • Cryio
    This review is off .... The 380 performs slower than a 960 in the majority of the tests, which is strange, since the 380 is the faster card. Then .. all AMD cards have very low and consistently low minimum framerates, which again makes no sense. The 750 Ti even is a fast or faster in some tests compared to a 370, which is insane. The 750 Ti could NEVER reach HD 7850/265 levels, yet here it reaches and outpaces the a 370, which is a 265 that has more efficient memory modules and maybe a slight overclock.

    Also, the fact that a 100+ MHz increase on the core and 150-200 MHz increase on the memory did nothing to performance also is very weird.
  • kcarbotte
    414569 said:
    This review is off .... The 380 performs slower than a 960 in the majority of the tests, which is strange, since the 380 is the faster card. Then .. all AMD cards have very low and consistently low minimum framerates, which again makes no sense. The 750 Ti even is a fast or faster in some tests compared to a 370, which is insane. The 750 Ti could NEVER reach HD 7850/265 levels, yet here it reaches and outpaces the a 370, which is a 265 that has more efficient memory modules and maybe a slight overclock. Also, the fact that a 100+ MHz increase on the core and 150-200 MHz increase on the memory did nothing to performance also is very weird.


    I agree that this is an anomoly that would not be expected, but these are the numbers that were recorded from our test bench.
    Where there appeared to be discrepencies the tests were run multiple times.
  • kcarbotte
    551947 said:
    It would be nice if this article had proper links for reviews of the GTX950 that was being compared. I follow Tom's pretty closely, but I don't remember seeing the review and it isn't currently listed in the best-of-the-month column. It also would've been nice, for the sake of comparison, if the article mentioned the price delta between the card in question and the board that tested highest - in this case, it would've been nice to explain that the gtx960 is about $50 more than the r7 370 instead of merely referring to it as "the pricey 960."


    Here is the link to the 950 review. I'm not sure why it wasn't added to the article.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/asus-geforce-gtx-950-strix,4270.html

    as for the price delta comment, you have a great point, and I will make sure to remember that in the future.
  • Onus
    I've owned three XFX "DD" cards, a HD7770, a HD7870, and a HD7970. The first two of those were always quiet, even under load. The HD7970 was so hot and loud that I returned it for a Gigabyte WF3 model, which is amazing for how cool and quietly it ran, even under 100% load. I also had a XFX HD7750 with a single fan, and it too is silent and cool (now in my father's PC). So, I'd keep buying XFX for low to mid range cards, but not at all for the high-end.
  • Calculatron
    I am the proud (former) owner of the XFX R9 280X Black Edition Double-Dissipation GPU. It was a great card on all accounts, and I have no problems recommending the brand to others.

    One thing that is often overlooked with the Black Edition units is that they are specially binned so that they are factory-overclocked while using the stock voltage.

    XFX has put a lot of time and effort into perfecting their cooling solution over the years; they are often the top bracket of performance, although using only two fans instead of three can hurt their acoustics some. With the higher-end 300-series, they've updated their cooling solution (Ghost Thermal 3.0 now, I think??) and I look forward to seeing to what that brings to the table.
  • Math Geek
    "Our Best Graphics Cards For The Money column would agree. The 370 is one of our picks around the $150 level, after all. "

    when the article is so old (really not updated since june??!!) i'm not sure those recommendations are even valid anymore. prices have changed and new products have come out making this article useless until it updated. this review makes that pretty clear as the gtx 950 seems to beat it for the same money.

    referencing the gpu article (or any of those not updated in months) just seems like a slap in the face to those who had come to know and love the monthly articles and look forward to reading the updates.

    EDIT: since the gpu article has finally been updated (and i'm sure this reviewer knew it was coming) i humbly adjust my comment to reflect this reality. still took a long time but at least it's here now
  • WFang
    Quote:
    Would also be nice if we get an updated Best GPU article

    ^^THIS!! So much THIS!!^^
  • RedJaron
    The Radeon 7000 series has been showing its age for a while now. This really cements it for me. I'm still getting decent performance out of my 280, but an upgrade is quickly becoming in order. AMD really needs to start funneling the Hawai'i and Fury improvements down into the mid-range cards.
  • Onus
    I'd like to see R7 370- or GTX950- level performance without a PCIe power connection.
  • americanbrian
    1943658 said:
    414569 said:
    This review is off .... The 380 performs slower than a 960 in the majority of the tests, which is strange, since the 380 is the faster card. Then .. all AMD cards have very low and consistently low minimum framerates, which again makes no sense. The 750 Ti even is a fast or faster in some tests compared to a 370, which is insane. The 750 Ti could NEVER reach HD 7850/265 levels, yet here it reaches and outpaces the a 370, which is a 265 that has more efficient memory modules and maybe a slight overclock. Also, the fact that a 100+ MHz increase on the core and 150-200 MHz increase on the memory did nothing to performance also is very weird.
    I agree that this is an anomoly that would not be expected, but these are the numbers that were recorded from our test bench. Where there appeared to be discrepencies the tests were run multiple times.


    Did you check that the card was not throttling during testing? I had a XFX card that would throttle clocks even at vanilla stock. I know they supposedly bin high leakage chips to help OCing, so perhaps the power limit was being reached?

    In actual fact you can see that the torture test for the OC put in LOWER POWER CONSUMPTION than at stock? That is a big giveaway that something is very wrong.

    Would it be possible to log the core clock speed during a game test and show the result?
  • americanbrian
    Also where is the test setup specs? What PSU are you using, what CPU? Is the platform OCed? This review seems very slim compared to what I am used to seeing here.
  • turkey3_scratch
    I just don't understand why fan speeds are not states in these graphics card review articles. Fan speeds are a huge factor in cooling. If a fan is running at 80% compared to a fan running at 40%, that's a pretty big deal there. In the temperature readings, the fan curves should all be identical so the fans run at the exact same speed.

    Also, for the comparison charts, it seems a an ITX 380 was used, which probably had low stock clocks, and the Zotac 960 was used, which is one of the highest factory clocked 960s to my knowledge. Why?
  • Casecutter
    Quote:
    This review is off .... The 380 performs slower than a 960 in the majority of the tests, which is strange, since the 380 is the faster card. Then .. all AMD cards have very low and consistently low minimum framerates, which again makes no sense. The 750 Ti even is a fast or faster in some tests compared to a 370, which is insane. The 750 Ti could NEVER reach HD 7850/265 levels, yet here it reaches and outpaces the a 370, which is a 265 that has more efficient memory modules and maybe a slight overclock. Also, the fact that a 100+ MHz increase on the core and 150-200 MHz increase on the memory did nothing to performance also is very weird.


    I also thought the 380 was a little off the mark, but it’s a Sapphire ITX Compact so that's why. Plus with just 6 titles (3 Nvidia hold dib's on), though GTA-V isn't any big push as at 80-100 FpS it’s immaterial. I’d also point out that running this level of card on an i7 test bed skews the FpS especially low/high, so real world things tighten-up YMMV.

    While I’m not misguided to place a 370 as near as proficient as a 950 (approx. 12-15%); right today Newegg’s price on this XFX BLACK Edition 370 is $135 -AR$15 w/FS; while today the best for any middling 950 is $150 -AR$15... And this XFX is one of the highest priced 370 on Newegg. You can get a ASUS STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING for $120 –AR$15 w/FS, and that’s not even the lowest priced 370!

    Anyone that's comparing a 370 and 950 and believe AMD is still at their release MSRP is deluded. More often there's $40-50 (approx. 20%) between them. I think this is more a hoodwinked to paint 950 as being something before the 370X comes and slaps-down both the 950 & 960.
  • cub_fanatic
    Quote:
    It would be nice if this article had proper links for reviews of the GTX950 that was being compared. I follow Tom's pretty closely, but I don't remember seeing the review and it isn't currently listed in the best-of-the-month column. It also would've been nice, for the sake of comparison, if the article mentioned the price delta between the card in question and the board that tested highest - in this case, it would've been nice to explain that the gtx960 is about $50 more than the r7 370 instead of merely referring to it as "the pricey 960."

    Lol, it is still not fixed. That link to the review of the Asus 950 Strix (the top of pg. 2 under "Comparison Graphics Cards") links to a review about a Sapphire R9 Fury Tri-X. Just a slightly different card /s.
  • chalabam
    What cards are those?



    Are they related to this article, or just mysterious ads for nameless cards?