How We Test
Test System Components
All of the tests run on this card were performed using our reference system. Each reviewer for Tom’s Hardware has the same setup, which consists of an Intel Core i7-5830K running at 4.2GHz, paired with 16GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 and a pair of 500GB MX200 SSDs. The board we use is an MSI X99S Xpower AC, and the system is powered by a Platinum-rated 850W power supply from be quiet!. All of the components are installed into a Lian-Li PC-T80 test bench.
Software & Drivers
By the time you read this, Windows 10 and AMD’s Catalyst 15.7.1 driver will have been out for a little while. But at the time of testing, neither was available. All of the tests on Sapphire’s R9 380 ITX were performed running Windows 8.1 with Catalyst 15.7.
The closest comparison with AMD’s R9 380 GPU is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960. Our Zotac GeForce GTX 960 AMP! served as our example, and we used the GeForce 353.30 WHQL driver with it.
|Graphics Driver||Sapphire Radeon R9 390: AMD Catalyst 15.7Sapphire ITX Compact R9 380: AMD Catalyst 15.7Zotac GeForce GTX 960 AMP!: Nvidia 353.30 WHQL driverEVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC: Nvidia 353.30 WHQL driver|
To compare this card to the next price tier, an EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SC and Sapphire R9 390 Nitro were used. Each card leveraged the same drivers our subject and its principal competition.
Sapphire's ITX Compact R9 380 was run through the same suite of benchmarks as the Fury Tri-X and R9 390 Nitro reviews. Tests were run in Battlefield 4, Far Cry 4, Tomb Raider, Metro: Last Light, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Grand Theft Auto V at FHD and QHD resolutions.
|Battlefield 4||Custom THG Benchmark, 100-sec Fraps, Ultra preset|
|Far Cry 4||Version 1.9.0, Custom THG benchmark, 60-sec Fraps, Ultra preset|
|Grand Theft Auto V||Build 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|
|Metro Last Light||Built-in benchmark, 145-sec Fraps, Very High preset, 16x AF, Normal motion blur|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||Built-in benchmark, 40-sec Fraps, Ultra preset|
|Tomb Raider||Version 1.01.748.0, Custom THG Benchmark, 40-sec Fraps, Ultimate preset|
My sound measurements were taken in the same manner as the GeForce GTX 960 reviews that I’ve written this year, along with the recent R9 390 Nitro review. The test isn’t as detailed or accurate as Igor's, but I also don't have the same kind of equipment. Instead, I use a hand-held dB meter. It's only capable of detecting sound as quiet as 35 dB. Anything lower than that and the meter reads 0 dB. In the graphs, if there is audible noise that is not registered, the graph will show 34 dB to represent that there is some sound, but an unknown level. Seeing 0 dB on the graph means the card made no discernible sound.
To test power consumption using our reference platform, a bit of creative math is needed. Since Haswell-E processors don’t have integrated GPU cores, we can’t boot the system without a discrete board installed to get a baseline. We are able to estimate consumption based on the approximate power draw of the test bench, though. In our observations, we’ve found that the approximate power draw from everything other than the GPU is 120W. By deducting that from the recorded wattage reported on our in-line power meter, we can calculate the approximate draw of the GPU.