Do AMD Drivers Really Deserve Such a Hostile Reception?

Introduction


AMD has a serious image problem with their drivers which stems from buggy, unrefined updates, and a slow release schedule. Even though this perception began many years ago, it’s still impacting on the company’s sales and explains why their market share is so small. The Q4 2015 results from Jon Peddie Research suggests AMD reached a market share of 21.1% while NVIDIA reigned supreme with 78.8%. Although, the Q4 data is more promising because AMD accounted for a mere 18.8% during the last quarter. On the other hand, respected industry journal DigiTimes reports that AMD is likely to reach its lowest ever market position for Q1 2016. Thankfully, the financial results will emerge on April 21st so we should know the full picture relatively soon. Of course, the situation should improve once Polaris and Zen reach retail channels. Most importantly, AMD’s share price has declined by more than 67% in five years from $9 to under $3 as of March 28, 2016. The question is why?

Is the Hardware Competitive?


The current situation is rather baffling considering AMD’s extremely competitive product line-up in the graphics segment. For example, the R9 390 is a superb alternative to NVIDIA’s GTX 970 and features 8GB VRAM which provides extra headroom when using virtual reality equipment. The company’s strategy appears to revolves around minor differences in performance between the R9 390 and 390X. This also applied to the R9 290 and 290X due to both products utilizing the Hawaii core. NVIDIA employs a similar tactic with the GTX 970 and GTX 980 but there’s a marked price increase compared to their rivals.

NVIDIA’s ability to cater towards the lower tier demographic has been quite poor because competing GPUs including the 7850 and R9 380X provided a much better price to performance ratio. Not only that, NVIDIA’s decision to deploy ridiculously low video memory amounts on cards like the GTX 960 has the potential to cause headaches in the future. It’s important to remember that the GTX 960 can be acquired with either 2GB or 4GB of video memory. Honestly, they should have simplified the process and produced the higher memory model in a similar fashion to the R9 380X. Once again, AMD continues to offer a very generous amount of VRAM across various product tiers.

Part of the problem revolves around AMD’s sluggish release cycle and reliance on the Graphics Core Next (GCN) 1.1 architecture. This was first introduced way back in 2013 with the Radeon HD 7790. Despite its age, AMD deployed the GCN 1.1 architecture on their revised 390 series and didn’t do themselves any favours when denying accusations about the new line-up being a basic re-branding exercise. Of course, this proved to be the case and some users managed to flash their 290/290X to a 390/390X with a BIOS update. There’s nothing inherently wrong with product rebrands if they can remain competitive in the current market. It’s not exclusive to AMD, and NVIDIA have used similar business strategies on numerous occasions. However, I feel it’s up to AMD to push graphics technology forward and encourage their nearest rival to launch more powerful options.

Another criticism regarding AMD hardware which seems to plague everything they release is the perception that every GPU runs extremely hot. You only have to look on certain websites, social media and various forums to see this is the main source of people’s frustration. Some individuals are even known to produce images showing AMD graphics cards setting ablaze. So is there any truth to these suggestions? Unfortunately, the answer is yes and a pertinent example comes from the R9 290 range. The 290/290X reference models utilized one of the most inefficient cooler designs I’ve ever seen and struggled to keep the GPU core running below 95C under load.

Unbelievably, the core was designed to run at these high thermals and AMD created a more progressive RPM curve to reduce noise. As a result, the GPU could take 10-15 minutes to reach idle temperature levels. The Hawaii temperatures really impacted on the company’s reputation and forged a viewpoint among consumers which I highly doubt will ever disappear. It’s a shame because the upcoming Polaris architecture built on the 14nm FinFET process should exhibit significant efficiency gains and end the concept of high thermals on AMD products. There’s also the idea that AMD GPUs have a noticeably higher TDP than their NVIDIA counterparts. For instance, the R9 390 has a TDP of 275 watts while the GTX 970 only consumes 145 watts. On the other hand, the Fury X utilizes 250 watts compared to the GTX 980Ti’s rating of 275 watts.

Eventually, AMD released a brand new range of graphics cards utilizing the first iteration of high bandwidth memory. Prior to its release, expectations were high and many people expected the Fury X to dethrone NVIDIA’s flagship graphics card. Unfortunately, this didn’t come to fruition and the Fury X fell behind in various benchmarks, although it fared better at high resolutions. The GPU also encountered supply problems and emitted a large whine from the pump on early samples. Asetek even threatened to sue Cooler Master who created the AIO design which could force all Fury X products to be removed from sale.

The rankings alter rather dramatically when the DirectX 12 render is used which suggests AMD products have a clear advantage. Asynchronous Compute is the hot topic right now which in theory allows for greater GPU utilization in supported games. Ashes of the Singularity has implemented this for some time and makes for some very interesting findings. Currently, we’re working on a performance analysis for the game, but I can reveal that there is a huge boost for AMD cards when moving from DirectX11 to DirectX12. Furthermore, there are reports indicating that Pascal might not be able to use asynchronous shaders which makes Polaris and Fiji products more appealing.

Do AMD GPUs Lack Essential Hardware Features?


When selecting graphics hardware, it’s not always about pure performance and some consumers take into account exclusive technologies including TressFX hair before purchasing. At this time, AMD incorporates with their latest products LiquidVR, FreeSync, Vulkan support, HD3D, Frame rate target control, TrueAudio, Virtual Super resolution and more! This is a great selection of hardware features to create a thoroughly enjoyable user-experience. NVIDIA adopts a more secretive attitude towards their own creations and often uses proprietary solutions. The Maxwell architecture has support for Voxel Global Illumination, (VGXI), Multi Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA), Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR), VR Direct and G-Sync. There’s a huge debate about the benefits of G-Sync compared to FreeSync especially when you take into account the pricing difference when opting for a new monitor. Overall, I’d argue that the NVIDIA package is better but there’s nothing really lacking from AMD in this department.

Have The Drivers Improved?


Historically, AMD drivers haven’t been anywhere close to NVIDIA in terms of stability and providing a pleasant user-interface. Back in the old days, AMD or even ATI if we’re going way back, had the potential to cause system lock-ups, software errors and more. A few years ago, I had the misfortune of updating a 7850 to the latest driver and after rebooting, the system’s boot order was corrupt. To be fair, this could be coincidental and have nothing to do with that particular update. On another note, the 290 series was plagued with hardware bugs causing black screens and blue screens of death whilst watching flash videos. To resolve this, you had to disable hardware acceleration and hope that the issues subsided.

The Catalyst Control Center always felt a bit primitive for my tastes although it did implement some neat features such as graphics card overclocking. While it’s easy enough to download a third-party program like MSI Afterburner, some users might prefer to install fewer programs and use the official driver instead.

Not so long ago, AMD appeared to have stalled in releasing drivers for the latest games to properly optimize graphics hardware. On the 9th December 2014, AMD unveiled the Catalyst 14.12 Omega WHQL driver and made it ready for download. In a move which still astounds me, the company decided not to release another WHQL driver for 6 months! Granted, they were working on a huge driver redesign and still produced the odd Beta update. I honestly believe this was very damaging and prevented high-end users from considering the 295×2 or a Crossfire configuration. It’s so important to have a consistent, solid software framework behind the hardware to allow for constant improvements. This is especially the case when using multiple cards which require profiles to achieve proficient GPU scaling.

Crimson’s release was a major turning point for AMD due to the modernized interface and enhanced stability. According to AMD, the software package involves 25 percent more manual test cases and 100 percent more automated test cases compared to AMD Catalyst Omega. Also, the most requested bugs were resolved and they’re using community feedback to quickly apply new fixes. The company hired a dedicated team to reproduce errors which is the first step to providing a more stable experience. Crimson apparently loads ten times faster than its predecessor and includes a new game manager to optimize settings to suit your hardware. It’s possible to set custom resolutions including the refresh rate, which is handy when overclocking your monitor. The clean uninstall utility proactively works to remove any remaining elements of a previous installation such as registry entries, audio files and much more. Honestly, this is such a revolutionary move forward and AMD deserves credit for tackling their weakest elements head on. If you’d like to learn more about Crimson’s functionality, please visit this page.

However, it’s far from perfect and some users initially experienced worse performance with this update. Of course, there’s going to be teething problems whenever a new release occurs but it’s essential for AMD to do everything they can to forge a new reputation about their drivers. Some of you might remember, the furore surrounding the Crimson fan bug which limited the GPU’s fans to 20 percent. Some users even reported that this caused their GPU to overheat and fail. Thankfully, AMD released a fix for this issue but it shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. Once again, it’s hurting their reputation and ability to move on from old preconceptions.

Is GeForce Experience Significantly Better?


In recent times, NVIDIA drivers have been the source of some negative publicity. More specifically, users were advised to ignore the 364.47 WHQL driver and instructed to download the 364.51 beta instead. One user said:

“Driver crashed my windows and going into safe mode I was not able to uninstall and rolling back windows would not work either. I ended up wiping my system to a fresh install of windows. Not very happy here.”

NVIDIA’s Sean Pelletier released a statement at the time which reads:

“An installation issue was found within the 364.47 WHQL driver we posted Monday. That issue was resolved with a new driver (364.51) launched Tuesday. Since we were not able to get WHQL-certification right away, we posted the driver as a Beta.

GeForce Experience has an option to either show WHQL-only drivers or to show all drivers (including Beta). Since 364.51 is currently a Beta, gamers who have GeForce Experience configured to only show WHQL Game Ready drivers will not currently see 364.51

We are expecting the WHQL-certified package for the 364.51 Game Ready driver within the next 24hrs and will replace the Beta version with the WHQL version accordingly. As expected, the WHQL-certified version of 364.51 will show up for all gamers with GeForce Experience.”

As you can see, NVIDIA isn’t immune to driver delivery issues and this was a fairly embarrassing situation. Despite this, it didn’t appear to have a serious effect on people’s confidence in the company or make them re-consider their views of AMD. While there are some disgruntled NVIDIA customers, they’re fairly loyal and distrustful of AMD’s ability to offer better drivers. The GeForce Experience software contains a wide range of fantastic inclusions such as ShadowPlay, GameStream, Game Optimization and more. After a driver update, the software can feel a bit unresponsive and takes some time to close. Furthermore, some people dislike the notion of GameReady drivers being locked in the GeForce Experience Software.  If a report from PC World is correct, consumers might have to supply an e-mail address just to update their drivers through the application.

Before coming to a conclusion, I want to reiterate that my allegiances don’t lie with either company and the intention was to create a balanced viewpoint. I believe AMD’s previous failures are impacting on the company’s current product range and it’s extremely difficult to shift people’s perceptions about the company’s drivers. While Crimson is much better than CCC, it’s been the main cause of a horrendous fan bug resulting in a PR disaster for AMD.

On balance, it’s clear AMD’s decision to separate the Radeon group and CPU line was the right thing to do. Also, with Polaris around the corner and more games utilizing DirectX 12, AMD could improve their market share by an exponential amount. Although, from my experience, many users are prepared to deal with slightly worse performance just to invest in an NVIDIA product. Therefore, AMD has to encourage long-term NVIDIA fans to switch with reliable driver updates on a consistent basis. AMD products are not lacking in features or power, it’s all about drivers! NVIDIA will always counteract AMD releases with products exhibiting similar performance numbers. In my personal opinion, AMD drivers are now on par with NVIDIA and it’s a shame that they appear to be receiving unwarranted criticism. Don’t get me wrong, the fan bug is simply inexcusable and going to haunt AMD for some time. I predict that despite the company’s best efforts, the stereotypical view of AMD drivers will not subside. This is a crying shame because they are trying to improve things and release updates on a significantly lower budget than their rivals.

AMD Radeon Pro Duo Dual Fiji GPU Unboxed and Pictured

With just under 2 weeks to go, pictures for AMD’s Radeon Pro Duo have started popping up. Dubbed the fastest graphics card ever, the Pro Duo is reportedly launching on April 26th later this month. While AMD did show the card off at their Capsaicin event last month,  we never really got a glimpse of the card, only renders. With pictures out, we can see the card in its true glory and the nice souvenir AMD bundled in.First, the design as expected follows the Fury X design paradigm. The card looks really nice and has the thick Cooler Master radiator we’ve come to expect. The tubing is also nicely braided. The water blocks underneath  have been redesigned, likely to get around the Asetek’s patents. The box takes on the new AMD branding for their graphics divisions, Radeon Technologies Group as well. Finally, we see the Fiji die that has been bundled along as a souvenir. This is a nice way for AMD to add value through a chip that likely failed to pass certification. It would make a very nice keychain or paperweight. With cards already shipped out, it looks like AMD will meet their April 26th deadline. Even then, the card is awfully close to the Pascal and Polaris launches just a month after that. It will be interesting to see how many users end up picking up a card. The Radeon Pro Duo will likely remain the fastest single card solution till Vega or GP100 launch in 2017.

AMD Greenland/Vega may be Fiji Replacement at 4096 GCN Shaders

This year, both AMD and Nvidia will be launching their new Polaris and Pascal based GPUs. Unfortunately, it looks like the flagship chips won’t be arriving till next year. Set to arrive in early 2017, Vega, also known as Greenland, is to be the flagship replacement for Fiji. According to information 3DCenter dug up, Vega will feature 4096 GCN shaders, the same amount as Fiji currently has.

With Polaris and Vega, there are suggestions that AMD has managed to improve GCN 4.0’s performance by 30% compared to current GCN offerings. This alone should allow a significant performance increase over the Fury X. Fiji was also limited due to the design of GCN being unoptimized for massive chips with too many shaders and if AMD has managed to fix this, Vega will perform better than expected.

Furthermore, Vega will utilize HBM2 which will finally remove the 4GB cap faced by HBM GPUs as well as reduce latency. The use of 14nm as well and other Polaris improvements will also allow for a cooler and less power hungry die. We can also expect Vega to come in at a die size similar to Hawaii rather than Fiji, with a true Fiji size successor to come later on in the process cycle.

AMD Unveils Radeon Pro Duo 3DMark Performance – Capsaicin

Being the fastest single-card graphics card to date, we all know that AMD’s new Radeon Pro Duo is fast. Just how fast though is the dual-Fiji giant we don’t yet know though the 16TFOPs number and similar performance to 2 FuryX’s do give a rough estimate. To shed some light on the card, we do have some internal benchmarks of 3DMark AMD has run with their latest and great graphics card.

Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of March 7, 2016 on the AMD Radeon Pro Duo, AMD Radeon R9 295X2 and Nvidia’s Titan Z, all dual GPU cards, on a test system comprising Intel i7 5960X CPU, 16GB memory, Nvidia driver 361.91, AMD driver 15.301 and Windows 10 using 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark test to simulate GPU performance. PC Manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. At 1080p, 1440p, and 2160P, AMD Radeon R9 295X2 scored 16717, 9250, and 5121, respectively; Titan Z scored 14945, 7740, and 4099, respectively; and AMD Radeon Pro Duo scored 20150, 11466, and 6211, respectively, outperforming both AMD Radeon R9 295X2 and Titan Z.

According to AMD, the Radeon Pro Duo is undoubtedly the fastest card, at least according to 3dMark Firestrike. At Standard (1080p), the Pro Duo manages to have 134% of the Titan Z’s performance, a card that Nvidia priced at $2999 at launch. The lead only grows at Extreme and Ultra with 148% and 152% respectively.

Against the R9 295X2, the Pro Duo still manages a decent lead, with about a decent 120% lead across all settings. While lower than the 140% you might expect from a pure hardware standpoint, the 4GB of HBM1 and the limits of GCN do play a role. It does mean there won’t be any surprises fo users running 2 Fury or FuryX’s in CFX as they won’t have anything to worry about. The biggest question is if the card is worth the premium over running your own CFX solution, a question many dual-GPUs cards have faced.

 

AMD Rumored to Lower R9 Fury Pricing

When AMD launched their Fiji based lineup last year, many were pleased with the performance. The use of HBM helped the Fiji cards helped them achieve better power efficiency while still maintaining the advantages of GCN. The biggest concern at the time was that Nvidia had just cut prices on their GTX 980 and 980Ti, making the Fury and Fury X somewhat disadvantaged. With the launch and holiday season behind us, it looks like AMD is finally deciding to cut prices on the vanilla Fury.

According to the rumours, this price drop is set to happen imminently and meant to better position the Fury against the GTX 980. That card currently retails about 10-20% cheaper than the Fury though the Fury does manage about 10-15% better performance overall. If the price drop comes, the Fury may offer more value relative to the GTX980.

A price drop now does make sense as Polaris is going to arrive in a few months. Cutting the prices to get rid of some inventory will help AMD and their partners be better prepared once Polaris arrives. AMD also recently cut prices on the R9 Nano as well so a cut for the Fury isn’t out of the question. Who knows, maybe the Fury X may its prices slashed as well.

AMD Radeon R9 Fury X2 Could Launch Next Month!

It looks like AMD are cooking up a big product launch for December, one that could knock Nvidia into the stone age! The as yet un-named graphics card from the red team is currently not officially named, but let’s call this powerhouse the Fury X2 for conversations sake. We’ve already known about this card for a little while now, as Lisa Su was keen to show off a PCB that had not one, but two Fiji GPUs on board. The only problem is when, where and how much it will be, are still unknown.

AMD are to hold a special event in December, where it is believed the Fury X2 will be released. With no rumours pointing to a similar dual-GPU monster from the Nvidia camp, a dual Fiji and HBM equipped card could quickly put AMD back at the top of the GPU power food chain.

The first new teaser comes courtesy of Johan Andersson of DICE, always a reliable source for leaks as he previously teased the 295X2 and the R9 290X. Unfortunately for Johan and no doubt AMD, it seems his “pre-release GPU” had some leaks of its own.

Expect more information to follow quite quickly, as is often the case with leaks, there’s always more than one.

AMD Cutting Graphics Card Prices – Including Fury X, Fury and Nano!

AMD are in a really strong position right now, with a new series of graphics cards that may not have toppled all of the Nvidia flagships, at least not in every test, but it’s certainly put them back on the map in terms of high-end gaming. Their 3xx series of cards are knocking Nvidia down the charts, with better performance and lower prices than their competitor across a wide range of performance brackets, the new Crimson drivers and now it seems the battle is about to heat up even more, as AMD cards are seeing a range of price cuts.

Everything from the 300 series of cards, as well as the new Fury series which feature HBM memory are currently sporting some exciting deals at major retailers. Of course, it won’t be long before Nvidia play a similar price-cut game, but for now, AMD are tempting peoples wallets a little more.

R9 Fury X was originally $649, but that’s down to $589 and even down to $569 after a rebate! The R9 Nano, dropping from $649, down to $569, $549 after rebate. The R9 Fury, $549 down to a very tasty $499.

What about the 300 series? The R9 390X and 390 are down from $429 and $329 to $359 and $259 after a rebate. That’s exceptional value for money giving the performance of these cards! The R9 380 2GB and the 4GB model are down to a wallet friendly $169 and $179, or even lower with rebate at $139 and $159.

Most major retailers are already honouring these new prices, although Newegg and Amazon are currently the best deals I’ve seen, but it’s certainly worth shopping around and who knows, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, maybe we’ll see even lower prices.

Star Wars Battlefront Bundles with R9 Fury

Prepare your wallets, the Force is coming! If you haven’t already heard, Winter 2015 is probably going to be re-branded as Star Wars Season. Not only are we getting Star Wars Episode VII (no more Jar Jar Binks), we are eagerly anticipating Star Wars Battlefront. If you don’t know what Battlefront is, just imagine all of the best Star Wars battles rolled into one game in a huge 40 player laser gun fight and the original score as your motivational music.

The beta was a huge success with hundreds of thousands of players getting in on the action. AMD wants a piece of that and has announced the brand new bundle of Battlefront with every purchase of an R9 Fury graphics cards.

The offer is available From November 17th 2015 to January 31st 2016 and the code can be redeemed up until February 29th 2016, yes I had to double-check that next year was in fact a leap year too.

If you’re not quite sure on an upgrade, why not check out our review of the Sapphire Tri-x R9 Fury, which can be purchased for £429.95 from OcUK or $499.99 from Newegg US. Those of you who have recently purchased an R9 Fury with this code can redeem it here!

Have you already tried Battlefront or own an R9 Fury graphics card? Why not tell us about your experiences down in the comments.

Latest Sapphire TriXX Unlocks AMD Fury Voltage Control!

The AMD Fury cards have certainly been an interesting chapter for AMD this year, offering some unique innovations that are certain to change the future of the graphics cards market. What’s been holding these cards back, however, is their overclocking potential and slowly but surely, that trend is changing.

The latest release of Sapphire Trixx (v5.2.1.) has just been released, and that’s great news for Fury owners, as it unlocked the AMD Fury Voltage Control. This is a vital component in fine tuning overclocks and as reddit user Buildzoid says, these cards should be able to handle a bit of punishment. Of course, as with any overclocking and voltage tweaking, proceed with caution, especially on hardware so new and relatively untested in terms of overclocking.

“Ok here’s some basic data so you don’t blow up your cards. Max out the power slider. Even if the VRM for Vcore hits 125C you can shove 500W through it. Also it will throttle the card if it gets too hot. The IR 3567B running the default BIOS won’t let you blow the VRM. +100mV is safe across the board. +200mv is safe if you keep the core bellow 60C I would not expect clock scaling going past 150/175mV depending on you card. Yeah that’s basically the least “safe” looking overclocking advice you will ever read however the fact is that the Fury/Fury X PCBs are ridiculously over built.” – Buildzoid

 

Here’s what Sapphire had to say about the new software, which doesn’t only bring the voltage feature, but also some other cool features for a wide range of AMD cards.

SAPPHIRE TriXX Utility
Rev up the performance of your AMD Radeon or FURY based graphics card with the latest new-look version of SAPPHIRE TriXX. Change settings for the best performance of any compatible graphics card in different applications or games and save up to four sets and easily switch between them.

Enthusiasts can adjust fan speeds, core voltages and clock speeds to tune up performance to the max in your favourite games by overclocking, and save those settings for the next time you play the game. Safe recovery means you will never get stuck in settings you can’t change!

Not gaming today? Then save another set of changes with low fan speeds to run super quiet while you are watching a video – or revert to default settings for general purpose computing. Whatever you want to do – TriXX makes it easy.

TriXX not only monitors basic parameters such as fan speed and GPU temperature but also GPU load, voltages and memory performance. TriXX can also create a log file for future analysis, and you can save the current VGA BIOS.

Check back for updates – TriXX is regularly updated to provide support for new releases of graphics cards and GPU families as well as enhancements to the tool.

New features

New look and interface
Now supports over-volting on Radeon R300 series
Now supports HBM memory overclock on FURY cards
Now supports over-volt on FURY cards
Minimise TriXX to task bar

Main Features

Overclock your AMD RADEON or FURY based graphics card
GPU Core Clock
GPU Voltage
Video Card Memory Clock
Save your Favourite Settings with up to 4 Profiles.
Adjust your Graphic Card’s Fan Settings with Automatic, Fixed or Custom Fan Speeds
Information Tab with all you need to know about your Graphic Card including GPU, Interface, Memory, Driver Version, BIOS Version, Clocks, Shaders and more…
Multi-GPU support (CrossFireX)
Windows Sidebar Gadget option

If you’re ready to rock and get the most out of your AMD hardware, head on over to the official Sapphire site to download Trixx.

Gigabyte Unveils WindForce 3X Radeon R9 Fury

AMD’s R9 Fury graphics card utilizes 3,584 shaders, 224 textures units and 4GB of high-bandwidth memory. Compared to the Fury Nano and Fury X, the Fury is the cheapest in the Fiji line-up and adopts a more traditional design philosophy. The Windforce X3 edition opts for a 3 fan design and core clock reaching 1010MHz. This is a fairly small boost from the reference figure of 1000MHz. Although, the advanced cooling solution could allow for some overclocking headroom.

In terms of power requirements, the graphics card contains two PCI-E 8 pin connectors. Apart from that, the power delivery and other aspects of the PCB are still unknown. However, the OC edition could result in chip binning to find the most overclockable units available.

The rear I/O features a single HDMI port, three DisplayPorts and a Dual-Link DVI-I connector. There is also a hefty backplate which adds a premium feel and reduces GPU droop. As with any Gigabyte graphics card, the Fury WindForce X3 OC includes  3-year warranty period. I’m fascinated to see what kind of overclocking potential there is given the limited boosts so far on the Fiji architecture.

Despite this, it’s great to see more HBM-based graphics cards becoming commonplace as supply issues are reduced.

PowerColor and XFX Prep AMD R9 Fury GPUs

Over the next few weeks, both PowerColor and XFX are expected to launch their own R9 Fury GPUs. Based off AMD’s cutdown Fiji die, the Fury initially only launched with cards from ASUS and Sapphire. With AIB partners joining in, it looks like the supply issues behind the Fury may finally have been resolved.

First off, we have PowerColor’s card which has been revealed on their website. At 3584 shaders, 224 TMUs and 64 ROPs, the cut-down Fiji will be clocked at 1000Mhz with the 4GB of HBM untouched. Connectivity features 3 DisplayPort and 1 HDMI output. The card measures 320mm x 125mm x 45mm which is a tad larger than the Sapphire Fury Tri-X overall while only a bit longer than the ASUS Fury Strix. Like the aforementioned cards, the PowerColor features 3 fans which speaks to the level of cooling required for Fury.

Moving on, we have XFX’s implementation which is also based off 3 fans. Interestingly, it looks like the XFX model is essentially the same as the PowerColor one, at least judging from the heatsink and shroud. It may be that the two firms are using the same cooling solution from an OEM. Like the PowerColor, it looks to have 3 DP and 1 HDMI as well.

Rounding off the major partners, we still have no word yet from MSI nor Gigabyte about when their cards might arrive. Given that Sapphire and PowerColor are AMD exclusive partners, it’s not surprising that they are moving in ahead of the last two.

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information

Why You Won’t Be Seeing Many Reviews of the AMD R9 Nano!

It’s that time of the year again folks, AMD is releasing another top end graphics card that is in seriously short supply and we at eTeknix won’t be getting hold of one, at least not from AMD.

We have previously posted articles that shone a bad light on AMD, this was primarily revolving around the performance figures of the R9 Fury X graphics card. This was down to AMD figures being extremely positive, while leaked benchmarks were painting a different picture. We posted what we saw, but kept an open mind ready for our sample to make the final decision, as we would and often do with many products. In fact, you can read our reviews of the new AMD R9 Fury X, R9 Fury X Crossfire and R9 Fury here. We loved the cards, the architecture, and the new HBM which has so much potential, showing very little memory impact at 4K compared to traditional GDDR5.

The official word from AMD is that the Fiji and HBM are in short supply and every effort is being taken to land the product in the hands of the people who want it, i.e. the consumers. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all well and good, cards need to get to consumers. However, media samples are an important factor for consumers too. Most consumers looking to spend £500+ on an extremely niche graphics card will look for reviews first, find out how it compares and without a good range of reviews from multiple sites, it’s hard for a lot of consumers and our readers to build their trust in a product; it’s not like you can take one for a test drive as you would a car.

We are doing everything in our power to source a sample, but sadly we are extremely unlikely to have an article up for launch, as most tech review sites at this time. However, we’ll update you as soon as the Nano lands in our office ready for an independent review.

AMD Releases R9 Nano Graphics Card

It has been rumoured, leaked, and talked about for a while now, the AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card, and all those rumours were correct. AMD has just released the Radeon R9 Nano graphics card and it is a beaut.

I could talk a lot about this card right from the start, but let us start with the specifications instead. I’m sure it is those that interest most folks around here, reading this right now. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano comes with a fully configured Fiji GPU based on the 28nm process, with 4096 stream processors, 64 ROPs, 256 Texture Units, and 64 compute units for a compute performance of 8.19TFLOPs. That is also the same chip configuration as the water-cooled Radeon R9 Fury X uses, but I’ll get more into that later. Being a Fiji GPU, it comes with 4GB HBM memory directly on the GPU. The GPU clock can go up to 1000 MHz and the memory is locked at 500MHz/1.0 Gbps on the 4096-bit memory bus for up to 512GB/s bandwidth.

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano isn’t just a very small card, measuring just about 6-inches in length, it’s also very power efficient and that is its key point. As a comparison, a mITX motherboard is 6.7-inch by 6.7-inch and that is already very small. The Nano is even shorter. It only needs a single 8-pin power connector for its typical board power of 175W. With what we know now, it’s easy to say that this is the most powerful mITX card ever created. One of the reasons the card uses so much less power than the R9 290x for example, besides the optimization for performance per watt, is the lower power consumption of the HBM memory. A 4GB GDDR5 equipped card would consume about 50W where the Nano only requires 8w.

The R9 Nano isn’t targeted as a new solo flagship and not intended to perform as good as the Fury X either, as it is. The performance will be around that of the air-cooled R9 Fury, but smaller and more efficient as well as with a lot of headroom for aftermarket cooling solutions. Both the memory and the GPU have been set to the absolute sweet spot where you get maximum performance per watt, and that is this cards strength. While you can overclock the card and get roughly 15% more performance, it will come at a power increase of about 50%. If you want it, you can do it. But whether it’s worth it, is another question.

I’ve previously mentioned that the GPU clock goes up to 1000MHz, but you won’t get that far up under typical situations. It will more likely be around 850-900MHz, again to get the best performance per watt. This can be overwritten in the CCC and set manually, so nothing to worry about if you want to run it to the max.

With such a small card and powerful card, there is worry about the cooling. Both the efficiency, thermal throttling, and noise generation. The GPU is allowed all the way up to 85 degrees before any thermal throttling is happening, and it is designed to run no hotter than 75 degrees in normal setups.

In the first instance, the R9 nano will be released as a reference design only, but it will be opened up to AIB partners later on, allowing them to create their own cooling solutions for the card. Speaking of upgrading it, you can also upgrade the shroud with a custom one like on the Fury X, but it won’t be as easy. AMD promised to release the 3D print files, allowing people to create their own shrouds. But it needs to accommodate for the fan that is mounted on it and isn’t just a square plate like it was on the Fury X.

The Nano comes without any DVI connectors and again, for now it’s reference design only. But this will also be opened up to card partners later on, where a few surely will choose to include the legacy connection. For now you get three DisplayPort connectors and one HDMI. The HDMI port isn’t a 2.0, but you can get that type of connection through a DisplayPort adapter if needed.

Being a mITX design, the AMD R9 Nano is intended to be used mainly in compact and portable gaming rigs, but that doesn’t prevent you from using them in any larger one. The card also features bridgeless CrossfireX support with up to four cards. That ability could create some truly sick mods with all new possibilities in custom case placements.

The three photos below illustrate the cooling solution that is used and that is probably one of the things that many previous AMD customers might be worried about. The Radeon 290x reference card wasn’t exactly what you would call silent.

The first part we see is the dedicated VRM direct touch heat sink, something that probably hasn’t been seen on this type of cards before. A stable and cool VRM goes a long way for a graphics card and having the extra heat sink will allow the fan to spin at a much lower speed.

The second part is the actual cooler that features a dual vapor chamber and heat-pipe thermal solution. This combination again allows the fan to spin at a slower speed as it’s required less. AMD put a lot of work into the cooler, and it shows. Effectively this allows the card to be 16dBA quieter than the R9 290X graphics card and comes in on a noise level of 42 dBA. That is the same noise level you’d find in a library.

The third part of the cooling solution is one that easily could be overlooked and it’s the direction of the fins. Most cards have them turned 90 degrees and that’s simply a bad choice. With this design, most of the hot air will be blown out the rear instead of up onto motherboard and CPU area that is located above the graphics card.

AMD also opted for a matte black PCB on this card next to the full metal shroud and brushed aluminium finish. It sure looks great. It wasn’t entirely sure at the press event what speed the fan will spin on, but it should go up to around 2700 RPM.

So to sum up: The AMD R9 Nano uses the same setup as the R9 Fury X, but it is tuned to a more optimal performance per watt and it’s targeted at compact and mobile gaming rigs. You can overclock it to gain more performance, but it will come at a significant extra power requirement. It is not meant to compete with the Fury X but offer a smaller and more efficient variant of the same. The performance, as it is, will be around that of the air-cooled R9 Fury.

What’s left to say, oh yea the pricing. The card won’t be cheap and it will cost about the same as the Fury X with a $649 USD MSRP. I also got a fun fact, the Amazing AMD micro system displayed at the same time as the Fury X was announced actually used two R9 Nano cards in a dual-board layout. So different PCB, but same GPU configuration.

Are you tempted to get one of the new AMD Radeon R9 Nano cards? I know I am, or perhaps two while I’m at it. Here is also a comparison on what is possible. These two systems have the same CPU, the same amount of memory, same graphics power, and same storage abilities. Which would you pick?

 

 

AMD R9 Nano Confirmed to Have Full 4096 Core Fiji at 1000mhz

With AMD virtually confirmed to launch their SFF R9 Nano tomorrow, we’re getting word that the Fiji GPU onboard won’t be cut down. Unlike the R9 Fury, the Nano will be like it’s older R9 Fury X sibling and feature the complete Fiji die. This means that the Nano will have the same 4096 shader cores, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs and 4GB HBM as the full fledged Fury X flagship. The Nano may also feature HDMI 2.0 which will allow 4K 60hz for TVs, something the Furys lacks and great for a card that is perfect for high-end HTPC gaming

What is even better news for SFF fans is that the Nano will feature a top speed of 1000Mhz on the core, giving it the potential to nearly match the Fury X. If the card manages to somehow not throttle (ie under water probably), the performance should be pretty much on par with the Fury X, in a much more compact form factor. The card also features the same display setup as it’s Fury siblings, all in a row which can allow for a single expansion card slot under a watercooling. Stock cooling probably is a combination vapor chamber and several heatpipes though we’ll know more once the card arrives.

The biggest question though is how the stock power limits, the 8pin connector, and the heat sink will impact the card. While the 8pin connector in tandem with the PCIe slot should allow plenty of power, the stock power limits may serve to limit the speeds you’ll get at full throttle. Another issue is whether or not the cooling system can keep up with a full Fiji, keeping in mind that AMD went with watercooling for the Fury X which also features full Fiji at similar speeds. Some sources are saying that at full load the card will usually throttle to about 800mhz with the peak speed only being seen in some lighter loads. Noise levels will also be interesting to see. AMD did run into some serious problems with the stock cooling for the R9 290X, leading to heavy throttling. Hopefully, the lesson has been learned.

With a full Fiji core, AMD can’t afford to sell the card too low but it also somehow has to fit in with the Fury siblings. Given that performance should hover around that of the Fury, AMD will have to price the card carefully to ensure that it does sell, but also preventing it from cannibalizing the rest of the lineup too much. With just a day to go, we hope to bring your more information as it arrives.

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information

ASUS Partners with SplitmediaLabs for Bundled XSplit Gamecaster v2

ASUS and SplitmedaLabs have announced a new partnership where they will be bundling the popular streaming software XSplit Gamecaster V2 along with most of their graphics cards. However, not all types of cards will get an equal amount of free time with the software that requires yearly subscriptions.

Pretty much anyone with a AMD Radeon R7, R9 or Fury based graphics card as well as GeForce GTX 600, 700, 900, and Titan series will get the basic 14-days trial with premium features while those with the best of the best cards get even more. After all, those are the likely ones to be streaming. If you got an NVIDIA GeForce 900 or Titan series, or an AMD based R9 or Fury series, then you can sign up for the full year of free premium features.

XSplit Gamecaster V2 is a live streaming and recording application created by SplitmediaLabs that also features a special ASUS GPU Tweak integration. It allows users that are running the ASUS GPU Tweak utility to be able to set custom profiles and view GPU statistics all from within the XSplit Gamecaster overlay. XSplit Gamecaster uses a discreet and unobtrusive in-game overlay, and allows users to add a webcam, activate a green screen transparency effect and share their broadcast to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all without leaving the game.

Both ASUS and SplitmediaLabs have their own dedicated mini-page for this, where you can read more on the terms or get started with your free XSplit Gamecaster V2 streaming.

AMD Gets Help With Fiji Supply Issues

Despite launching earlier this month, AMD has been suffering from low stocks of their new R9 Fury and Fury X GPUs. In many cases, the cards have sold out quickly, meaning many of those looking to go with the red team have been turned away. In an effort to get ahead of demand, it looks like AMD to turning to more sources to get Through Silicon Vias (TSV).

As we all know, AMD uses a silicon interposer to connect the HBM DRAM stack to the GPU die. In order to connect all three parts together, Through Silicon Vias are required, which is an extra step that is not normally required. While there was speculation that AMD was doing this either with Hynix or TSMC, the more likely solution, as we now know, is to get a third-party silicon fab to handle it, in this case, United Microelectronics Corporation. UMC is producing the silicon interposer that the HBM and GPU die are placed, and that is also going into volume production.

It seems that AMD was a bit premature in launching their Fiji lineup with the critical part still in limited production. With the silicon interposer now in full production, the bottleneck to Hynix or TSMC, helping improve the supply situation. Given that it will take some time for the completed dies to be shipped to AIBs and then sent to retailers, it still be may some time till the R9 Fury and Fury X are fully in stock. Hopefully, AMD’s upcoming R9 Fury Nano will arrive in a much better supply situation.

BitFenix Prodigy M Colour Series Micro-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


It’s been two years since I first reviewed the BitFenix Prodigy M, but today, I’ll be revisiting this now classic Prodigy chassis design to take a look at the latest Colour series from BitFenix. Colour choices are always a welcome addition to any range and from a consumer perspective, having more choice is no bad thing. Colour coordinating your build becomes a lot easier when you can pick something that suits your needs and preferences. Today I’ve got the Prodigy M Red, as well as a few other bonus goodies from BitFenix to help with the build, such as the BitFenix Fury PSU, a 120mm Spectra Pro red LED fan, a BitFenix Alchemy white LED strip, as well as a red side panel window.

Prodigy M Colours available

  • Midnight Black
  • Arctic White
  • Fire Red
  • Atomic Orange
  • Vivid Green
  • Cobalt Blue

As you can see, this is the original Prodigy shape and design, the only real difference is the colour, which is obviously red.

The SofTouch treated front panel and the handle/stands on the top and bottom blend nicely with the soft finish of the red paintwork.

The black trim fits rather well, especially since most gaming hardware is in red and black these days; this should be one of the more popular colour choices.

The back of the chassis is still finished in black, which suggests the core of the chassis is the same across the whole colour range, with just the exterior panels being swapped; makes sense really.

The top ventilation cover.

Behind which you’ll find the dual 120mm fan mounts.

The bottom of the chassis comes with a heat guard, although this can be removed if you wish to install fans in the base of the chassis.

If you don’t want extra fans here, you can opt for mounting hard drives directly to the base of the chassis.

AMD Confirms Launch Date for the Radeon R9 Nano

We had some pretty awesome reveals of the upcoming Fiji cards in the past. With Fury X and Fury already released, AMD is now focusing on the R9 Nano and their monstrous Dual Fiji card. However, CEO Lisa Su might have slipped in some more information about the R9 Nano at the company’s earnings call.

What we knew so far is that the R9 Nano is a small, 7.64-inch card, that will use High Bandwidth Memory directly on the Fiji chip. This gives AMD the ability to shrink the card to the dimensions listed. Also, the R9 Nano is said to have 4096 stream processors, a 4096-bit memory bus width and most importantly, it does not need a closed-loop liquid cooling solution like the Fury X. The exact specs are not yet confirmed, but we might have an actual release time-frame for the card.

Su apparently revealed that the R9 Nano will be released this August. This means that we are about a month away from seeing it on the market. Up until now, the R9 Nano was expected to be released this summer, but an exact date was not given. Now, since we have an actual release date, we might see AMD revealing the R9 Nano’s official full specifcations soon enough. Stay tuned!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Tom’s Hardware

PowerColor Unveils AMD Radeon R9 Fury

PowerColour is the latest board partner to announce a custom designed AMD Radeon R9 Fury which opts for a triple fan design, and reference PCB. The PowerColour variant contains a Core Speed of 1000MHz, Memory Speed of 500MHz (1.0 Gbps) and 4GB of High Bandwith Memory. In terms of connectivity, there are 3 DisplayPorts and 1 HDMI 1.4. Ideally, I would like to see support for Dual-Link DVI because many Korean import 2560×1440 monitors only use that interface. However, it looks like this isn’t a possibility on AMD’s Fury range.

The press release doesn’t divulge much information so it’s still unknown if the card has a backplate. I would presume so given the mammoth cooling solution which could be longer than Sapphire’s huge Tri-X GPU. From the pictures, you can see where the PCB ends, and how the cooling extends from the actual board. If the design can match PowerColour’s triple-slot 290x, then the Fury should remain extremely cool. One caveat is the complete lack of overclocking headroom of the Fury range. Hopefully voltage unlocks will remedy this but don’t expect huge performance gains from manual overclocking.

Overclockers UK have set a pre-order price of £439.99 which is £10 cheaper than Sapphire’s custom model. Additionally, the card should arrive on the 31st of July with most major retailers.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

12K (Triple 4K Monitor) Graphics Test Bench Upgrade Review

Introduction


1080p, 1440p, 1660p, 2160p; just a random bunch of numbers with a ‘p’ after them can mean nothing to some people; however, to gamers it means a whole world of display quality goodness. For the last few years, 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) monitors have been the normal standard for a ‘decent’ gaming setup and what most graphics cards are tested at. Then we started moving up to higher resolutions such as 2560 x 1440p and 2560 x 1600p.

For some, this wasn’t enough; despite the pixel densities growing larger, as humans we wanted even more pixels. This resorted to users buying multiple monitors and connecting them one next to another and activating AMD ‘EyeFinity’ or NVIDIA ‘Surround’ to have an almost 180° viewing range. Even though the latter part of the pixel count didn’t change, this meant that monitor set-ups were hitting 5760 pixels wide by using three 1920 x 1080p monitors.

Then we move onto today, 1080p and 1440p has been surpassed by what has now become the new ‘standard’ of gaming, 2160p, or 4K. At this resolution, even the most powerful of graphics cards can struggle to churn out the desired 60FPS which we have come to accept as the acceptable standard. So what about when you put three 4K monitors next to each other and ask for 11520 x 2160 of pixelated goodness (or 6480 x 3840 if you prefer your monitors in portrait mode.)

Before we go rushing into things, there are some issues regarding our particular test system. The provided AOC monitors (U2868PQU) has known issues with AMD graphics cards and 60Hz refresh rate. Symptoms can present themselves as minor screen flickering to a complete system freeze. This was made worse when trying to display at 11520 x 2160; however, after multiple tests, we found the issue was subdued by putting the monitors into Portrait mode. This isn’t the ideal gaming set-up, however, in the interest of bringing you the information; I endured the pain of a 2″ thick bezel between each monitor.

To get to the technical nitty gritty, a typical 4K monitor at 60Hz refresh rate can present 497 Million information pixels per second, so this set-up can present almost 1.5 Billion pixels per second; yes 1.5 BILLION. To put that into perspective, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a screen size of 1440 x 2560 and a refresh rate of 60Hz; that works out to a mere 221 Million pixels per second in comparison.

Nvidia AIB Partners Cut Price on GTX 980 and 980Ti

For those of you debating on whether or not to snag a card from the green team, now may be the time. Following the launch of AMD’s R9 Fury many of Nvidia’s AIB partners are cutting prices on their 980 and 980Ti cards. MSRP are dropping about $20 for both cards, with the 980 dropping from $499 USD to $479 while the 980Ti falls from $649 to $629. This time around, the price drop is silent, with no official announcement coming out from anyone.

While a price cut of $20 isn’t much, that’s another extra $20 that can be put to a larger SSD, better case, CPU or power supply. With this price cut, it looks like Nvidia and it’s AIB partners want to have their cards be more competitive. The R9 Fury currently has an MSRP of $550 and the R9 Fury X at $650. While the 980 won’t make too much difference, dropping the price of the 980Ti below the Fury X will make more of an impact.

These price drops will be sure to put more pressure on AMD. Nvidia appeared to have been planning these prices drops for a while already, waiting till AMD had launched their new lineup. It’s important to note that while the MSRP has dropped, not every card has dropped by that amount, with some hitting above and below $20. AMD may not be able to afford to drop prices yet on the Fury’s given their new launch and tech. It will be interesting to see how AMD will react to this price drop in the near future.

AMD Catalyst 15.7 WHQL Driver Analysis

Introduction


AMD have been lagging behind in the GPU market for a little while now; no matter what they seem to deliver, NVIDIA always seems to trump them almost immediately. This doesn’t always mean that NVIDIA produce the most powerful graphics cards, just look at the R9 Fury X, it nips at the heels of the GTX Titan X or GTX 980Ti in almost every test and in some cases beats both.

Something that NVIDIA is always above AMD in is consistent driver releases. With almost every big title game that has been released in recent months; NVIDIA has had a driver ready. Along with this, most of the drivers are WHQL rated, which AMD hasn’t released since late 2014.

In the newest driver from AMD, it’s the first WHQL driver since December 9th 2014, that is 211 days, which is extremely bad. This driver seems to have been released in the run-up to the launch of Windows 10, which will see the launch of not only a new operating system, but also the highly anticipated launch of DirectX 12; which promises to bring a performance increase unlike we’ve ever seen before.

Additional to DX12 and Windows 10 support, Virtual Super Resolution (VSR) is included, which basically renders the detail of a higher resolution display and presents them on a lower resolution display.

As with all driver updates, consult the release notes to ensure that the driver will not impact your current gaming standards. So let’s jump straight into testing to see if there are any changes to our current testing programs.

AMD R9 Fury X CrossfireX 12K Eyefinity Review

Introduction


Triple monitor configurations were massively useful a few years ago when the ‘new’ standard was 1080p and everyone wanted to have huge workspaces to process more information at once. While this was good back then, nowadays monitors can have up to 4x the resolution of 1080p in the form of 4K (2160p) and workers can fit a huge amount of information onto a single monitor.

How about when it comes to gaming? The surround monitors engulf you in a wealth of visual stimulation and even presents some details which you cannot normally see in a typical single monitor setup.

Last time we looked at our current top end cards, they all faired reasonably well when stacked against the mighty triple 4K configuration, but what about when we pitch the R9 Fury X crossfire duo against it? Let’s find out in today’s article.

AMD R9 Fury Details Exposed

We have recently received information of the upcoming AMD R9 Fury graphics card. What makes this particular card so special is the fact that manufacturers can add their own cooling solutions to the cards themselves; which is something that we missed with the R9 Fury X.

The information comes in the form of what seems to be the hardware guide for the card, which is supplied directly by AMD to their partners. Throughout the slides, we see general information that we already know from the Fury line-up, however; the last slide is particularly interesting. Contained within the slides, we see the reference to two card designs, the Sapphire Tri-X and the brand new ASUS Strix DCUIII; a peculiar thing is that AMD have used the Strix model for stock photos as well, could this mean that we are not going to see an AMD reference design at all?

Seeing the two models side by side allows us to look at the output ports, on the Fury X, we were missing the DVI port. This technology is aging, but it doesn’t force consumers to shop elsewhere or buy a new monitor just so they can use HDMI or DisplayPort. Thankfully, it seems ASUS has added a DVI port to its version.

We know now to take AMD performance figures with a relatively large pinch of salt. Here it shows the Fury outpacing the GTX 980 at 4K with ease; let’s hope AMD haven’t cut too much from the graphics core so these figures could hold truth.

Last, but not least, the figures, we can see that the processors have been cut down to 3584 from 4096, compute units down to 56 from 64 and texture units down to 224 from 256. These cutbacks see the performance drop by around 17% (compute and texture fill rate). What will be interesting is to see where the price vs performance ratio fits in against the current AMD lineup as well as the current Nvidia lineup.

We’ll bring you more information as soon as we have it.

Sapphire R9 Fury Specifications Confirmed with 2 Custom SKUs

Videocardz has leaked information regarding Sapphire’s R9 Fury range which includes two models; a standard card clocked at 1000 MHz and factory overclocked variant reaching 1040 MHz. Both cards will utilize the extremely cool Tri-X cooler which managed to tame the R9 290 series particularity well. Perhaps a Vapor-X will be unleashed in the future with improved default clocks. Furthermore, the two GPUs will incorporate a rather attractive backplate which may aid cooling by 1-3 degrees and add some rigidity. Judging by pictures alone, the card looks quite hefty, so a backplate is probably required to support it.

In terms of connectivity, the R9 Fury utilizes 3x DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI (1.4a) but there is still no sign of DVI support. This will be a major disappointment to those with Korean monitors which only have a dual link DVI port. As you can see from the specification sheet below, the R9 Fury is a cut-down version of the Fury X with 3584 Steam Processors compared to the full 4096 seen on the water cooling model. Additionally, the Texture Mapping Units have been decreased from 256 to 224. To best judge the R9 Fury’s overall performance, it is important to analyse the SPFT. While the Fury X manages 8.6 TFLOPS of raw performance, the R9 Fury is limited to 7.2 TFLOPs. Given this information, it’s sensible to deduce that the air cooled Fury should compete against the GTX 980.

The R9 Fury is set to launch at $549 which will possibly translate in the UK to around £425. Considering, GTX 980 GPUs can be procured for under £380, the R9 Fury really needs to establish itself and find a performance balance between the GTX 980 and 980Ti.

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information.

ASUS AMD R9 Fury STRIX Pricing Revealed

With the Fury X launch behind us, and our very own review of the single card available to read here and a mammoth CrossFireX review here, it is apparent that not everyone will be able to afford these monster cards, so instead, many are waiting for the Fury (Non X) model and with lots of rumours circulating round, one thing that hasn’t been clear is the pricing. Until now.

A German price comparison site is listing two retailers showing pricing for the ASUS STRIX R9 Fury DC3 4G Gaming graphics card with a premium of €623.90 at Computer-PC-Shop and €636.75 at akabpc.

While we’ve never heard of these retailers ourselves, I am personally familiar with price comparison site Geizhals.de which shows the cards with various information on the specifications and delving deeper does show that the two retailers have ratings and reviews from previous customers, making this pricing seem even more believable.

Looking at the Euro price of around €630 and doing a rough conversion, this equates to around £450 GBP and $700 USD, but with various taxes to take into consideration, I would take my wacky maths skills with a pinch of salt until we start to see retailers listing the cards at both UK and US retailers.

If you’re unsure on the specifications of the Fury (Non X) you can find them here and with talk of the card being air-cooled, we won’t see any of the issues that has struck the Fury X card and it’s AIO cooling block.

What price would you be willing to pay for the R9 Fury card? Also taking note that this is the ASUS STRIX model listed which as we know will command a slight premium over a reference card.

R9 Nano to Feature Full Fiji GPU

Something we like about powerful graphics cards is the size and performance; just look at the NVIDIA GTX 970 ITX for example. However, one restriction is huge performance drop compared to the full-size card. AMD looked at this and threw convention out of the window, again.

The R9 Fury X is currently the most powerful graphics card from the Red camp, fighting head on with the NVIDIA Titan X and GTX 980Ti. We’ve recently brought you the story that the R9 Fury will be essentially an air-cooled version of the Fury X with slightly less power, so the air cooler can handle the heat.

We already knew that all of the R9 Fury range will feature the Fiji silicone, with the Fury X and Fury X x2 (dual GPU) both featuring a full-fat versions of the Fiji silicone. The R9 Fury will be slightly cut down by around 10-15%, so it would be correct to assume that the Nano will utilise either the R9 Fury silicone, or an even more cut down version so the even smaller cooling unit can handle the heat.

However, AnandTech have reported that the R9 Nano will feature the full Fiji silicone, making it an extremely formidable graphics card.

What are your thoughts on this? Should the Nano version feature a full silicone or a cut down version like in the R9 Fury? Let us know in the comments.