Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury Graphics Card Review

Introduction


The initial unveiling of AMD’s Fury X was eagerly anticipated due to the advent of high bandwidth memory, and potential to revolutionize the size to performance ratio of modern graphics cards. This new form of stackable video RAM provided a glimpse into the future and departure from the current GDDR5 standard. Although, this isn’t going to happen overnight as production costs and sourcing HBM on a mass scale has to be taken into consideration. On another note, JEDEC recently announced GDD5X with memory speeds up to 14 Gbps which helps to enhance non-HBM GPUs while catering to the lower-mid range market. The Fury X and Fury utilizes the first iteration of high bandwidth memory which features a maximum capacity of 4GB.

There’s some discussion regarding the effect of this limitation at high resolutions but I personally haven’t seen it cause a noticeable bottleneck. If anything, the Fury range is capable of outperforming the 980 Ti during 4K benchmarks while it tends to linger behind at lower resolutions. AMD’s flagship opts for a closed-loop liquid cooler to reduce temperatures and minimize operating noise. In theory, you can argue this level of cooling prowess was required to tame the GPU’s core. However, there are some air-cooled variants which allow us to directly compare between each form of heat dissipation.

Clearly, the Fury X’s water cooling apparatus adds a premium and isn’t suitable for certain chassis configurations. To be fair, most modern case layouts can accommodate a CLC graphics card without any problems, but there’s also concerns regarding reliability and the possibility of leaks. That’s why air-cooled alternatives which drop the X branding offer great performance at a more enticing price point. For example, the Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury is around £60 cheaper than the XFX R9 Fury X. This particular card has a factory overclocked core of 1050MHz, and astounding cooling solution. The question is, how does it compare to the Fury X and GTX 980 Ti? Let’s find out!

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury comes in a visually appealing box which outlines the Tri-X cooling system, factory overclocked core, and extremely fast memory. I’m really fond of the striking robot front cover and small cut out which provides a sneak peek at the GPU’s colour scheme.

On the opposite side, there’s a detailed description of the R9 Fury range and award-winning Tri-X cooling. Furthermore, the packaging outlines information regarding LiquidVR, FreeSync, and other essential AMD features. This is displayed in an easy-to-read manner and helps inform the buyer about the graphics card’s functionality.

In terms of accessories, Sapphire includes a user’s guide, driver disk, Select Club registration code, and relatively thick HDMI cable.

Sapphire Launches G2A Competition on Nitro GPUs

Sapphire is one of the most reputable graphics card vendors and produces a huge range of custom cooled AMD solutions. The company has forged a reputation for manufacturing exceptional cooling apparatus which manages to tame the GPU core while remaining quiet. This is a remarkable achievement especially when you consider AMD’s 290 series suffered from very high load temperatures. Their latest range, entitled the NITRO offers premium features at a very respectable price point. According to Sapphire, the:

 “….NITRO series boasts a range of features previously reserved for high-end cards, including long-life capacitors and award-winning Black Diamond Chokes, as well as our award-winning cooling solutions. Its sleek, elegant contours have been designed to suit any build. And the latest graphics architecture from AMD ensures fast, reliable gaming, performance tuned for any level of gamer.”

The company has just partnered with digital games store, G2A.com, and will:

“…give anyone who buys a SAPPHIRE NITRO Gaming Series card a chance to win a discount voucher from G2A.com.

NITRO R7 300 series = 20 USD discount voucher
NITRO R9 300 series = 40 USD discount voucher
NITRO R9 Fury series = 50 USD discount voucher

The draw will be made weekly with winners announced on the competition page. Winners will also be notified by email.”

To enter the competition all you have to do is register your details here, and hopefully be selected to receive a voucher! G2A.com provides various games at discounted prices, and there’s been some concern about where they acquire codes from. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t encounter any problems redeeming purchases, and it’s always worth trying to enter as many competitions as you possibly can! This is a great promotion and provides additional value when selecting a NITRO series GPU.

Sapphire will also launch a new NITRO gaming series mini site around the 22nd February. Here is a small taste of what’s to come.

AMD R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card CrossFire Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different and we are excited to bring you the CrossFireX review of the newly released R9 380X graphics cards.

Based on the R9 380, which was based on the R9 285, the R9 380X was designed to fit the gap that was obvious between the R9 380 and R9 390. Priced at just under £200, sales have proven strong in the first weeks and board partners have given their models the usual overclocking treatment with the average clock speed of around 1030MHz being around 50MHz higher than the ‘reference’ design.

Through our testing of both the XFX DD and Sapphire Nitro models, it was evident that performance wasn’t as high as I hoped and still left a gap to fill under the R9 390. Reviewing the Rx 200 series lineup, the R9 285 was an extremely late arrival. It was based on architecture we were familiar with, but it introduced GCN 1.2 which is the foundation of the brand new R9 Fury range. To me, this leaves a gap for an R9 385 to be introduced to the market and the next step in the graphics card race for late 2016.

When we test in CrossFireX, we aim to use two identical graphics card to ensure that everything is as similar as possible. When using the same cards, you can almost guarantee the same cooling capabilities, power draw, core clock and other variables. This then gives us the best possible outcome for maximum performance as the computer does not need to compensate for any differences.

eTeknix 2015 Christmas Buying Guide – Treat Yourself or Someone Else!

The time for holiday festivities is almost upon us and as the modern tradition of consumerism continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder to pick the right gifts for people every year, or perhaps it’s just me who struggles? Either way, we’ve sat around a Christmas fire, or just a general fire in November and December, getting into the gift buying state of mind and picked a range of our favourite products which we’ve reviewed here at eTeknix throughout 2015, as what better products to recommend than the ones we’ve had in our own hands and tested!

We’ve got a huge range of budgets covered here today, although I think it’s fair to assume that given we play around with graphics cards and a lot of enthusiast friendly products, there are some real wallet busters here too. Of course, you can use this guide to find some of the best products of the year to treat your family, friends and more, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t just spoil yourself too!


Rock Band 4 Band in a Box

Get ready to rock out this Christmas and no doubt many other days. Pick up the guitar, drum sticks, or just butcher your favourite song on the microphone. Rock Band 4 – Band in a Box is a fantastic gift and it’s a great thing to deploy at parties too, certainly beats the usual Karaoke chaos! It comes with the guitar, microphone, drums and the game for $249.99. To save costs, the standalone game with the guitar is just $129.99. In the UK, the Band in a Box is £219.99, while the guitar and game is just £109.99.

Check out the full review here.


Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Chassis

The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Mid-Tower chassis is by far my favourite chassis of 2015, it just oozes high quality inside and out, with capabilities for high-end water and air cooling and so much more. It is available from Overclockers UK for £139.99 and is available in both Gun Metal and black.

Check out the full review here.


Raijintek Styx Micro-ATX Aluminium Chassis

What a fantastic little chassis this is! Built from beautifully finished brushed aluminium and available in a wide range of colours, this would make a great gift for someone building a new gaming system this Christmas. The Raijintek Styx chassis is available from Overclockers UK for just £64.99.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Silent Base 800 Chassis

Another expensive chassis on our list, but one of the best we’ve seen this year. If you’re wanting to build someone, or yourself, a gaming PC that not only looks great but is as silent as you could ever hope for, the Silent Base 800 Window is the way to go. It is available from most popular retailers for 149,90EUR/119 GBP/149,90 USD ex. VAT.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent Red Mechanical Keyboard

Featuring the innovative Cherry MX Silent Switches, the Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is simply amazing to use. It’s packed full of features and is by far the quietest mech we’ve ever tested. A little expensive, but I’m sure anyone would be happy to unwrap this at Christmas. The Strafe is available for £139.99 from Overclockers UK, while the MX Red and the MX Brown are priced at £129.95. If you want the non-RGB version, you can find the MX Red and the MX Brown at £99.95 each.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Commander Gaming Gear Keyboard and Mouse Combo

The TteSports by Thermaltake Commander Keyboard and Mouse Combo is a great gift for Christmas, it’s affordable, has a nice range of features and you get a keyboard and a mouse in a single nice and tidy (and easy to wrap) box! With prices around £23.99 it’s hard to say no to such a great deal! Readers in the US can pick one of from Newegg for an equally impressive $29.99.

Check out the full review here.


CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Mechanical Keyboard

RGB mechanical keyboards are everywhere this year, but the XTi from Cooler Master is my personal favourite so far. It’s no-fuss and bold design is great for home and office, gaming or work, with the added bonus that it’s incredibly durable and has some of the nicest lighting tones I’ve seen so far, even if it does only allow for a mixture of red and blue! You can pick up the XTi from Box for just £134, although there’s also a deal that includes a free mouse here!

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse

The Gaming Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse is packed full of features that will put a smile on any PC gamers face. With RGB lighting, excellent performance and a customisable keypad on the side, it’s one of the best mice we’ve ever tested. better yet, it’s only £69.95 from Overclockers UK.

Check out the full review here.


Logitech G502 Proteus Core Gaming Mouse

The Logitech G502 is a prime example of how great a gaming mouse can truly be. This is without a doubt the best mouse sensor we’ve ever tested and the rest of the mouse isn’t exactly lacking in features either. I’d be tempted to buy this one for myself this Christmas, but you could always treat someone else with it too. It’s available directly from the Logitech website (with free shipping) for just £69.99.

Check out the full review here.


G.Skill MX780

A relatively new entry on the peripherals market, the G.Skills MX780 is a fantastic gaming mouse, with a switchable left or right handed grip that makes it ideal for a wide range of gamers. With a retail price of just $59.99 it is exceptional value for a Christmas gift, and given its spec, it’ll go head to head with many of the best mice on the market.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Void Headset

We were absolutely blown away by the Corsair Void series, some of the best sounding, most comfortable and best-looking headsets we’ve ever seen! They would make a great gift, but be careful, if you try them out before you give them away, you may want to keep them. The Corsair Void USB 7.1 RGB Headset is available from Overclockers UK for just £79.99. This is £10 cheaper than the Wireless headset which is £89.99, I prefer the wireless and think it’s not much more to pay for the extra tech, but you’re own preferences will obviously determine which model you prefer.

Check out the reviews for the USB 7.1, Wireless 7.1 and 2.0 headsets here.


Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro

Eager to get the best of the best gaming headset for you or your loved one? Then make no exception, the Astro A40 TR Headset with Mix Amp Pro is the way to go. This is one that’s sure to leave a dent in your wallet, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Available from the Astro store for £200, plus around £48 for the optional Mod Kit, the Astro is expensive, but the sound quality, features and comfortable fit are priceless.

Check out the full review here.


Crucial BX200 SSD

SSD prices are dropping constantly and there really has never been a better time to invest. If it’s for your own system, you can give yourself a great upgrade without spending a fortune, but the smaller drive sizes make excellent gifts to those who could do with a performance upgrade on their system. The Crucial BX200 comes with an MSRP of £234.49 ($299.99) for the 960GB model and £66.49 ($84.99) and £116.99 ($149.99) for the smaller 240GB and 480GB models, plus the small boxes are super easy to wrap up as a gift.

Check out the full review here.


QNAP TS-251 2-Bay NAS

Give the gift of a connected home this Christmas, from streaming your movies around the house, to backing up those important files, there are a lot of benefits to owning a NAS. Not the cheapest of gifts, but it’s one of those products where if you buy cheap, you’ll likely regret it in the long run. The QNAP’s TS-251 Turbo NAS can be found at NewEgg for $384.99, at Scan UK for £295.32, or through Geizhals starting at €284.

Check out the full review here.


Sapphire Nitro R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card

AMD have created a mighty powerhouse with the R9 380X and the Sapphire Nitro is one of the finest examples. It’s fast, sleek and affordable, more than enough power for 1080P ultra gaming, or 1440p high gaming, making it a great addition to anyone who wants the latest PC games for Christmas. The Sapphire Nitro R9 380X is currently available from OverclockersUK for £199.99. NeweggUS currently has this card listed for $229.99.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card

Spend a little more, get a lot more, the GTX 970 is a superb card, but one that may be getting a little expensive for those looking for a Christmas gift. With enough power to play anything on the market and even delve into high-end resolutions, it’s a strong contender for something to put under the Christmas tree, or even put on your own wish list. The Gainward Phoenix GTX 970 is currently available in the UK from SCAN for £273.56 and for an estimated $360 in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 980ti 6GB Graphics Card

It wouldn’t be Christmas if we couldn’t all hope and dream, but the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is currently one of the best cards on the market and we would be crazy not to suggest the best of the best. Available in the UK for the £599.99 it’s certainly not cheap, although we’ve seen some great deals bringing it down below £500, so it’s best to shop around. Just imagine the look on your partners face when they unwrap this monster on Christmas day!

Check out the full review here.


DDR4

Getting a little more back to reality and reasonable prices, DDR4 memory is dropping in price quite nicely now. It was super expensive at launch, but now you’ll often find DDR4 kits at equal or lower prices to their DDR3 equivalents. That makes them a great upgrade for Christmas, but make sure you have a DDR4 motherboard to go with it!

Check out our latest memory reviews here.


Shield Android TV

Snapped up a 4K TV in the Black Friday deals? The Nvidia Shield Console is the most powerful Android device on the market, and it’s the perfect media player for Plex, 4K content on Netflix and more. Even better, it’s also a very powerful gaming system, with many AAA games available to play, as well as game streaming features that will leave you wondering why this device doesn’t cost more than £149.99! You can buy the Shield TV and accessories directly from Nvidia here.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S

Think someone could do with a cooling upgrade for their system, or perhaps even parts towards a new system build this Christmas? Treat them to an AIO water cooler and they’ll be able to reduce the noise from their system and unlock its overclocking potential! The Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S is a little expensive, but it’s still a competitively priced AIO at just £81.98 and would make a great gift, especially if you’re just going to treat yourself.

Check out the full review here.


Alpenfohn Atlas

The Atlas is one of the coolest coolers we’ve seen this year, a tiny form factor with big performance and virtually silent acoustics. Building a system for someone or upgrading your own, this is one cooler you’ll want to consider and given that it’s available from Overclockers UK for a very reasonable £42.95, it’s another great addition to our buying guide.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim

Need a premium cooler but don’t want to pay a premium price this Christmas? The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim is more affordable, but still packs some impressive performance figures. It’s available from Scan.co.uk for just £30.52 + shipping here in the UK and from Amazon.com for $49.90 + $9.80 shipping in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Inateck Mercury Box Bluetooth Speaker

Love your music on the go, when you’re out at the park, or anywhere for that matter? The Mercury box offers up a huge sound from such a tiny box. Built from aluminium and featuring a waterproof design, it’s one of the best mobile speakers on the market, great for listening to music wherever you are! Available from Amazon.com for just $48.99 and readers in the UK can get it from Amazon.co.uk for £49.99.

Check out the full review here.


OnePlus 10,000mAh Mobile USB Power Bank

The perfect stocking filler, a 10,000 mAh mobile battery. This has enough juice to charge most mobiles several times, and it’ll even recharge high-end devices such as iPads with ease too. Perfect for travelling, and best of all, it’s super lightweight and affordable. The power bank is £13.99/$14.99/€15.99 and you can order it directly from OnePlus.

Check out the full review here.


Gaming Systems

Nothing says I love you like a kick-ass gaming PC. Of course, budgets vary wildly from hundreds to even thousands of pounds/dollars, but that’s the joy of buying a PC, or building your own, there’s so much to choose from! With so many awesome system integrators around these days, you can’t go far wrong. Chillblast, CyberPower, PC Specialist, Vibox, Freshtech or Overclockers UK.

Gaming in the living room? Why not invest in a CyberPower Syber Steambox! Prices start at £485 and go right up to £1905, giving you a great choice to suit your needs, and your budget.

A whole lot of gaming for not a lot of money from Chillblast, with their very competitive Fusion NightHawk, a great option for those looking for their first gaming PC at just £599.

Got a little more budget to play around with this Christmas? The super fast gaming systems from PC Specialist that feature ASUS Maximus VIII hardware also come with the gorgeous Gladius mouse! Systems in this category start at £890 for the i5 and GTX 960 model, all the way up to £1670 for the i7 and GTX 980 Ti.

Another mid-budget powerhouse, this time from Vibox with their Element X. At just £649, this MSI R9 380 and AMD FX-6300 powered computer is great for gaming and would make a great gift this Christmas.

Time to bring out the big gun’s and really treat yourself? Or perhaps you just want your friend or family member to open a present they’ll never forget? The FreshTech Solutions Stealth Gaming PC is an absolute beast, powered by some of today’s latest and greatest hardware. Of course, it’s not cheap at £1412, but this is not your run of the mill gaming PC.

Overclockers UK offer a range of gaming systems, and general day-to-day PC’s just like another other, but with the big advantage that they’re also a normal PC component retailer. If you want to build your own system, customise a build or pick a pre-built system, you’ll find lots to play around with here.

Check out our full range of system reviews here.

Sapphire Nitro R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card Review with Back Plate!

Introduction


If you’ve been reading up on the latest R9 380X range, you may have seen stories and possibly even reviews that the performance wasn’t as high as many expected. I one of those who was very disappointed with the performance when compared to the R9 380 and R9 390 graphics cards by being around 10% faster than the R9 380. I really shouldn’t be complaining, at a sub £200 price point, the R9 380X is poised as a great 1440p graphics card; albeit with some settings lowered to medium or high from ultra.

Today in the test bench we have the Sapphire Nitro R9 380X. Fitting in nicely to the current Nitro range from Sapphire at just £199.99, this card features an identical cooling design as the R9 380 but with one huge visual improvement, which I will disclose later. The card features 16K capacitors for ultra long life and an increased core and memory clock to 1040MHz and 6000MHz respectively, so we should expect improved performance over what we have been witnessing so far.

Before anyone starts chanting “rebrand”, stop! As much as I agree that this is technically a rebrand, I’m now actually re-wording that to remanufacturing. A rebrand would be taking the R9 285, put a new cooling design on there and calling it an R9 380 with no other changes. However, the R9 380 and R9 380X are remanufactured with a much more precise manufacturing procedure to squeeze as much performance as possible from the Antigua GPU Core.

Packaging and Accessories

The Nitro box has changed for this card compared to the rest of the R9 Nitro range. We now have a simple portrait style box without a window to show off the contents.

I really think Sapphire want everyone to know that this card has a back plate fitted.

Accessories are simple, general paper based material, driver disk, case sticker and DVI to VGA adapter.

Sapphire Nitro R9 390 8GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


The AMD Rx 300 range has been the source of many arguments and rumours in recent months, based on the rebadging that AMD are set to re-introduce and high bandwidth memory which is poised to revolutionise the future of graphics cards. From what we already know, AMD are planning on re-introducing slightly modified versions of the current range of cards with a new higher range of ‘Fury’ branded cards based on the new Fiji GPU and includes HBM.

The card we have in today is the Sapphire Nitro R9 390 8GB. The Nitro range is a new addition to the line-up, bringing amazing cooling technologies to a wider range of graphics cards. It features a modified cooling design from the previous generation Tri-X cut down to just two fans. It features twin 100mm fans which are actively controlled to give the best cooling and audible experience, even setting them into a passive mode when under light load. The Nitro range is set to take the enthusiast world by storm, by “…cramming in everything you need (and left out everything you don’t)…” With the 300 range, we see a new era of gaming with the mainstream introduction of DX12 support, liquid VR (headset required) and AMD free sync technology which rivals NVIDIA G-SYNC.

Let’s find out if Sapphire has pushed this card to its limits to outshine its predecessor in today’s review.

The Nitro series is a new range to Sapphire. The boxes are more robust than previous boxes, offering more protection and a sneak peak at the card itself through a small window.

The cooling shroud is a new design for the Rx 300 series, based on the Tri-X cooling solution, it is more box-like than the previous Tri-X coolers.

The back of the card looks unfinished, Sapphire really need to consider adding a backplate to more of the graphics cards to really finish off the look.

Here you can see how much longer the shroud and heatsink is compared to the PCB. The subtle Sapphire logo gives this card a high-end look without being untasteful. The card is powered by twin 8-pin PCI power cables.

A slightly different arrangement of ports, 1x DVi, 1x HDMI and 3x DisplayPort.

Sapphire Nitro R9 380 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


Graphics card giant, Sapphire, are no strangers to being at the forefront of technology when it comes to AMD graphics cards. Producing some of the best graphics cards in the world, Sapphire push the envelope with cooling designs like the Vapour-X and Tri-X. They have recently signed a worldwide exclusive deal for the AMD FirePro graphics card range which deals with professional users, with this; they can bring the ever-increasing technology to the consumer market to provide us with the best gaming experience possible.

Today the highly anticipated AMD R9 300 series released to the public. We have here the Sapphire Nitro R9 380 4GB. The R9 380 is advertised to perform at the 1440p resolution, so the 4GB should aid in smoother gameplay at the higher quality settings. The R9 380 is essentially a rebadged R9 285 based on the Tonga GPU. The specifications are near identical apart from the clock speeds, AMD tends to be the masters of the rebadging. Could this be a sign of a degrading company or possibly a hint towards putting more effort into new technologies such as HBM. Let’s put our assumptions aside and see if AMD has increased performance, or if Sapphire has improved production to squeeze every last bit of performance out of this card.

The outer box on this is slightly different from previous designs. A robust box with a small window, allowing you to peek in at a single fan with the ‘Nitro’ logo.

The Nitro cooling shroud is very sleek, a more subtle design compared to previous designs from Sapphire.

Here we can see how small the PCB compared to the larger R9 290x cards. Sadly no backplate again.

This card draws its power from twin 6-pin PCI power cables.

The card features the typical AMD mid-range ports. 1x DVI, 1x HDMI and 1x DisplayPort.

Acer Announced Aspire V17 Nitro Notebook with RealSense 3D Camera

 

Acer announced the new Aspire V 17 Nitro notebooks that feature the advanced Intel RealSense 3D camera. With a camera that can understand and respond to natural movements in three dimensions, Aspire V Nitro will take their owners to a new level of navigation. It also enables 3D scanning, 3D model generating and then printing on a 3D printer, or sharing on social media for that matter.

“Acer believes three-dimensional computing offers unlimited potential for both professional and consumer uses,” said Jerry Kao, President of Acer Notebook Business Group. “Business applications include 3D modeling, mapping, and architectural design, while the most popular consumer uses will likely include augmented reality gaming, and simple PC navigation and control.”

Acer V 17 Nitro notebook models include large 17.3-inch Full HD IPS displays and are powered by a 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4710HQ quad-core processor and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics. They also come with up to 16GB of memory, 128GB or 256GB solid state drives, and up to 1TB of hard disk storage.

Of course the newest 802.11ac wireless networks are support with dual band antennas on both the 2.4GHz and 5GZ frequencies. It also includes Acer Dustfender to clear out build-up dirt inside the system to keep it longing stable and silent for a long period of time. Four built-in speakers provide Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater sound and depending on model they come with either Blu-ray or DVD drives.

The new Aspire V17 Nitro notebooks with 3D camera will become available throughout January with varying prices depending on configuration.

Thanks to Acer for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Acer