XFX DD R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


We’ve been reporting pretty close on the new AMD R9 300 series since launch and with multiple reviews, we know a thing or two about them such as the huge performance difference between the R9 380 and R9 390 graphics cards. Today we take a look at the brand new R9 380X provided by XFX. Based on the Antigua XT GPU with GCN 1.2, this is the newest architecture to come from AMD apart from Fiji which is featured on the R9 Fury range.

When we tested the R9 380, it just didn’t have the grunt to push acceptable frame rates at 1440p, but the R9 390 was too expensive to justify those few extra FPS. This is where the R9 380X comes in, priced at just under £190 ($240), this is almost slap bang in the middle of the two. As with most of the R9 300 series, this card has DirectX 12 support, FreeSync Technology, Virtual Super Resolution (VSR) and Frame Rate Target Control which effectively caps your total FPS to save power in non-demanding games such as Tomb Raider.

Generally at this point we would take a look at the packaging and accessories, however, this was a press sample which came in a boring brown box and we don’t want any pictures of that, do you?

Vibox Element X Green Gaming PC Review

Introduction


There’s a common misnomer that PC gaming costs an extortionate amount of money which can deter console players from making the switch. During the last decade, developers haven’t pushed the boundaries of high-end graphical hardware due to a fixation on the console market. Additionally, the current crop of consoles are incredibly weak and struggle to maintain 30 frames-per-second at 1080P. As a result, budget PCs can easily cope with the latest games and graphics cards have a surprisingly long lifespan. On another note, CD Key resellers provide huge discounts on pre-orders which results in average savings between £20-30 compared to the £45-55 console versions. This makes PC gaming affordable and some argue it can be cheaper in the long-term.

One major hurdle newcomers face is the confusing selection of components and lack of building experience. Thankfully, companies like Vibox source the parts to create a balanced system and utilize their engineering team’s skills. Recently, they decided to dispatch the Vibox Element X Green for review purposes which features an AMD FX-6300 processor, 8GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, MSI R9 380 graphics card and 120GB boot SSD. Other notable mentions include an Aerocool Integrator 600W power supply, 1TB data drive, MSI 990FXA-GD65 motherboard, and Thermatake Water 3.0 closed-loop-cooler. This is a fantastic specification considering the affordable price bracket, and I expect it to perform exceedingly well in 1920×1080 gaming benchmarks.

Specifications

  • Name: Vibox Element X Green Gaming PC
  • Case: Vibox Predator Green Gaming Case
  • Motherboard: MSI 990FXA-GD65 Motherboard
  • Processor: AMD FX-6300 6-Core CPU Overclocked to 4.4GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Thermaltake Water 3.0
  • System Memory: 8GB Patriot DDR3 1600MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: 120GB Patriot Blast SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB SATA 6GB/s 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: MSI Radeon R9 380 GAMING 2GB GDDR5
  • Power Supply: Aerocool Integrator 600W 80+ Bronze
  • Peripherals: None
  • Monitor: None
  • Optical Drive: 24x DVD-RW
  • Wireless: None
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Warranty:  2 Year Parts Cover, Lifetime Labour & Tech Support
  • Price: £649.22

Packing and Accessories

The system arrived in a durable box with precautionary labels to reduce the chance of damage occurring during transit. I was pleased to see two hand tabs which makes the packaging easier to carry for both the courier and customer.

Once opened, the chassis box is protected on the top and bottom by cardboard covers. These help to reinforce the packaging and prevent the case from moving around in an abrupt manner.

Here we can see the chassis’ box which showcases the unusual design and Vibox branding. The cardboard is quite thick and does a stellar job of keeping the case free from cosmetic defects.

In terms of accessories, the PC is bundled with a DVI-VGA adapter, driver disks, documentation, USB PCI bracket, and UK power plug. The Vibox instructions are fantastic and contain clear diagrams in colour to assist with the initial setup process. The guide also includes information about contacting the customer hotline in case any technical problems arise.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Nvidia May Drop 2GB Model of GTX 960

Originally launching in both a 2GB and 4GB variant, Nvidia is reportedly planning to discontinue the lower capacity model. By offering only a 4GB tier, Nvidia is hoping to make the card more attractive to buyers as they will only see the 4GB version. At this point in time, there is no word yet if the 4GB 960 will keep its current price or drop to fill in the void left by the departing 2GB model.

The GTX 960 features the full GM206, Nvidia’s budget Maxwell die. While the card does decent against AMD’s R9 380, it does fall behind a bit in terms of overall performance. With the launch of the GTX 950 as well, the 960 has become even more of a niche product. The 950 features only 256 fewer shaders and 12 TMUs, not a large margin by any means, placing its performance to near 960 levels. With such competition, it is understandable why Nvidia will try to differentiate the card more by only having a 4GB model.

The biggest question is whether or not the GTX 960 will actually need 4GB of VRAM. While 4GB might be needed for 1440p, the 960 is solidly a 1080p performing card. That has historically been the domain of 2GB of cards and by the time 4GB is required for 1080p, the GPU core of the 960 may well be lacking. One also must consider the fact the 950 also has a 4GB model and would age about the same as the 960. Both cards are also limited by the 128bit memory interface which may hinder the use of such a large frame buffer.

Undoubtedly though, the extra frame buffer would make the 960 more future proof if only just. It will be interesting to see if Nvidia does follow through with this move in the end. We will follow this story as it develops and bring you more information as it arrives so stay tuned!

Thank you HWBattle for providing us with this information

AMD Radeon R9 380X May Land In Late October

Ever since AMD debuted Tonga Pro in the R9 285, everyone had been waiting for the full Tonga XT die. Earlier this week, we got our first hint with the glimpse of the XFX Double Dissipation R9 390X. Today, we’re getting word that the R9 380X will finally arrive in late October, a little over a month from now. This will fill the relatively large gap between the R9 380  and 390.

With GCN 1.2, the R9 380X will bring the efficiency gains first demonstrated in the R9 285. The card will feature 2048 Stream Processors, 128 TMUs and 32 ROPs connected to 4GB of GDDR5 across a 256bit bus. With GCN 1.2’s improved architecture, the 380X should perform about 10% faster than the 280X at the same clocks. Despite a drop in raw bandwidth compared to the 280X, the introduction of delta color compression should alleviate any issues. The card should also feature good DX12 support with asynchronous compute as well as FreeSync.

Unlike the earlier R9 370X which was limited to China, the 380X will be available worldwide. With full Tonga on tap, AMD should be able to strike at the hole Nvidia has left between the 960 an 970. This should hopefully help AMD make some more revenue, gain some market share and be more competitive overall. The only spoiler would be if Nvidia somehow introduced a GTX 960 Ti.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

ASUS STRIX R9 380 2GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


ASUS is one of the biggest names in the enthusiast technology market; with a product range including motherboards, AIO PC’s, and even internet routers, they know a thing or two about what makes a good product. They produce some of the best graphics cards on the planet with such innovative designs and production processes, it can make other companies shake.

Today we have in an ASUS STRIX R9 380 2GB. ASUS has introduced an entirely new production method with the R9 300 series, called Auto-Extreme. This new process introduces a highly automated production line, increasing longevity by removing all possible human error and with the eradication of flux; this increases the quality of joints and components. The R9 380 also brings new technology and features to the table, with the full support of DX12, Free sync technology, and passive cooling; this is set to be a great enthusiast graphics card. Why not take a look at the Auto-Extreme process here:

https://youtu.be/4gRpuurPsuc

The R9 380 range, in general, is based on the slightly ageing R9 285 graphics card PCB, this can only lead you to think why AMD want to push older technologies; is it to push more resources into new technology? We’ll find out today in this review.

The box follows a similar design to the rest of the newly introduced STRIX range. A striking outer sleeve with the key information and the essential documents to get you up and running.   

The cooling shroud follows a similar design to that of the previous STRIX cooler designs, this model also runs passively under low load circumstances.

Something ASUS always pleases me with is the backplate. Even on the lower models such as this, you get a stunning backplate that not only strengthens the card, but provides cooling support for the rear mounted components. Here we can see the behemoth 10mm cooling pipe, iconic of the DIRECT CU coolers from ASUS.

A close up on the power connection shows that this card gets all of its power from a single 8-pin PCI cable, great news for those looking for an upgrade with a lower wattage power supply.

At the business end of the card, we see the usual connections of 2x DVI, 1x HDMI and 1x 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.

AMD 300 Series GPU Pricing Leaked

With the launch of AMD’s Radeon 300 series GPU imminent, some pricing and specification details have leaked out. Sweclockers was able to find a leak detailing the pricing for a large number of 300 series GPU. Somewhat unexpectedly, the prices quoted by Sweclockers are a bit higher than the prices the original chips launched at. However, once we take away the VAT which is 25% in Sweden, the prices are much more reasonable, especially once you consider the current street price. The table below is after conversion from SEK to USD and with VAT subtracted.

At $480 the 390X is about $65 cheaper than the 290X was at launch a few years. It’s still about $100 more than the current street price for some 290X models, but once you consider the 8GB of VRAM, it’s about right for 290X 8GB. The same is true of the 390 as it’s nearly $100 more than the 290, but it does come with an extra 4GB of VRAM. Moving onto Tonga, the two R9 380 variants are priced competitively considering their VRAM endowment. The R9 370 4GB is interesting as it’ll be rare that it can make use of that extra 2GB of VRAM though the 2GB model is priced decently. Bonaire is pretty much where we expect to be.

Overall, pricing isn’t all that novel, with AMD preferring to slot in their new series into the current pricing market. Deal hunters will be disappointed as it’s unveiled that there won’t be any revolutionary changes in card pricing this generation. With only a short period till the real launch of the cards, those looking to buy soon are well advised to wait, either to pick up cheap last gen cards or snag a new one. Whether or not this will be enough to help AMD start growing market share remains to be seen. As this is an unconfirmed leak, it’s best to take the pricing with a grain of salt but the data largely checks in.

GIGABYTE’s Take on the AMD Radeon R9 380 Leaked

AMD’s launch of the Radeon R9 300 series is eminent, but we don’t know yet whether it will be at Computex or not. AMD does have a press event scheduled, but we’ll have to be a little more patient in that regards.

However, a Russian technology site managed to pick up slides of the upcoming GIGABYTE Radeon R9 380 graphics card. While the card itself isn’t pictured, we still get the important information surrounding it.

The GIGABYTE R9 380 G1 Gaming is equipped with the WindForce dual-fan cooler and comes with 4GB GDDR5 memory. The card also features a black backplate and direct heat pipe touch with the GPU. The cooler features the fan stop principle where the whole thing only is spun up when needed. When one isn’t used to that feature, it can be weird that one can’t hear the fans. GIGABYTE added small LEDs on the top to show you the fan state and ensure you that the card actually is running.

The graphics card also comes with the Super Over Clock label, giving you all the performance that the GPU is able to deliver

Included in the same leak we got a banner naming the Radeon R9 390 and 390X. While not pictured we know by now that these will be based on the Hawaii GPU while the new Fiji will be named the Radeon Fury instead. They could however still feature HBM memory. I’m sure we’ll know more really soon.