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.

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.

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.

XFX Plans Water-cooled AMD Radeon R9 Fury

AMD has been jumping right onto the water-cooling bandwagon lately with their reference cards. Both the R9 295X2 and the R9 Fury X featured superb liquid-cooling in order to keep their hot chips cool. Even Nvidia cards have seen some liquid cooled options like the MSI Sea Hawk 980Ti. Now XFX is joining in with their own liquid-cooled solution for the R9 Fury.

Based off the same Fiji die as the Fury X, the Fury features a cut-down version with only 3,584 stream processors. Despite this, the Fury performs quite close to its older sibling. Another differentiator is that the Fury X is non-customizable by the AIB partners, meaning the stock liquid cooling cannot be changed. With the Fury though, AIB partners are free to do what they want and it looks like XFX has gone this route.

XFX has pretty much taken a Fury X card but swapped out the chip for the Fury and overclocked it. Essentially, this is what you would get when you buy a Fury X but with the Fury inside instead. This is quite interesting as the other Furys have all been air-cooled so far. This card will have to navigate the narrow gap between the Fury and Fury X in order to be viable. It will be interesting to see where XFX will price this card.

Thank you Videozardz for providing us with this information

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

AMD May Launch R9 Nano for $649 Today

Later today, AMD is expected to finally launch their much-anticipated R9 Nano GPU. Based off of the full Fiji die, the small form factor card will be a sure hit with the HTPC crowd. Having already had some of their slides with benchmarks and images of the card leak, we’re now getting word on the pricing situation. According a report, AMD is setting the price pretty high, with the Nano set to launch with an MSRP of $649 USD. Keep in mind that this is still unconfirmed right now and AMD may yet launch the card at a different price.

To put that in perspective, the R9 Fury, with a slightly higher clocked but gimped Fiji comes in at $549 while the full Fiji flagship R9 Fury X costs about $649. This puts the R9 Nano in a tough spot despite having a full Fiji. Even with similar top clocks as the Fury X, the Nano is still limited by its cooling, 42dB sound rating and its 75C temperature target. This means the Nano will probably perform closer to the vanilla Fury. Against the green side, the Nano does offer 30% more performance than the competing SFF GTX 970, but will set you back double the price.

With those numbers in mind, it really seems that AMD wants to maintain their margins on the Fiji die and HBM. The serious binning they are doing to get such efficient chips also means the Nano is a rarity. The biggest question is whether or not users are willing shell out top cash to get the fastest and most efficient mini-ITX card on the market or will they simply settle for something else. At this price though, there is little chance the Nano will cannibalize the Fury’s so AMD has at least got that covered.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information 

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.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


Something that we don’t really get much of a buzz from is the ‘second best’ graphics card, Okay the R9 390 is good, but we all want to know about the R9 390X; so why has the hype kept momentum even after the R9 Fury X launch, ready for the R9 Fury? The main reason is likely the fact that it’s water cooled from the factory, even though most people want water cooling, it can be problematic or even just too large to fit inside some cases. Those who held off buying the Fury X are now in for a treat thanks to AMD allowing sub-vendors the ability to customise the R9 Fury.

Sapphire is one of the manufacturers who take the reference card and just make it better without over-complicating the process, which pushes the price up. By using the reference PCB, Sapphire has tweaked components and the legendary Tri-X cooler to make the Tri-X R9 Fury as good as it could possibly be.

Sapphire are undoubtedly the largest AMD graphics card supplier in the world and that shines through to the products. All of the cards have support for the likes of Liquid VR, FreeSync, Eyefinity, and VSR technologies, which really give them the edge against the competition.

Liquid VR is AMD’s take on the VR support, providing the most comfortable and realistic experience possible through compatible headsets and graphics cards. VSR is one of the newer technologies, standing for Virtual Super Resolution, the graphics card renders the detail of a higher resolution screen and displays that detail on your current monitor. For more information, please consult the AMD Catalyst 15.7 driver release notes.

Looking at the R9 Fury, it is essentially a cutback R9 Fury X, by reducing the shader units and TMU’s, AMD was able to decrease the overall performance by around 10%, however this card is roughly 25% cheaper; so what gives?

AMD released the R9 Fury X to compete with the Titan X and GTX 980Ti; which it did. So the only competition left was the GTX 980 and 970, which are priced around the £450 mark. AMD decided to cut back on performance to enable the R9 Fury to compete not only on performance but price also.

Let’s just jump into the testing to see if the wait has been worth it.

Sapphire has taken a slightly different turn with the new Tri-X box styling. The R9 390X followed the same style of the R9 290X, where this seems to resemble the R9 390 Nitro box with a window cut out for a sneak peak of the card itself.

Inside the box, we find the usual array of manuals and leaflets, along with a 1.8m HDMi cable and DisplayPort – DVI adapter cable.

 

The card is the same length as the R9 390X Tri-X thanks to the Tri-X cooling shroud, however, this one is more aesthetically pleasing.

Around the back, we can see the absolutely huge heatsink. The PCB is very small, the same size as the R9 Fury X.

Focusing on the Power connectors, 2x 8pin PCIe allow the Fiji GPU to get all of its power. On the opposite side of the ports, we see the trademark Fury load LED’s. Unlike the Fury X, these are blue when under load, which could be a differentiating feature or maybe a Sapphire special.


Turning the card over, we see the full length of the card vs the PCB length. This card would have been perfect for the R9 380 Nitro cooling shroud due to the length, but that would have detracted from the premium Tri-X branding. The backplate is very nice, thankfully Sapphire has taken note and added one to this high-end card.

At the business end of the card, we have 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMi ports.

Sapphire has taken the new Tri-X cooling design as seen on the R9 390X and improved it. I liked that the new design was understated, but this design is even better.

Side by side you can see what has changed between the two cards. Sapphire has held back on the colour of the Sapphire logos and added more detail around the fans.

Turning the cards over, you can see that the R9 Fury Tri-X edition has more heat pipes and a much larger heatsink.

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.

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 Fury Perfect for the Living Room? Possibly Not!

In a move that might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, information has been revealed that the new R9 Fury GPU will not support HDMI 2.0 nor DP 1.3. This comes from a forum post on Overclockers.co.uk by what appears to be an AMD representative. Asked to confirm if the card would support HDMI 2.0, this was the answer given by AMDMatt:

If this post is accurate, the Fury will not only not be supporting HDMI 2.0. HDMI 2.0 is critical as the industry moves to 4K, something AMD has been pushing heavily. HDMI 2.0 allows for 4K @60Hz, something currently impossible with HDMI 1.4. DisplayPort 1.3, also not supported enables 2 4K @60Hz screens to be driven or 5K and 8K in certain modes at 60Hz. Both are also required for HDCP 2.2 which allows BluRay 4K discs to play with copyright protection. While DisplayPort 1.2a does allow for 4K@60Hz, users with HDMI 4K TVs, which have become quite prevalent, will be left at a console level 30Hz. Fury Nano, if also similarly handicapped will have it’s HTPC ambitions hurt as well.

For now, there is no need to get riled up just yet. This is just one post so far and AMDMatt might be misinformed. It will be best to save any pitchforks till official word comes out from AMD on their HDMI and DP support. The flexibility of DP also means that an active adapter can convert the DP 1.2a signal to HDMI 2.0, but HDCP 2.2 will be lost. If this report is true though, it makes AMD’s other mistakes this time seem trivial. Missing one of HDMI 2.0 or DP 1.3 is serious enough I tend to believe that one of the two is supported until I get official confirmation from AMD. Either way, AMD best act fast before the internet rumour mill goes out of control.

If you were hoping for high frame rates on your new 4KTV for living room gaming, HDMI 2.0 is vital.