In our review of AMD's Radeon R9 Fury, we discovered that the Fury X's air-cooled sibling packs a performance punch that justifies its competitive price tag. In fact, it punishes Nvidia's GTX 980 and proved to be the true champion of AMD's new Fiji lineup. Which begs the question: If one Radeon Fury performs this admirably, will two of them in CrossFire start a flame in our PC-gaming hearts and earn those coveted slots in our 4K gaming rigs?
To find out, we tossed a pair of Radeon Fury cards into our test system and put them through a series of trials at both 2560x1440 (1440p) and 3840x2160 (4K) resolutions.
Because it's just not an entertaining analysis without injecting some competition from Nvidia, we also grabbed a pair each of GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti graphics cards. Oh, and since we're using Sapphire's Tri-X Radeon Fury, which leaves the factory with a four-percent overclock beyond AMD's reference speeds, it was only fair to boost our reference Nvidia cards by that same four percent using EVGA's Precision X utility.
Essentially, we want to find out whether taking the plunge and adding a second Radeon Fury to the mix is worth the investment. But arriving at a conclusion means more than checking raw framerates. We're also going to put an emphasis on scaling, which is the boost in performance we see when jumping from a single video card to a second identical card.
Here's how the highlighted video cards in our testing will impact your wallet:
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 980: Begins at $499
- AMD Radeon Fury: Begins at $549
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti: Begins at $649
Yep, to justify spending more than a grand on GPU eye candy, we'll need our dual Radeon Fury cards to squarely beat the pants off a pair of GTX 980s and prove that they can even challenge a double dose of Nvidia's $649 flagship cards.
But first, some housekeeping. For this particular evaluation we're rocking a monster 8-core Intel i7 5960x to prevent any kind of bottlenecking. It's chilled by a NZXT Kraken X41 liquid CPU cooler, supported by 8GB of lightning-fast G.Skill Ripjaws 2400MHz DDR4 memory. It's stacked onto an ASUS X99 Deluxe motherboard and powered by a Corsair AX1200i power supply. We're running clean installs of AMD's Catalyst 15.7 and Nvidia's GeForce 353.30 drivers on a fully updated Windows 8.1 system.
Taking it to the bench
3DMark's Fire Strike benchmark tests your system's DirectX 11 performance and murders video cards with a heavy dose of physics, tessellation, ambient occlusion, and other features you're used to seeing when you tweak those graphics settings on your favorite games. We can't use it as the perfect performance gauge, but it normally gives us a clear picture of how various cards stack up next to each other.
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