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AMD Radeon Fury Crossfire review: Here's what two fast, furious graphics cards can do

Jason Evangelho | July 15, 2015
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?

As you saw in our single-card Fury review, the Radeon Fury sneaks in dangerously close to Nvidia's more expensive GTX 980 Ti, and that's mirrored in multi-card testing. At 4K, Fury in CrossFire is 16 percent faster than GTX 980 in SLI, and only two percent slower than 980 Ti in SLI.

But what about scaling? How much of a boost do we get over single-card performance by throwing in the twins? Since we're talking about a serious cash investment, let's gloss right over the 1440p picture and zero in on 4K. Nvidia's GTX 980 scales at 83 percent, with AMD's Radeon Fury just behind it at 79 percent. The GTX 980 Ti comes in last at 74 percent, although all three cards actually improve their scaling performance when jumping from 1440p to 4K.

Will this trend carry over to real game testing? If so, the recommendation is a no-brainer.

Lara Croft's last adventure slightly favors AMD hardware, but it's no surprise to see the pricier 980 Ti outpunching the Fury by a few frames in both single and multi-card configurations at 1440p. At 4K, however, the picture tilts and the Fury twins take the lead. Also, check out that exceptional 87 percent scaling improvement from the Fury at 4K. Nice minimum frame rates too!

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is where things start to get interesting. Notice how the 980 Ti and Fury are neck-and-neck in single-card shootouts, but here, the Fury takes a decisive lead over the 980 Ti in multi-card benchmarks. It's all because of scaling, baby. The Radeon Fury exhibits a whopping 90-percent scaling improvement, versus 78 percent on the 980 and 73 percent on the 980 Ti. I shouldn't whip the fanboys into a frenzy by mentioning that Nvidia splash logo during the game's opening credits--but I will anyway.

Time and time again across both of AMD's new Fiji-based cards, we're seeing that vaunted High-Bandwidth Memory make a difference at Ultra HD resolution. If only we could overclock it!

Putting the pedal to the metal

Let's move on to the real demanding stuff.

Our next set of benchmarks zeroes in on just the Radeon Fury, GTX 980, and GTX 980 Ti in dual-card setups. No compromises here, folks. You're forking over the cash, you want to see maximum graphical fidelity. That means Metro: Last Light Redux and Grand Theft Auto V on Very High Quality, Shadow of Mordor kicked up a notch to Ultimate, and Battlefield 4 running in Ultra Quality mode.

Even with Shadow of Mordor maxed out, we see the Fury twins besting their more expensive Nvidia competitors, although they risk some embarrassment with that minimum 15-frames-per-second result.

 

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