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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?

Metro: Last Light Redux, or as I call it, "The Other Crysis." It's here in this tessellation-heavy, Nvidia-optimized shooter that Team Green gets some relief at 1440p, but are once again challenged by the CrossFired Furys at 4K. They lock horns at an average 62 fps, but once again Nvidia gets the edge with concern to minimum framerates. Still, it's becoming obvious that the lower-priced Fury ascends to surprisingly competitive levels at 4K in a dual-card configuration.

Rockstar Games did a superb job of optimizing their PC port of GTA V for a wide range of hardware. Nvidia clearly takes the prize at 1440p, but, surprise! Look who's out in front once again at 4K. Though the minimum fps is deplorable, Fury's 4K horsepower claims another crown.

Finally we jump into Battlefield 4, and this is running in DirectX 11 mode, not AMD's Mantle. Once again, Nvidia's GTX 980 Ti wins at 1440p, while AMD's Fury leads--if by a hair--4K. Sure, it's awfully close, but the air-cooled Fury is this year's bang-for-buck king so far and is holding its own above its weight class. It's still baffling why the liquid-chilled Fury X isn't as strong a contender (though it'll be worth revisiting that card with more mature drivers), but there's no denying the fact that AMD is finally playing for keeps again with the release of the Radeon Fury.

If I had to reach for a downside, it would be power consumption. Although AMD's Fiji architecture delivers better energy efficiency compared to Hawaii/Grenada (cards like the Radeon 290X/390X), Nvidia's power-sipping Maxwell cards still require far less power at the wall.

Taking the wheel

We've seen fantastic scaling performance and eye-pleasing 4K average framerates out of the Fury, but as you know the decision to run a high-end gaming PC with multiple video cards often comes with a serious compromise: Driver support.

One recent example? Before it was yanked, Batman: Arkham Knight shipped without AMD CrossFire support. If you had the Fury Twins in your rig, that meant one was effectively impotent. It took AMD about three months to institute CrossFire support for Far Cry 4 AMD CrossFire setups can still suffer from visual corruption issues in The Witcher 3 when anti-aliasing is enabled, even with the new Catalyst 15.7 drivers installed. Nvidia's not entirely innocent here, either, despite its recent onslaught of day-one Game Ready drivers. Games like Titanfall, Ryse, Shadow of Mordor, and Wolfenstein: The New Order--some of the top titles of 2014--all shipped without SLI support at launch.

Both companies have recently taken serious strides to improve their multi-GPU support in new releases. If you want multiple video cards in your rig, the word of the day is "patience," but man, is it pure gaming bliss when everything's firing on all cylinders.

 

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