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AMD Radeon R9 Fury X graphics card review: AMD's thoughtful 4K powerhouse

Brad Chacos | June 25, 2015
AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X kicks ass.

AMD Radeon R9 Fury X gaming benchmarks

Enough preamble! Let's dive into the nitty-gritty.

As with all of our graphics card reviews, I benchmarked the Radeon R9 Fury X on PCWorld's GPU testing system, which contains:

As far as the games go, we used the in-game benchmarks provided with each, utilizing the stock graphics settings mentioned unless otherwise noted. We focused on 4K gaming results for this review. 

I've compared the Fury X against Nvidia's reference GeForce 980 Ti, GeForce 980, and the $1000 Titan X, as well as AMD's older Radeon R9 290X and the Radeon R9 295x2, which packs two of the "Hawaii" GPUs found in the R9 290X. I've also included some benchmarks from a card that we won't have a formal review for until later this week: EVGA's $680 GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+, an aftermarket version of the GTX 980 Ti that sports EVGA's popular ACX 2.0+ dual-fan cooling system.

EVGA sent me the GTX 980 Ti SC+ on the same day AMD passed me the Fury X--pure coincidence, I'm sure. We'll dissect it in full detail in our review later this week, but basically, the ACX 2.0 cooler helps EVGA's model run a full 9 degrees Celsius cooler than the 980 Ti reference design, which in turn let EVGA crank the GPU's core clock up to 1,102MHz base, which boosts to 1,190MHz when needed. The stock GTX 980 Ti packs 1,000MHz base and 1,075MHz boost clocks, for reference.

Spoiler alert: This EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ is a beast that outpunches both the Fury X and Titan X itself--something EVGA was no doubt aware of when it sent me the card just in time to coincide with the Fury X launch.

But remember: Even if the EVGA card is more beastly, the Fury X still kicks ass.

Housekeeping notes:  You can click on any graph in this article to enlarge it. Note that only 4K results are listed here due to time constraints, but I can drop 2560x1440 resolution benchmarks for the Fury X in the comments if anybody's interested. (With the exception of Sleeping DogsDragon Age, and GTA V on ultra settings--all of which hover in the 40 to 50 fps range--the Fury X clears 70 fps in every other tested gaming benchmark at that resolution.)

Let's kick things off with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. This nifty little game gobbled down tons of industry awards and, more importantly for our purpose, offers an optional Ultra HD textures pack that is only recommended for cards with 6GB or more of onboard memory. That doesn't hinder the Fury X's ability to come out swinging with slightly higher frame rates than the reference GeForce GTX 980 Ti--no small feat, especially when the game opens with a splash page championing Nvidia technology.

 

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