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Asus Strix Radeon R9 390X review: Keeping up with the high-performing Joneses

Brad Chacos | July 16, 2015
The new Radeon R9 390 and R9 390X graphics cards aren't mere re-brands!

You can click on any image in this article to enlarge it, including all graphs.

Next: Grand Theft Auto V. This gorgeous, loving recreation of L.A. also has a reputation for being a memory hog and comes with graphics options galore. We tested it three ways: at 4K with every graphics setting set to Very High' with FXAA enabled, at 2560x1440 with the same settings, and at 2460x1440 with the same settings but with 4x MSAA and 4x reflection MSAA also enabled. (Note: Fury X results are omitted as we haven't had a chance to retest the game with AMD's new Catalyst 15.7 drivers yet. Those drivers delivered a big performance boost in GTAV.)

Next we have a reversal of the Shadow of Mordor situation: Dragon Age Inquisition (which uses EA's ubiquitous Frostbite engine) was promoted heavily by AMD at launch, but Nvidia's card actually holds a slight lead here.

Sniper Elite III, another AMD Gaming Evolved title and Mantle supporter, isn't as strenuous on graphics cards as some of the other titles here, but it's still plenty purty, and playing it makes for an enjoyable afternoon.

Sleeping Dogs was a sleeper hit, and its Definitive Edition is a graphics-enhanced remake of this Hong Kong action game. So graphics-enhanced, in fact, that it cripples even the highest-end cards with its graphics options set to the Extreme preset.

Metro: Last Light Redux, another remake of another gem of a game, features a built-in benchmark than runs through a lengthy battle scene. It's built using 4A Games' custom 4A Engine.

Alien Isolation is the most terrifying Alien experience since the original movie. Fortunately, it's less scary to graphics hardware, scaling well across GPUs of all shapes, sizes, and price points.

Bioshock Infinite utilizes the tried and true Unreal Engine 3, like so many other games, and both AMD and Nvidia have had plenty of time to optimize their drivers for it by this point in the game's lifespan.

Here's how the cards stack up in 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Valley, two widely used synthetic graphics benchmarks. Fire Strike Ultra is a more strenuous version of Fire Strike, created specifically to test a graphics card's mettle at 4K resolution.

To test power consumption and GPU temperature, we run the grueling worst-case-scenario Furmark benchmark--which AMD and Nvidia dub a "power virus"--for 15 minutes, taking temperature information at the end using the tool's built-in temperature gauge and verifying it with SpeedFan. Power draw is measured during the run on a whole system basis, not the GPU individually, by plugging the computer into a Watts Up Pro meter rather than directly into the wall.

 

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