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Radeon R9 Fury review: The Fury X's little brother is AMD's GeForce GTX 980-slayer

Brad Chacos | July 13, 2015
AMD's air-cooled counterpart to the liquid-chilled Radeon Fury X doesn't topple its big brother, but the Asus Strix version of the Radeon Fury firmly outpunches Nvidia's GTX 980.

More significant than the aesthetics and cooling are the Fury's under-the-hood tweaks, which AMD didn't mention previously. The Fury sports a cut-down version of the beefy new Fiji GPU found in the Fury X, chopping off 32 texture units, 512 stream processors, and 50MHz off the max clock speed, to 1000MHz boost. The Asus Strix Fury is overclocked to 1000MHz base with a 1020MHz boosted clock speed.

We received our review sample a scant 15 hours before the embargo time for reviews lifted, so we were unable to test out the Fury's overclocking capabilities. However, the modest factory OC on the Asus Strix Fury (and Sapphire's Tri-X R9 Fury, as well, at 1050MHz) suggest that this card may not be an overclocking fiend. Remember: Our attempts to overclock the liquid-cooled Fury X resulted in a mere 60MHz boost, good for an extra two to three frames per second in gameplay. The Strix Fury packs 12-phase Super Alloy Power II materials, DIGI + VRM, and Asus' stellar GPU Tweak II overclocking software to help you squeeze all the performance you can out of the card.

Before we move on to the meat of the review--performance benchmarks!--a few quick notes. The R9 Fury, of course, supports AMD's defunct Mantle API, as well as its performance-enhancing Vulkan successor and the similar DirectX 12 technology coming with Windows 10.

Radeon Fury performance benchmarks

Let's clear the air right off the bat: While the Radeon Fury isn't quite as capable as the Fury X or the GTX 980 Ti, it pummels the GTX 980 in many games, and it's a dead heat in the handful of titles where it's close. Heck, you could even feasibly use this for single-card 4K resolution gaming for today's games, but if you do you'd definitely want to invest in a FreeSync panel to smooth things out. The GTX 980 and R9 390X simply don't offer that.

As ever, we tested the Asus Radeon Strix Fury on PCWorld's graphics card testing system. You can read our build guide for the machine if you're interested, but here's the quick and dirty version:

We tested each title using the in-game benchmark provided, and stuck to the default graphics settings unless mentioned otherwise. A mix of both AMD- and Nvidia-leaning titles were used. V-Sync and G-Sync were always disabled.

 

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