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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.

To see how the Fury stacks up, we've compared it to the $650 Fury X, the $650 GTX 980 Ti, the vanilla $500 GTX 980, Asus' overclocked, custom $469 Strix R9 390X, and AMD's older Radeon R9 290X reference card (atrocious stock cooler and all). The stock Fury price is $550; the Asus Strix Fury is $580.

First up: The long-awaited Grand Theft Auto V. This game's known for using a punishing amount of memory, but the Fury's 4GB of HBM holds up just fine even at 4K resolution with all the graphics options cranked. Enabling MSAA effects at 4K sends the total memory use over the card's 4GB capacity, but doing so doesn't really add any benefits to the visual, because the graphics already look so damn smooth at 4K.

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 2450x1440 with the same settings but with 4x MSAA and 4x reflection MSAA enabled. AMD's new Catalyst 15.7 drivers appear to have caused a big performance jump in the title, but sadly, we weren't able to retest the Fury X's performance for this review due to time constraints. 

The Strix Fury and GTX 980 hang neck-and-neck here, which is a huge accomplishment for AMD considering how much better Nvidia cards ran the title at its launch.

Next up: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. We tested it at the default Medium and High graphics presets, then by cranking everything to its highest available option and using the optional (free) HD Textures Pack download, which consumes a big chunk o' memory itself. HBM's sheer speed helped the Fury hang with extra RAM usage just fine.

Dragon Age: Inquisition was one of the best games of 2014, and it's a looker, too, utilizing EA's powerful Frostbite engine.

Sniper Elite III is a blast to play, though not as demanding on graphics cards as most of the other titles. 

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a beefed-up remake of the surprisingly awesome sleeper hit, and it can absolutely murder graphics cards at its most extreme graphics settings, no matter the resolution.

Metro: Last Light Redux is another remake of a tremendous game, built using 4A Games' custom 4A engine.

Alien Isolation, like Dragon Age, was an AMD Gaming Evolved title, and like Dragon Age, it scales well across all hardware. (It's also utterly terrifying and stress-inducing.)

Finally, oldie but goodie Bioshock Infinite is our stand-in for Unreal Engine 3. Both AMD and Nvidia have had plenty of time to optimize their drivers for the game by this point.


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