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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.

We also benchmark the titles using the tried-and-true 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Valley synthetic benchmarks. 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra is a more robust version of Fire Strike designed to test a graphics card's 4K chops.

To test power consumption and GPU temperature, we run the grueling worst-case-scenario Furmark benchmark 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.

Note that while the power and thermal use appear high for the Fury Strix in the chart, this measures a worst-case scenario. During actual game use the Fury hit temperatures roughly around 75C under most extreme gaming loads. (Also note how brightly the Fury X's integrated closed-loop water cooling shines when it comes to temperature.)

Bottom line

There you have it: Despite rocking a cut-down version of AMD's hulking new Fiji GPU, the Radeon Fury Strix still packs a hell of a punch, landing closer to the GTX 980 Ti in terms of performance than the GTX 980 in general. And it's definitely a vast improvement over the older R9 290X in performance, power consumption, and sheer heat.

Out of the box, the Fury delivers exactly what you'd want out of a card with its price point. For $50 more than the GTX 980, it offers a solid jump in performance. The Radeon Fury is unequivocally a superior 2560x1440 gaming option, period.

Don't expect its release to shake up pricing too hard, though: The GTX 980 and Radeon R9 390X still seem positioned well when it comes to price/performance. 

The Fury also delivers a (comparatively) cheap entry into reasonable 4K gaming. There are some concerns that prevent the Fury from being an absolute must-buy for folks looking for a lower-cost, single-card 4K experience, however, no matter how close it comes to the Fury X and GTX 980 Ti.

First of all, with High graphics settings enabled at 4K resolution, it just squeaks past the 30fps minimum required for a decent gameplay experience with a few of the titles (Dragon Age, GTA V, Sleeping Dogs). To be honest, 4K gaming on a single GPU is still in its infancy, and games only become more demanding as time goes on. If you're looking to play games at 4K resolution with a single graphics card today, you'd probably be better off spending the extra $100 for higher frame rates and grabbing a Fury X, GTX 980 Ti, or AMD's beastly dual-GPU Radeon R9 295x2, which outpunches both of the others. The slightly higher performance those cards provide would give you a more comfortable level of future-proofing.


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