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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.

You wouldn't want to drop $550 on a graphics card and have to drop down to Medium settings at 4K in next year's hottest games. That would hurt.

Related, while HBM is a powerful new technology delivering an insane amount of memory bandwidth, the 4GB cap on the first-generation version is worrisome for people looking to dip their toes into 4K gaming. Gaming at such a high resolution absolutely chews through RAM, and current-day titles like GTAV and Shadow of Mordor are already skirting the Fury's 4GB capacity at 4K. The Fury can run today's games at 4K without issues, but what about tomorrow's? AMD's engineers think driver optimizations can keep things running smoothly in the future, but it's yet to be proven.

Pushing the card even further is another potential hesitation point for enthusiasts. While we didn't have time to test the Fury's overclocking chops, the GPU itself proved resistant to MOAR POWER when we tested the Fury X. GeForce cards built using Nvidia's supremely power-efficient Maxwell architecture are known for their extreme overclocking prowess, with some chips hitting an insane 20 percent OC. That said, the Strix Fury solidly beats the GTX 980 in most games, so even Maxwell's vaunted overclocking capabilities might not be enough to tip the scales.

Don't let those qualms turn you off the Radeon Fury, though. Out of the box, the air-cooled Fury does everything we'd hoped it'd do--perhaps even a bit more--by blowing the pants off Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980 in most games and delivering a stunning 2560x1440 gaming experience. This card comes highly recommended at that resolution.

And if you're looking for the lowest-cost way to start legitimate 4K gaming today, the Radeon Fury delivers--as long as you keep our caveats about future-proofing in mind. And you buy a FreeSync monitor.

 

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