AMD Radeon R9 Fury X Review: Fast, cool and compact

By Steve · 37 replies
Jul 1, 2015
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  1. On the heels of delivering its latest round of rebadges with the Radeon 300 series, AMD has launched what may be its most hyped product of 2015. Whereas the recent R9 390X/390 were architecturally identical to the R9 290X/290, the Radeon R9 Fury X (codenamed 'Fiji XT') employs the GCN 1.2 architecture as the R9 380 but doubles the SPU count, which also amounts to 45% more SPUs than you'll find in the R9 390X.

    Along with packing an impressive core specification, the Fury X touts an incredible memory bandwidth of 512GB/s, which is 33% faster than that of the R9 390X and 60% higher than the R9 290X. That's a huge leap on what was already a fast memory subsystem using high-speed GDDR5 6Gbps memory.

    HBM is an exciting new memory technology that will allow AMD to develop some truly innovative GPUs, and the Fury X should be only the beginning.

    Read the complete review.

  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,104   +1,275

    Why are you guys benchmarking Watch Dogs and Battlefield Hardline with HBAO (Nvidia Tech) on while you disable AMD tech like TressFX (which Nvidia was actually allowed to optimize for, being open source and all).

    There's a high chance Nvidia's HBAO affects AMD's performance and it shows in the benchmark results, those two games are showing abnormally lower FPS. It seems like a missed variable that give favor to one side.
  3. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 576   +184

    Good read Steve. I wonder if all that power consumption savings comes from the HBM memory? Nice to seem some actual competition in the higher end GPU market again. I agree with you that the liquid cooling is a plus more then a negative. I think a lot of people would sacrifice a CPU water cooling for better GPU cooling in a gaming rig, since in a card like this and CPUs we have today most games find themselves GPU bound more then CPU bound, but most gaming oriented cases could mount 2 120mm rads pretty easily. My only small complaint is price, I think it would have been better at $600 price point, performs a tiny but under the 980ti in a few things and matches or exceeds it by small amounts in others, but I have seen some crazy 980Ti overclocks reported, and anyone can achieve a good Overclock on one of the 3rd party coolers. Did you have any coil whine during your testing?
  4. Amet Jassil

    Amet Jassil TS Member

    In others review I saw the Fury X over the Titán X in some cases. Heres even I dont saw drivers or system used, AMD actually haves Catalyst 15.6 beta for Rx 300 and Fury X cards and Windows 8.1 with some updates is the best system for test new hardwares
  5. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    The form factor makes it tempting to look into devilishly small ITX builds again... If it's at least keeping pace with the 980Ti at half the card length and much lower temperature (thanks to the AIO liquid kit), sounds like a dream for small system builders. Discount the fact that similar AIO liquid kits for GPUs (or CPU kits with a GPU bracket) are proabably around $100+, it makes it feel like the card is $550 with a $100 AIO liquid kit. Saves me the time and money to install one myself...

    If I build myself a new road warrior Battlebox I may very well consider this card.
    SirChocula and Phr3d like this.
  6. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I would be interested to know which professional reviews you are looking at.

    All the reviews I have seen either show similar margins to us or slightly worse.

    Hardware Canucks did a very nice in-depth review with lots of gaming testing…

    1440p the Fury X was 7% slower than the GTX 980 Ti, we saw 5% at 1600p.
    4K the Fury X was 2% slower than the GTX 980 Ti, we found it to be 1% faster...

    HBAO has bugger all difference on the AMD cards in those games, the margins are in line with what I have seen elsewhere and my own testing. Yes we should have tested with TressFX enabled and I am in the process of re-testing with it enabled.

    Tomb Raider is the only game I expect to see a real change but it won’t impact the overall picture ... much. We tested with 17 games to give a clear overall picture and that is what you get.
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,104   +1,275

    Thanks for the clarification on that. It's just odd as AMD had the Fury X pulling ahead of the 980 Ti but they did say that certain settings were favorable to Fury X architecture.

    Oddly enough, I cannot see the 2nd half of your comment until I quote it, perhaps a website bug?
  8. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,657   +1,095

    In the end it all boils down to what's cheaper in your region. Prices vary a lot from country to country and so does availability.
    I general I would go for a Fury X because I don't have to worry about having a smaller PC case and how I would run the cables around it.
  9. As someone who has been watercooling for about 10 years, I have to say I would never buy a gpu with its own proprietary cooling system. If I want to cool my gpu it needs to integrate with my own rads, tubing, pump etc. Closed loop systems are a compromise.

    I hear it's 25% cooler than with air. That not great in my experience as when I put waterblocks on my 290x's, it dropped the temps by close to 60%.
  10. Steve, about the overclocking: it is said that the voltage is locked at the moment (I heard that many new reference cards get unlocked in a later time, but that is something you may know better), many expect it to be unlocked in the upcoming days/weeks.

    And about the HBM overclocking, it was posted in a tech forum that according to internal AMD testings, clocking it at 600 instead of 500 resulted in negative changes. If that is true, locking at 500 makes sense I believe.
  11. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    I like the first page explaining the new HBM.
    Simple and right to the point, I think of it as 'RAM stacking'.

    Hands down the best overall fan based cooling system in the biz. I have a GTX 670 Windforce 3X (basically a 680 PCB) and the performance limit strikes well before the temps get anywhere near yellow or orange.
    My new GPU will be Gigabyte Windforce cooled.

    Aren't games using 4GB - 6GB at 1440p now?
    What about SLi/Crossfire to run 4K, certainly that would have enough power to run most games at somewhat decent settings, I love the new HBM tech but am a little surprised there is no 8GB model.
  12. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Great review @Steve, nice to see your perspective on this card!

    Looks like a decent stock card, really sucks on the overclocking world but it needs some more overclocking headroom. I wonder if some update will allow more voltage in the future or somehow let it overclock more seeing as how they claimed it overclocked a lot more than it shows. Oh well...
  13. cldmstrsn

    cldmstrsn TS Addict Posts: 141   +90

    I am actually more excited for the air cooled Fury because it is a hundred dollars less and you may not be able to overclock it as much as the X but at 550 its going to start looking really good against the 980 Ti.
  14. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,265   +436

    Hopefully those cards won't be voltage locked like this reference model is then we can truly see how far the core can overclock.
  15. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    I wonder what happens next when nvdia adapts this hbm technology.
  16. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 452   +180

    Is the DVI connection gone now? The card doesn't have any.
  17. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    Definitely makes the GPU world look a lot closer... will be very interested to see what Nvidia does with their next Titan (TitanQ maybe?),... maybe go back to compute as well as gaming?

    I suspect this liquid-cooled Fury is basically already overclocked - hence the limited headroom to OC it at the user level... kind of like selling a Titan with the EKWB block already on it and OCing it 25%...
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,724   +3,697

    Since they are using closed loop water cooling, can that not be achieved in a single card slot?
  19. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 133   +34

    Yeah it can be achieved, but I bet this design is cheaper for mass production.

    I would say the voltage levels for a given frequency bin are very tightly set, with no stable overclock headroom as a result.

    That is bullshit, there is no fury card with air cooling so it really is hard to know. But reference Fiji cards can go to 95°c while screaming like a jet. Custom designs have lower temps and low noise, but it's still far too much for Fury. HBM does not allow high temperatures and Fury X cards start to throttle "furiously" when around 75°c. It's very likely that we'll never see fully enabled Fury chip on air (at least with frequencies anywhere near those of reference Fury X with air cooling)
  20. drayzen

    drayzen TS Rookie

    Hi Steve,
    I found it interesting that you mention about being in Australia then only reference pricing in the US and how retailers there have met the MSRP.
    It doesn't seem to be the case here where retailers are gouging due to the lack of supply by up to $220 (22.5%) ( above the $979 RRP stated by AMD (
    Given the RRP is already loaded against the US price it's a bit ridiculous.
    Also considering where it's performance has come out an RRP of $849-899 would seem more realistic.
    I'm also wondering which brand of card you received and if you noticed any of the issues with noise that are starting to be reported.
    Apparently there's a fix that has been applied though AMD had stated that it was only in the review samples which it turns out to not be correct as there's now some unhappy customers.
    I've left posts on the Facebook pages of both Sapphire and MSI Australia asking both what their RRP pricing for Australia is and whether there's any way to identify a card that has had the noise fix applied.
    Neither have yet responded. Interesting how they all go quiet when there's a problem...
    I really wanted to buy this card but given the price gouging and noise issues I'm left looking at a 980 Ti which breaks my longer term plan of getting a FreeSync monitor...
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  21. drayzen

    drayzen TS Rookie

  22. jimski53

    jimski53 TS Rookie

  23. drayzen

    drayzen TS Rookie

    Yeah I'd seen that in the comments at the PC Perspective.
    This is the guy where where the pic of the new pump came from:

    I've seen sites publishing this as news that it's the fix, but I don't think it's been verified by anyone, the black pump cover could just be coincidence...

    Only problem is I doubt a store is going to let you take the cover off prior to purchasing, that's why I've been asking AMD/Sapphire/MSI if there's any way to tell from the outside or packaging.
  24. Its ugly and the lack of hdmi 2.0 thru out the 300 series is a real butt scratcher. I would prefer a extremely overclocked gtx 980 to this abomination.
  25. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    Does any other card have HDMI 2.0? Is there even any hardware that you could use with HDMI 2.0? I'd actually be a bit angrier at the lack of DVI - I know Display Port is the standard for enthusiasts, but there are still plenty of people with DVI monitors... and you can still do 1440p on a DVI...

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