OEMs begin selling 4 GB variant of AMD's Radeon R9 390

By Scorpus · 15 replies
Dec 15, 2015
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  1. The AMD Radeon R9 390, which launched earlier this year, features 8 GB of GDDR5 memory as standard. However, some board partners are starting to release 4 GB variants of the same card at a lower price point, presenting an attractive option for those that don't need a full 8 GB of frame buffer.

    So far these cards have only appeared at Chinese retailer JD.com, although they could hit other markets shortly. The most expensive of the options is from PowerColor, with their triple-fan-cooled 4 GB model going for approximately US$325. A dual-fan model from Sapphire is available for $309, while a similar product from XFX costs $305.

    Typical 8 GB Radeon R9 390 models go for around $330, so there is a small saving to be made by choosing a 4 GB model. However, depending on the day and the current crop of rebate offerings, you can get an 8 GB R9 390 for as low as $290, making the new 4 GB model somewhat redundant at the above, converted prices.

    Of course there is a chance that when (and if) these cards reach the United States, they will be priced at a reasonable point below the current 8 GB models. There is currently a sizable gap in price between the R9 390 and the R9 380X, where a 4 GB model of the R9 390 could slot in nicely.

    Interestingly, a 4 GB variant of the R9 390 is essentially a simple rebrand of its predecessor, the Radeon R9 290, that launched with 4 GB of GDDR5. Unless you're gaming at 4K or other high resolutions, 4 GB of frame buffer should be sufficient for today's games, although if you want to future proof your purchase, opting for the 8 GB model is a more sensible decision.

    Permalink to story.

  2. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 222   +143

    The amount of installed memory doesn't make a graphics card future proof, as its window of opportunity to "rule the roster" is much narrower than the time it takes game makers to adapt to new technologies/resolutions.

    I've seen this debate so many times, it's getting a bit old... "I'm getting myself the R9 390, cause it has 8 GB of memory and better Directx 12 support". By the time you'll be playing Directx 12 games on your machine, the current generation of graphics cards will be in the dumpster.
    Reehahs, Steve, amstech and 2 others like this.
  3. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,671   +988

    Indeed. We are currently working on a comparison pitting 2GB vs. 4GB GTX 960 & R9 380 cards as well as 4GB 290 vs. 8GB 390 clock for clock to see what's the argument there with current games and if the extra RAM makes any difference or is just for show.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    Come on man,
    you should know the answer to that last part.
    Why waste the time?

    Most gamers already know
    ... as they should.
  5. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Maniac Posts: 244   +176

    Reminds me of when HD TVs were first on the scene. They all touted themselves as "HD READY!" about 4/5 years before HD channels were properly on the scene - by which time no one wanted their old, dramatically-less-than-flat screen TVs.
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,665   +1,096

    not true. we already know that there will be multiple dx12 games launching in 2016. (although I'm also in the camp that is waiting for the 14nm node 2016 cards)
  7. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    I think that's the best thing to do at this point in the calendar. The next generation of 16nm cards are due to release soon. I would be slightly upset if I plunked down $309 today and tomorrow a better performing card is at $399. For the difference of $90, it's worth the wait to gain higher performance and better energy efficiency.
  8. transerv

    transerv TS Member

    D12 is going to be Very demanding and if you go 1440 or 3800 these cards are a JOKE. By the end of 2016 to 2017 All new Cards and CPU's and SSD will be out for 4-5 K with D12. I have been saving up for next year. I have a 970 but forget 4K or D12.
  9. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 781   +235

    The extra VRAM is literally the only reason I went with an R9 390 over the GTX 970.
  10. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 133   +34

    There is no reason why would DX12 be any more demanding... it's completely up to developers to make it demanding with new rendering technologies.

    Anyway, I have one 2gb card still at home (overclocked 7870xt) and I've already seen ram shortage in some scenarios (on playable FPS of course, but stuttering). Might be that AMD ram is managed differently than nvidias (worse) as the gtx960 2gb supposedly have no such problems (not in that extent)...
  11. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    I get asked multiple times per week “Should I buy a 4GB 380 or get the cheaper 2GB model?” and if you look on forums and what not all the gaming experts are telling people to spend extra on the 4GB models. We want to see if they are right ;)

    As for this news report it is dirty business for sure. The “8GB” buffer on the 390 is marketing at its best. But to revert back to the 4GB buffer and still call it a 390 when it is really now a 290 is a slimy move indeed.
  12. Moegames

    Moegames TS Rookie

    I think it is rather silly to compare the R9 390 with its 8gb of ram vs. the 2gb & 4gb cards. The real question we must ask our selves is if more than 4gb graphic cards are going to be the "norm" soon. In my honest opinion, if I needed a new graphics card today...and two cards were in front of me at around the same price/perf point with one being 4gb and the other being 8gb...I would no doubt snap up on the 8gb card. Think about it folks, 3gb cards came out in 2012, we are about to enter 2016 and games keep inching closer and closer over that 4gb meter. Simply put, I think AMD nailed it by releasing a performance card like the 390 with 8gb of ram. If it were summer 2016 and I had to choose between the two cards...the 8gb would most definitely be my choice, its a no brainer and having that 8gb of GDDR5 ram gives you added comfort for future-proof and SLI if you go that route later down the road.

    Why people think comparing 4gb vs 8gb cards right now is silly imho..do this comparison mid Summer 2016 or Autumn 2016 and that 8gb card will be smiling while 4gb cards will be starving.

    Frankly, any one looking to buy a graphics card today...I most definitely recommend going with a 8gb card, period
  13. Icysoul

    Icysoul TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +13

    Well, if more VRAM means "future proofing" your investment, why is the Fury (X) sporting only 4GB and doing just fine even when gaming in 4K? What I'm saying is that having a faster memory (larger bandwidth) is way more important than its amount. After all, we've all seen that GT640 with 4GB of VRAM...
    Julio Franco, tomkaten and Reehahs like this.
  14. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 304   +132

    Wrong. Already 4GB is a problem. You the question isnt "Do we need 8GB?", the question is "do we need more than 4GB ? " - and we do.
  15. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 222   +143

    Fury X begs to differ. Have you read any of the above posts ? Icysoul's especially, who posted right before you did...
  16. hrowder

    hrowder TS Enthusiast Posts: 60   +11

    I still don't understand why the memory of cards used in Crossfire or SLI won't stack. Only one card's memory is used in a dual card installation and that seems wrong to me. At 4K gaming 8GB of memory is an absolute necessity and 12-16G would not be "excessive" with a lot of movement of terrain and other things going on... like high rate of fire from multiple guns in an FPS situation or a space game with a lot of stations, planets, stars, etc. So how come the makers of these video cards can't figure out a way to make the memory of both cards in a dual card installation usable. It boggles my mind.

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