[GPU Review] Sapphire AMD r9 Fury X on the rise!

royfrosty

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[GPU Review] Sapphire AMD r9 Fury X & Fury on the rise!

The Sapphire R9 Fury X / R9 Fury Review

After much anticipation, and all the hyped, AMD have finally launched the r9 Fury X. It has been a long time ever since AMD once took the throne as one of the best GPU segment offered against the green team. But can the r9 Fury X take the throne this time round against the 980ti? It's time to find out more about the all new R9 Fury X & R9 Fury.

Also I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shadow84 for T-loaning me his Sapphire R9 Fury. Without him, this review will be a little too dull.

Introduction

HBM - High Bandwidth Memory

High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) is a high-performance RAM interface for 3D-stacked DRAM memory from AMD and Hynix. It is to be used in conjunction with high-performance graphics accelerators and network devices.

Image source : Anandtech


As the result for using HBM, there is no doubt that both the Fury & Fury X are meant to drive for high res gaming such as 4k gaming.

Packaging

The very first thing that I've realized about the R9 Fury X is the huge box. Its probably the largest GPU box I have ever seen. Not too sure why they made it that way.



And on the other hand, the smaller brother R9 Fury has a much much smaller box, easier to hold and carry as compared to the R9 Fury X.



Ok, I have to admit, it is very hard to get the R9 Fury X contents out of the box. I find myself needing to tear the box at the sides in order to remove the contents. Its definitely very frustrating to have a box packed so tight and making it harder to pull out. Once you open up you will see soft foam protecting the entire GPU, tubes, radiator, and other accessories that comes with it.

My prime suspect for difficulty in removing the box is during the time when they packed it, I suspected that the soft foam somewhat or rather expanded and hence it is difficult to extract out the inner box.

However the overall protection of both GPUS, are somewhat or rather very well protected. I'm a big fan of items shipped properly with good protection, and for that Sapphire did not spare less attention to it.






A Physical Overall Outlook

Oh-My-God, the r9 Fury X really nails the design department. It is made of die cast aluminium with a soft finishing rubber texture on the faceplate, backplate, and the sides. For all of that it is really made into a much solid and premium feel. One has to get their hands on it to feel the it.

As for the R9 Fury, Sapphire did not managed to catch my eyes attention. It isn't very aesthetically pleasing versus the R9 Fury X. But nevertheless this is an air cooled version, and Sapphire strapped on their best TriX cooler on it. It is a 3 slot cooler with 3 85mm fans. It is an extremely long.

Both the R9 Fury and R9 Fury X requires 2x 8pins PCIe power connecter. Which in theory takes up to a maximum of 375W TDP.




Both the R9 Fury and R9 Fury X comes with the same output connectors. It features a total of the latest DP 1.2a and a single HDMI 1.4a.

 
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royfrosty

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The R9 Fury and R9 Fury X is somewhat or rather interesting. They implemented a loading LED at the side, it has a dip switch to toggle between red (default), blue, purple, or off. It is totally cool for AMD to come out something like this to show that the GPU are on load or on idle.



For the R9 Fury, it is at the middle of the entire cooler.



At the side there is a dip switch. A dip switch to be toggled for BIOS settings. If one of the BIOS are screwed up, you still can fall back to a default BIOS and run the card again.




The r9 Fury X came with a single 120mm radiator and equipped with a Nidec Gentle Typhoon running from 1000rpm to a maximum of 3000rpm. More on noise later on.



The bundled accessories for both R9 Fury X and R9 Fury comes with it is a HDMI to DVI cable, and an extra HDMI cable.




The GPU output connections are 3 Display Ports and a single HDMI 1.4a.

AMD have removed DVI connections and the absence of the HDMI 2.0 will be a let down to some people. But nevertheless, DVI should not be used if people are going above 1600p. It is much wiser for people to use DP instead for higher resolution. Not sure why they did not include the HDMI 2.0. But over the press conference they wanted people to use DP instead of HDMI.

The overall length of the Sapphire R9 Fury is extremely long. So for those whom wanting to know how long the card is, here are some of the measurements.

Sapphire R9 Fury Length is about 35cm long and about 4.8cm thick.





The R9 Fury X length is 9.6cm long and about 3.8cm thick.

 
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royfrosty

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And lastly the thickness of the Fury X is about 3.7cm. It is still a 2 slot card. So not to worry.




The "Test" Setup

I have updated my "test" bench. Initially it was a z97 + i7-4770k. But i have moved on to Haswell E instead, and it is suppose to be in my main rig. But my custom water cooling wasn't ready and hence it is on my test bench right now.

All right. The components are:

Msi X99S SLI PLUS
i7 5820k (overclocked at 4.5ghz)
GSkills Ripjaws 3000mhz 4x4gb kit
Crucial m550 512gb SSD
2x Sapphire r9 Fury X (overclocked core at 1140mhz and 570mhz Mem clocked)

I will be loading the latest drivers from AMD 15.7 WHQL.

So without further a do. Lets start with Synthetic benchmarks.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Firestrike 1.1/Firestrike Extreme/Firestrike Ultra

Firestrike benchmarks were somewhat rather interesting. It scored very well in the graphics score section. Both the Fury and Fury X came in almost the same type of scores. With the Fury leading behind the Fury X in Firestrike Extreme and Ultra with a very little gap difference.



Unigine Heaven

Unigine Heaven seems totally not AMD friendly. It went stuttering be it on a single card or on a dual card in one of the particular scene. Scaling for 1440p went pretty well in this benchmark vs 4k resolution.



Valley Benchmark

Valley benchmarks were more interesting than the rest. It tested purely on graphics power. And as you can see the bottom graphs, it is really well scaled on 4k results. But a little different on 1440p.




Gaming Benchmarks

Thief

Thief scaled pretty well on 4k resolution. Scoring 40fps on a single card and by adding another card it went up to 74fps. The R9 Fury managed to keep above 60fps for a single card on 1440p and doesn't look too shabby at all.



Shadow of Mordor (With HD Textures)

Bam! There goes Shadow of Mordor, it scaled well again in 4k resolution just by adding another card. Awesome! This is getting interesting. Again the R9 Fury is just a single digit frame away from its bigger brother R9 Fury X.




Tomb Raider

As for Tomb raider, it scaled extremely well for both 1440p and 4k resolution. Its kinda expected as this game is pretty much very well optimized, and it performs as it should be.




Crysis 3

Crysis 3 is probably one of the hardest game to drive ever. Here is the benchmark run video.



Crysis 3 also scaled nicely with the second card added on. Nevertheless, 4k seems a little too hard to drive this game on a single card. But on Xfire it works flawlessly.

 
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royfrosty

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Far Cry 4

Finally a console game port over to PC, however this game doesn't seems to scale well with the second card being added. Despite Xfire, 1440p shows an increase of only 18fps against a single card.

Only at 4k it managed to scale well somehow. But hey look at R9 Fury. It managed to come close to its bigger brother r9 Fury X.






Hitman Absolution

Another game that is very "chor" on any high end GPU. I purposely set it to x8 MSAA. It really punishes both the R9 Fury X and Fury badly. It didn't went above 60fps to deemed as comfortable frame rate. But nevertheless it still shows the power of 2 cards that is able to scale extremely well.



NOTE: X8 MSAA is totally not advisable, it is just for testing purposes and how well it can run. I personally find it good enough at x4 MSAA and able to play above 60fps.


Power Consumption & Temperature

Both cards happen to be very close to each other in terms of power consumption. The R9 Fury managed to get about 10W difference than the r9 Fury X.



The Temperature

The R9 Fury seems a little too quiet for my liking. Despite it is being an air cooled version, the fan blades will not be moving at any temps below 50deg. But however it does not provide good cooling to the GPU. Most of the gaming loads I find myself gaming at the near 7X degrees range. Fans were spinning not more than 30% load. Which is very silent, but however the GPU is darn hot.

Once I have turned on the custom fan settings, it went way much cooler. It is even cooler than the R9 Fury X by 2 deg



The R9 Fury X continues to be a consistent in terms of load temps. Thanks to the close loop cooling, this card is suitable for Xfire without the need to worry on heating up the main GPU. As you can see from the graph above, it barely heats up the top card. It is pretty much temp friendly and having a radiator to channel the heat out to the chassis is darn awesome.

The Conclusion

Having the R9 Fury X for a couple of weeks and the Fury for 3 days or so. I realized that both cards are still great cards. They are no slouch cards after all.

However in the earlier days of the r9 Fury X, I was comparing this with the 980ti Ref in most external reviewing sites. In most cases, the Fury X only managed to be on par with the 980ti ref IF only it is slightly overclocked at 60mhz bump. Nevertheless the 980ti ref still can maintain a slightly higher boost clock, but some are already reported that the 980ti ref is a very hot card at oc.

The R9 Fury X isn't a bad card overall, it still offers what AMD users uses this card for, and also isn't a bad card in terms of performance. It performs out of the box with all kinds of games at 60fps and above. And if one noticed, a single Fury X frame rate is suitable for a Freesync monitor. It should be smooth any where from 35fps to 75fps range.

The R9 Fury on the other hand is a no slouch card either, it performs very close to the R9 Fury X just by a single frame digit away. This card is somewhat interesting and quite impressed by it. Coming in at $888 for the Sapphire r9 Fury, I don't see any reason why one will not buy it. So far this card performs really well and above the 980 ref or non ref. 980 needs to overclock to reach the level of stock R9 Fury in gaming titles. Keep that in mind that this Sapphire R9 Fury is still a ref board, just strapped on with beasty cooler.

As of now the 980 still commence a high price locally. Anywhere between $780-$890 range. The only downside that the Sapphire R9 Fury has is the higher power consumption and also just a 2 years warranty card.

Gaming it with a higher frame rate at a 60hz monitor will just deemed as inviting screen tear in most games.

Any way, I don't see why any AMD supporters would not buy the R9 Fury or Fury X. It still holds very well in games as a single card. But it goes close to 1.85x to 1.9x just by going Xfire. In most gaming benchmark it went above the 980ti Ref SLI and Titan X SLI. It is strange that this 2 cards pair up and becomes a ultimate tag team just like how Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy works well in a team but not that great alone. :s13:

No cards can ever do this kind of performance by adding the second card. Most to most for all the Xfire and SLI benchmark that I saw, it only scaled extra between 1.5x to 1.75x at max.

Last but not least, I don't think the Fury X should be priced at this range of $999. But somewhere around the $920 range will give it a good bite. However the R9 Fury is a good buy at $888 for the Sapphire TriX. It performs closely to the R9 Fury X in single digit frame, but yet priced cheaper. This is a good price one should look at instead. The Sapphire R9 Fury will then be $230 cheaper than the non Ref 980ti. This is then a clear cut value for money. Just that whether one can accommodate the large 2.5slot cooler and 350mm long is another problem that users might faced.

R9 Fury X advantages

- Very well cooled card with close loop AIO
- Very small card
- Performs all kinds of games thrown at it above 60fps
- Performs extremely well when it is in pair
- Dual Bios

Disadvantages

- Trails about 3% in terms of performance from a stock 980ti Ref card
- Trails even more by 6% in terms of performance from a OC-ed 980ti Ref card, and trails even more than 10% in terms of performance from a HIGHLY OC-ed 980ti non Ref such as the EVGA Classified
- Voltages still locked at this point of time
- Unable to OC more out of the box
- Premium pricing

I will rate it at 3/5 for the Fury X

R9 Fury advantages

- Performs really close to the R9 Fury X
- Priced $110 cheaper than R9 Fury X, and priced $230 cheaper than 980ti Non Ref
- A very consistent all rounder performance
- Dual Bios

Disadvantages

- Extremely long card at 350mm
- 2.5 slots may not be good for Xfire mode
- Voltages still locked at this point of time
- Unable to OC more out of the box

and I will rate it at 3.5/5 for the Fury


So ask yourself this question, where do this card really stands for your usage before purchasing it? Do you really need more horsepower? And if so, are you willing to fork out another $100 to $130 more for a 980ti non Ref? If so then the 980ti non ref is the way to go. But if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, and wants to go into Xfire mode, you cant go wrong with the R9 Fury X in Xfire. This will give you an overall substantial saving of $200 more.

Or if you are going into custom water cooling and wish to save even more, then the R9 Fury is a good buy from Sapphire. At $888 that is easily a $230 price gap between the Fury and 980ti non Ref that gives you further $460 price gap if you happen to Xfire the Fury.

So see how it goes for each individual needs.
 
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royfrosty

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royfrosty

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Removed and reserved for future posting.
 
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royfrosty

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OK benchmark please.... :D

Will run a few first. Hopefully i will try tonight. If possible.

Due to some personal commitments, i will do the full review by end of this weekends.
 

royfrosty

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Which shop you get from? Still got stock?

PCThemes. Can try calling. Tomorrow, Powercolor should be out liao.

Note that: Major brands wont bring in so early yet. Only AMD Vendors will start to sell first.
 

kingtiger2014

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PCThemes. Can try calling. Tomorrow, Powercolor should be out liao.

Note that: Major brands wont bring in so early yet. Only AMD Vendors will start to sell first.

OK, I confirm going to hoot but on thursday.........
 

kimsix

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Sapphire is by B&H now and no more Convergent?
I think will wait for Powercolor tomorrow as i hear B&H provides sucky RMA.
 

kingtiger2014

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Sapphire is by B&H now and no more Convergent?
I think will wait for Powercolor tomorrow as i hear B&H provides sucky RMA.

I think both B&H and Convergent also distribute Sapphire...

Wah gian...... Thursday get bonus...... Feel like hooting a pair for CF......Run 3Dmark everyday also shiok.
 
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