Going AMD, which vendor(s)?


Jan 4, 2016
These threads come up from time to time, and here's my turn. I haven't had a full time AMD card since it was ATI, my 9800 Pro, which I believe was a Sapphire model. Being in the NV camp I started with XFX, but after a warranty nightmare I switched to EVGA and haven't looked back.

Sold my GTX 750 ti (wife's PC) and my 970. Plan to replace with at least an RX 460 and 480 respectively, to allow for FreeSync. Looking to see which vendor(s) are recommended in terms of warranty support.

Preference - Ease of dealing with customer service, quick replacement and/or cross shipping, and last but not a deal breaker, vendor handles shipping both ways (or at least one way).

Also - No ASUS or XFX. They've made it on my "do not buy list" from prior mishaps. I won't elaborate here as this isn't the thread for it.

Before starting the thread, I did some basic recon, and here's what I found out based on US launch partners (Before anyone calls me lazy, I'm on a limited connection while moving, and don't expect a solid connection until Wednesday or later).

ASUS - didn't even look
Gigabyte - website won't load on this connection
MSI - 3 years, limited details on website
PowerColor - 2 years, customer pays shipping to OEM
Sapphire - 2 years, handled through store where purchased (this seems European, but looks like I'm on the USA website)
XFX - 2yr/lifetime (clearly state's customer's life, not product's life, which is interesting), however, lifetime warranty is cancelled after 3rd RMA and product gets 1 or 2 year warranty based on timing of RMA


Is there a physical store nearby? If yes then whatever they have is number one.
MSI is good about actually replacing the defective board instead of shipping the same one back to you on some crap excuse.

Gigabyte - well really I only ever had 1 Gigabyte..it was a stock 5870. Ran it for about 2 years stock then bought a Zalman cooler for it because the stock one was loud and didn't cool that well. That card still runs today in my buddies rig. So I don't know anything about their RMA because it never broke!!
I say go for the best deal. Been using PowerColor cards for years now, usually because I get a better deal. So far they have been perfect as in no issues. Also if it is a reference card then it usually doesn't matter to much who you get except for warranty stuff.
I like msi or gigabyte. I have had mbother board rma experience with MSI. It was a painless experience. After all thats the relationship that counts at the end. I vote MSI
Sapphire, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor are my recommendations in no particular order.

XFX and ASUS gets a pass from me although XFX was only slightly better with RMA (as-in sent me a defective card but at least it wasn't as bad as ASUS sending me my same defective card back 3 times in a row before giving me a new one eventually.... sigh what a pain that was)
MSI > Gigabyte > Asus

i've had great RMA history with MSI & Gigabyte, and average with Asus
Every MSI part that's come into my house has had an issue one way or another. My wife will now no longer allow MSI gear in the house. I know they're rated rather well by [H] people but my personal experience is at odds.

For no particular reason other than never having had an issue with Sapphire I'd choose them or ASUS for an AMD card (I know you said no ASUS but over dozens of ASUS gear being purchased, I had one failure and that was the heatsink popping off the northbridge chip).
Have had a several Sapphires, a couple Asus, a Gigabyte and a couple Powercolors. I've had to RMA with Asus, Sapphire and Powercolor. Asus and Sapphire RMA process was pretty standard (and I recall a long wait time on the Sapphire).

Powercolor's service and process was excellent, probably best I've had with a GPU. They also have great custom designs e.g. PCS, Devil, LCS that differentiate them from others e.g. they are the only AIB who does air-cooled dual-GPU models.
Maybe it's meant to be, but as I'm reading this Amazon Music's 80s station is playing Devil Inside. Coincidence or an endorsement for the upcoming Powercolor Devil?

1. Sapphire

2. Powercolor

Had good experiences with both. Sapphire I never had to RMA, had good quality aftermarket cards from them in the last 3 years.
My MSI 290 has induced coil whine into my system. Whether it is the fault of the MSI or the power supply is debatable and not something I can answer at this point. Regardless the system did not have this problem until I installed the MSI 290 gpu.
I know you said no XFX...

but XFX. Their support guy on Hardforum is super helpful and I've seen lots of good reviews from others.
My MSI 290 has induced coil whine into my system. Whether it is the fault of the MSI or the power supply is debatable and not something I can answer at this point. Regardless the system did not have this problem until I installed the MSI 290 gpu.
My MSI R9 290 Gaming was basically free of coil whine and the cooler did a decent job consider how much heat the GPU was producing. It also had decent VRM cooling unlike some other cards.
1: GB
2: MSI
3: Sapph

out of those three I have used GB product the most. prob 80% of all the systems ive built are GB based and in all the years ive been building/working on PCs I have literally not had to RMA a single GB product.
ive had several sapphire gpus and built with them several times, also not a single RMA.
MSI is kinda new to me other than refurbing laptops at work, usually with a bad LCD... I am currently running a msi 280x that I bought as an "open box" and have had no problems with it for the last 1 1/2 yrs.
I've had Sapphire and XFX cards, neither of them ever gave me an issue. Both where solid as hell until I got rid of them.