MSI R9 390X GAMING 8G Video Card Review @ [H]

bildad

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Was that a reference 980 that was used? Didn't mention what it was. The 290 was mentioned to be reference clocks. If so, why compare a custom PCB with an OC vs a reference card?
 

TheOneKnownAsMe

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I dunno about you guys, but I don't consider a 5% (at most) improvement over a GTX 980 almost a YEAR after the 980 launched much of an accomplishment. It's a great card, sure, but to me it's rather lackluster.
 

Araxie

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Was that a reference 980 that was used? Didn't mention what it was. The 290 was mentioned to be reference clocks. If so, why compare a custom PCB with an OC vs a reference card?

unless they specify, normally when they use the term "nvidia geforce GTX XXX" they refer to reference models..

cards used was Reference GTX 980, XFX R9 290X and MSI R9 390X Gaming..
 

jamesgalb

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I dunno about you guys, but I don't consider a 5% (at most) improvement over a GTX 980 almost a YEAR after the 980 launched much of an accomplishment. It's a great card, sure, but to me it's rather lackluster.

This is a price-point and performance refresh of old tech. old AMD tech matching old NVidia tech with a better price.

You want new tech? AMD has that too. Fury line.
 

TheOneKnownAsMe

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This is a price-point and performance refresh of old tech. old AMD tech matching old NVidia tech with a better price.

You want new tech? AMD has that too. Fury line.

I understand that. I just think it's disappointing that their "answer" to the GTX 980/970 are nothing more than rebrands, offer barely any performance improvement and is just barely coming out, a year after 980/970. Trust me, I've been on AMD for 7 years now. I'm no Nvidia fanboy, it's just really unfortunate.
 

Brent_Justice

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Was that a reference 980 that was used? Didn't mention what it was. The 290 was mentioned to be reference clocks. If so, why compare a custom PCB with an OC vs a reference card?

Yes, GTX 980 was reference.

Have to start somewhere, always need a baseline. If we picked any factory OC GTX 980 someone would complain about the clock speeds, because there are so many different clock speeds out there, how do you know which one to exactly pick to compare to? So, standard reference clocks give you a starting place and foundation to compare performance.

You will note we did a clock versus clock at the same clock speeds comparison page in this evaluation.

Look forward to overclock testing to see how 390X compares to overclocked GTX 980.
 

Meeho

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Also, to answer the OPs question, time was a factor, meaning I did not have a lot of it to do extra testing. It was close enough getting the clock v. clock testing done, and I thought that would be more important.

But wouldn't you have saved time by just retesting the 390X with lower clocks? The way you've done it meant you had to retest both cards again, thus wasting time :)
 

Brent_Justice

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But wouldn't you have saved time by just retesting the 390X with lower clocks? The way you've done it meant you had to retest both cards again, thus wasting time :)

I'm not sure what you are saying, I did only re-test the 390X with lower clocks.
 

Meeho

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I'm not sure what you are saying, I did only re-test the 390X with lower clocks.

Ah, I was going by Witcher3 apples-to-apples section setings. You've used the best playable section. Since it was the former that peaked your interest, I was hoping you would use that to test in clock-to-clock. (it would take the same, but more insight gained)


Maybe check it out in OC vs OC review, or whichever you're planning next, to see if it is driver optimization or really some tessellation architecture changes.
 

Geforcepat

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I see [H] must be feeling good this e3 week to give out a silver award to this overclocked(slightly) two year old card.:eek::confused:
 

Creig

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I see [H] must be feeling good this e3 week to give out a silver award to this overclocked(slightly) two year old card.:eek::confused:

What does it matter how old it is if it has the performance, price and features to make it competitive? The 390X is just as fast as a 980, has twice the VRAM of a 980 and yet is still approximately $100 cheaper than a 980. It's based on a mature platform so the drivers are good and it has excellent aftermarket coolers available.

Trust me, the pixels on your monitor don't really care if your card is a brand new design or a refresh. All they care about is that you have enough power to push them at a decent frame rate. Your wallet might care about having an extra $100 tucked into it, though.
 

DarkStryke

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I see [H] must be feeling good this e3 week to give out a silver award to this overclocked(slightly) two year old card.:eek::confused:

To be fair to AMD, age of the architecture can factor positively to the performance numbers as process improvements take place and better quality wafers are produced. Better silicon is usually the result of a mature design and process, but how much better is really what's being called into question.

It's based on a mature platform so the drivers are good ..

As an ATI/AMD user for the past decade before my last upgrade, platform maturity was never a factor in driver stability. Ask any 6970 owner, it got substantially worse 6 months post release.
 
D

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I see [H] must be feeling good this e3 week to give out a silver award to this overclocked(slightly) two year old card.:eek::confused:

It was said earlier that the 390X didn't get the Silver award, it was MSI for what they did with their card. There is a difference there.
 

Creig

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As an ATI/AMD user for the past decade before my last upgrade, platform maturity was never a factor in driver stability. Ask any 6970 owner, it got substantially worse 6 months post release.
Except that hasn't been the case for Hawaii. Hawaii has simply gotten better since release. And with the 390/390X being based on Hawaii, 290/290X owners can most likely look forward to continued good support of their cards for quite some time to come. The same can't be said for Kepler.
 

spectra260

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is it possible to pick a r9 380/390x up today are they in stores at places like frys electronics today?

update well I guess not I just went to my local frys and they did not have it in yet, though he said they got truck shipment in and to come back later to see if it got unloaded so we will see.
 
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mwnn

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It was said earlier that the 390X didn't get the Silver award, it was MSI for what they did with their card. There is a difference there.

Just as well really - a silver would be generous to say the least.

The 300 line is a bit of a dud launch/non-starter. They've done themselves no favors by talking about Fury early.

Must have a ton of old stock to clear out - I can't say I blame them for updating the 2xx line.

Can they afford to heavily discount these? Would it matter if nVidia similarly discount and offer free games?


The Fury Nano sounds like great concept. Small dimensions, bang-for-buck i.e. speed vs wattage vs price. Perfect for a stylish case. Especially if it beats/matches a 290x/390x.

The 390x seems a bit muddled. What's the point of sticking 8GB on there - with performance unaffected - only to boost the wattage and price?

I'll take a R9 380 (R9 285) with similar/better performance to a GTX 960 at a lower price but if I'm wanting high end - I'm going for the best (from either side)
 

FrgMstr

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The 390x seems a bit muddled. What's the point of sticking 8GB on there - with performance unaffected - only to boost the wattage and price?

As we typed out specifically multiple times in the review there is no advantage in a single GPU setup. We will see how things work out in CrossFire.
 

AVogel

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Originally thought the 390X would be the sweet spot but the GF respin didn't seem to materialize. As is, the non-X 390 ends up being the best buy of the rebrands.
 

doz

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I picked up a 290x Lightning for $300 for my son on sale awhile back. What a steal that was......
 

c3k

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Okay, we need a 390X crossfire setup, stat!

And in the non-icu ward, roll a 380 in right away.

;)

Looking forward to xfire and 380 numbers.

Thanks.
 

Cobalt35

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Thanks for the review.

I do have to laugh at AMD's claims of the 390 being faster than the 980. AMD completely full of lies and bullshit over the past few months.
 

Cobalt35

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i think the big one he's referencing is the GTA V benchmarking.. the 980 had to run very high grass quality but could run high-def shadows at nearly the same frame rate and some how the 980 "is in a league of it's own".. personally to me neither option really seems all that important in GTA V so for me i consider it a wash. but i'm not the one reviewing it. thats the only notable difference i saw in the review.

Simple. The Advanced Options kill the framerate and yet the 980 could have them all on. The 390 couldn't.
 

funkydmunky

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Thanks for the review.

I do have to laugh at AMD's claims of the 390 being faster than the 980. AMD completely full of lies and bullshit over the past few months.

Any links of AMD's lies and bullshit? Please back your statement.
 

funkydmunky

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I don't know why but AMD is running 2 lines of graphics cards here.......

We all know that 390/380/370 are just rebrands..... All the new cores goes to Fury/Nano. Why AMD wants to do that, no idea.

For yourself and all the others who are also equally mystified, it is because HBM is very expensive and in limited supplies at this time. So putting it on high volume low margin parts would make no sense, especially considering all of the R&D cost that would be wasted on 28nm.
 

maverick786us

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Are there any plans to maybe have a somewhat extensive look at Mantle performance across GPU generations (since we will have severla GCN iterations now) and game generations (with multiple Mantle game generations)?

I'm wondering what the pontential implication of moving to low level APIs are in terms of real world support. Also how much the importance of DirectX 11 fallback capabilities will be despite DX12 support.



HBM is only the in their newest GPU, Fiji.

If they simple wanted to rebrand, they could have launched these Radeon R9 380
Radeon R9 390, Radeon R9 390X last year and then released Radeon R9 Nano
Radeon R9 Fury, Radeon R9 Fury X this year
 

funkydmunky

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If they simple wanted to rebrand, they could have launched these Radeon R9 380
Radeon R9 390, Radeon R9 390X last year and then released Radeon R9 Nano
Radeon R9 Fury, Radeon R9 Fury X this year

One post you are clueless,
"What is AMD doing? What about the implemenration of HBM that AMD promised? "
, now you want to plan and dictate when AMD release products that you admittedly know nothing about?
Child please :rolleyes:
 

Relayer

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Did YOU read the same review I did? [H] used 5 games in their 390X review: Witcher 3, GTA 5, Dying Light, Far Cry 4, and Battlefield 4. This is the comparison of game settings between the 390X and 980 from what I read:

Witcher 3 - same settings for both cards
GTA 5 - 390X had higher grass setting, 980 had higher shadow setting, and enabled Advanced settings
Dying Light - same settings for both cards
Far Cry 4 - 390X used higher settings(better AO and fur)
Battlefield 4 - same settings for both cards

So please explain to me with specifics how the 390X had to turn DOWN settings in "most" games, when 3 of the 5 used identical settings, and in 1 of the 5 the 390X was the one with higher settings.

Not a bad showing considering 3 of the 5 games feature nVidia Gameworks.
 

maverick786us

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One post you are clueless,
"What is AMD doing? What about the implemenration of HBM that AMD promised? "
, now you want to plan and dictate when AMD release products that you admittedly know nothing about?
Child please :rolleyes:

My point is, 390X is not an architectural change, its simply a rebrand of 290X. Now AMD released these cards after a gap of almost 2 years. A simple rebrand, they could have launched when nVidia came up with GTX980.

When AMD delayed its next card, we all thought that there will be some major architectural change, that will shear the back of nVidia, but what came out was a rebrand
 

Creig

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My point is, 390X is not an architectural change, its simply a rebrand of 290X. Now AMD released these cards after a gap of almost 2 years. A simple rebrand, they could have launched when nVidia came up with GTX980.

When AMD delayed its next card, we all thought that there will be some major architectural change, that will shear the back of nVidia, but what came out was a rebrand
Some websites are showing performance improvements that can't simply be attributed to clock speed increases. In addition, a "rebrand" is simply throwing a new sticker on the card without making any changes. The 390/390X not only have higher clock speeds, but more VRAM. Therefore the 390/390X are refreshes, not rebrands.

From AnandTech:

"AMD had told us that there are a number of small changes from the 290 series to the 390 series that should improve performance by several percent on a clock-for-clock, apples-to-apples basis. That means along with the 20% memory clockspeed increase and 5% GPU clockspeed increase, we should see further performance improvements from these lower-level changes, which is also why we can’t just overclock a 290X and call it a 390X."
 
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Sunin

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For the love of God can you add in a true apples to apples for the games? Or gta v should not only show best playable because it is impossible to know how each setting is impacting performance. A baseline of apples to apples and then do a best playable, please!!!
 

Tuxon86

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The review mentions that even though the 390x has twice the VRAM, it simply doesn't have the horsepower to push settings to the point where you would even break the 4GB envelope, let alone 8GB.

In games... But I see a great many 3D artist on a budget getting this card for the 8gig vram which will be quite handy in rendering big and complex scene.
 

PiSquared

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Disappointed that this is yet another Rebrandon (tm). However AMD did set a good price so I do agree with the silver award for value. Thanks for the review, Brent and Kyle.

What baffles me is the number of architectures flying around. I hope one of the first things Dr. Su does is get these under control. There's no good reason for Hawaii, Pitcairn, Tonga, and Fiji to exist side by side. Users who don't know what they're getting (which is most of them, sadly) will end up with much older tech. So that I'm not accused of fanboy-ism, I do know that NVIDIA did this too and I didn't like it then either.

If I'm missing a good reason for doing this, someone please tell me. From my end it looks like AMD has had their way with this chicken since 2012.
 

fanboy

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It's not what we wanted or rumored for 390X but.. You have to take your hat off to AMD as Hawaii was never built to take on Maxwell but yet here we are seeing it battle the 980GTX and i say it's pulled up even with it .. but it's just like the foul everyone is saying about Fury as it's one of Nvidia's best tricks to take your time to make sure the factory clocks are fast enough..

Now either AMD's architecture has a much longer life span or Nvidia's architecture is maxed out from the very day of release.. as it's one of the two..
 

MangoSeed

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It's not what we wanted or rumored for 390X but.. You have to take your hat off to AMD as Hawaii was never built to take on Maxwell but yet here we are seeing it battle the 980GTX and i say it's pulled up even with it .. but it's just like the foul everyone is saying about Fury as it's one of Nvidia's best tricks to take your time to make sure the factory clocks are fast enough..

Now either AMD's architecture has a much longer life span or Nvidia's architecture is maxed out from the very day of release.. as it's one of the two..

When comparing architectures you might want to compare power needed to reach a certain performance level. Sucking down 260w to match the 980's 170w isn't an architectural win.

http://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/msi-radeon-r9-390x-gaming-8g-oc-review,8.html
 

lord_emperor

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What baffles me is the number of architectures flying around. I hope one of the first things Dr. Su does is get these under control. There's no good reason for Hawaii, Pitcairn, Tonga, and Fiji to exist side by side. Users who don't know what they're getting (which is most of them, sadly) will end up with much older tech.

I agree with this. I was actually debating an R9 285 vs R9 290 before Xmas due to the improved power efficiency and new technologies. A sale bringing the 290 down to $259 made that decision easy.

Still, I wish the 300 series were all Tonga variants... really surprised AMD couldn't scale the 285 up/down to meet these price-points.
 
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