After the announcement of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and it's smaller companions at the E3 2015 lately we reached the day of truth yesterday as the press is now allowed to publish benchmarks and tests about the new AMD Radeon graphic adapters.
The AMD Radeon R9 line-up
The new line-up consists of:
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury X (Fiji XT*)
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury (Fiji Pro*)
- AMD Radeon R9 Nano (Fiji ?*)
- AMD Radeon R9 390X (Hawaii XT)
- AMD Radeon R9 390 (Hawaii Pro)
- AMD Radeon R9 380 (Tonga Pro)
Except for the available R9 Fury X and the announced but not yet released R9 Fury and R9 Nano all of the other cards are backed by the already known chips from the former Radeon R9 200 series.
So all that got changed at the 390 and 390X are doubled video memory and a slightly improved memory controller increasing the bandwidth to 384 instead of 320 GByte/s.
AMD fans who were expecting a complete new line-up will be even more disappointed when they have a closer look at the Fiji GPUs.
The not so all-new Fiji
At first glance the Fiji-powered Fury X, Fury and Nano are the only all-new graphic adapters in the line-up.
A closer look reveals that in fact even the all-new Fiji GPU is not so all-new like one might have thought.
Although this might now sound even more disappointing and definitely has it's disadvantages it's not as bad as it looks like in the first place.
- Fiji XT
- GCN 1.2
- 28 nm
- 8,9 Mrd.
- Die Size
- 596 mm²
- Bus Interface
- PCI Express 3.0 x16
- Stream Processing Units
- Compute Units
- Texture Units
- Texture Fill-Rate
- Pixel Fill-Rate
- Raster Operations Pipeline
- Core Clock Rate
- 1050 MHz
- Compute Performance (SP)
- 8,6 TFlops
- Compute Performance (DP)
- 0,538 TFlops
- Video Memory
- 4 GByte HBM
- Memory Clock (R/W)
- 500 MHz
- Memory Interface
- 4096 Bit
- Memory Bandwidth
- 512 GByte/s
- Power Supply
- 2 × 8-pin
- 3 × DP 1.2, 1x HDMI 1.4a
- Multi Monitor Support
- 4 (with MST-Hub: 6)
- 275 Watt
- API Support
- DirectX 12.0, OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.5, Mantle, Vulkan
The Fiji's full specifications nevertheless it's GCN 1.2 base awaken the hope that AMD finally released a competitive GPU to maybe beat the Fiji's direct competitor - the nVidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Both are priced at about 700,- € in Europe and they should be on par on performance as well.
In fact the only just released benchmarks reveal that the Radeon R9 Fury X is even able to outrun the much more expensive 1000+ Euro nVidia Titan X graphic cards in some 4k benchmarks.
Titans conqueror with weaknesses
While the new Radeon R9 Fury X is able to beat nVidias Titan X at very high resolutions and therefore proves to really be the announced 4k-graphics adapter it demonstrates unexpected shortcomings at some 1080p benchmarks where it is beaten even by the nVidia GeForce GTX 980 which currently is already available at about 550,- €.
Additionally the Fury X is beaten by it's nVidia competitors in some other point: display connectors. Despite aiming specifically at 4k users AMD has included only an HDMI 1.4a compatible connector. Connecting a 4k television or monitor would leave it to 30Hz instead of 60Hz like HDMI 2.0 would have offered.
Further more AMD decided to go without HDCP 2.2 as well which might become mandatory in the future for 4k media like video streams and 4k-Blu-Rays.
For the gamers an existent but approximately negligible missing feature is DirectX 12.1 support like nVidia is offering with it's GeForce GTX 980 TIs.
Back to the bright side
Although the Fury X is beaten in some points we should stop talking about the few drawbacks and come back to the bright side of features.
The switch to HBM kills to birds with one stone. First of all the bandwidth limitations of GDDR5 are left behind. Secondly the outstanding memory bandwidth can be achieved by a very low clock of only 500 MHz which reduces heat production a lot. Aside from that HBM is not only efficient in regards to heat production but as well as at needed space so that the Fury X has a length of only 19 cm.
Regardless of being more energy efficient the Fury X is delivered with a water cooling system exclusively. This leads to a very low GPU temperature of only about 65°C even on heavy duty as well as a very quiet noise at between 1 and 1.9 Sone. At idle noise goes down to between 0.6 and 1.5 Sone. The measured values are dependent on the source. Independent from them is the finding that these values are good compared to what AMD Radeon cards commonly are known for.
Although the R9 Fury X is able to beat the high-end Titan X from nVidia at 4k, the new graphics unit is not able to be convincing across the board.
You should review the exact benchmark results all by yourself at the different tech channels, some of which I linked at the end of the article, to gain a complete overview on what you can expect from the R9 Fury X and what not.
Especially with HBM AMD is the very first vendor to replace the limited GDDR5 memory which reached it's technical end for improvements. I will not dig deaper here, but if you want to know more, you can read more about HBM in the linked articles.
I guess that the most common display resolution for the average gamer will still be at about 1080p / Full HD. Only few will have the hardware available to benefit from 4k gaming. That said everyone has to determine for her- or himself whether 700,- € are worth the additional power the R9 Fury X is able to deliver.
For the average gamer with Full HD displays the benefit renders to be small to non-existent. Although the R9 Fury X with HBM is promising, up-to-date and a secure investment into the future it is still expensive as well.
So for that imagines average gamer on a Full HD hardware there might be more applicable choices from both hardware vendors.
Maybe it is a good idea to wait a little longer and see where the R9 Fury and R9 Nano will settle as soon as they are released and we are able to have a look at their performance and prices.
Additionally prices for the just released rebranded R9 300 series and the R9 Fury X will fall a little to a more attractive level in the upcoming weeks and months. For the moment the rebranded R9 300 series are not able to justify their much higher prices in comparison to it's direct predecessors with almost the same specifications.
As I am in search for a replacement of my ageing nVidia GeForce GTX 560TI in the next few months AMD has released the new line-up just in time for me to offer real alternatives to nVidia's GeForce graphic cards.
But only time will tell which option will be the most applicable one.
- Radeon R9 Fury X Test - Mit Wasserkühlung und HBM gegen Nvidia / gamestar.de (DE)
- Radeon R9 Fury X im Test: AMDs Wasserzwerg schlägt Nvidias Titan in 4K / golem.de (DE)
- 4K-Grafikkarte AMD Radeon R9 Fury X: Trotz HBM kein großer Wurf / heise.de (DE)
- Behold the beast: Full AMD Radeon R9 Fury X tech specs and design details revealed / pcworld.com (EN)
- List of AMD graphics processing units / wikipedia.org (EN)