This is one of the most exciting times for GPU fans, as AMD has just unleashed its Radeon R9 390X into the world. The last time AMD launched a new architecture was with the Hawaii launch back in October 2013, nearly two years ago now. But the Radeon R9 390X isn't a new architecture, it's a refresh of its Hawaii architecture, with some changes under the hood - but not that much.
AMD has found itself in a weird position, as it has rebadged its old Radeon 200 series into the new Radeon 300 series. But we do have a new architecture from AMD, something that is quite revolutionary: Fiji. The Fiji-based cards found in the Fury and Fury X cards rock the next-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) which is a very exciting new technology. These 'new' Radeon R9 390X cards? Not so much.
But, our first Radeon R9 390X into the labs is from MSI, which is a company that always excels when it comes to video cards. MSI has used its Twin Frozr V technology, so the only card that I would like to see from MSI is a Lightning Edition, which I'm hoping will arrive as the Radeon R9 Fury Lightning Edition. Just those words have me excited. Onwards with the review.
The Radeon R9 390X is virtually identical to the Radeon R9 290X that it is essentially a rebranding of the old product. AMD has pushed the VRAM up to 8GB on the 390X however, as well as tweaking the GPU and RAM clocks.
On the MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8G, we have a GPU clock of 1100MHz, while the 8GB of GDDR5 RAM is clocked at 6.1GHz (1525MHz x 4) resulting in 390.4GB/sec of memory bandwidth spread across the 512-bit memory bus.
The Radeon R9 390X still features the same 2816 stream processors, 76 TMUs, 64 ROPs and 28nm process carried over from the R9 290X. The card is ready for DirectX 12, has support for AMD's FreeSync, EyeFinity and LiquidVR technologies. Note that the Radeon R9 390X, while it is a brand new card, only supports DirectX 12. NVIDIA has support for DirectX 12.1 in all of its 900 series, including the GeForce GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, and Titan X.
Availability & Price
AMD is pricing the Radeon R9 390X with 8GB of VRAM at around $399-$429 depending on the brand. You'll find some retailers pricing them higher than $429, but be sure to shop around before clicking the buy button. This means you're paying around a $100 premium for the 390X with 8GB of RAM, compared to the 290X with 4GB of RAM, which you can find for $329 or so.
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