AMD Radeon R9 Fury X High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) Video Card Review (Page 1)

AMD Radeon R9 Fury X High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) Video Card Review

AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X features High Bandwidth Memory, an exciting next-gen DRAM tech that allowed for one of the shortest flagship video cards ever.

| Jun 24, 2015 at 9:23 am CDT
Rating: 86%Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction - Excitement Awaits

I have been a fan of all things computers, technology and games for as long as I can remember. I remember as far back as my Dad getting his tax return when I was a kid, and walking through the door with a gigantic box that said "Amiga 500" on the side and that was the start of my technology obsession with PCs.


I remember a few highlights over the years of massive technology innovations and market shifters, where for me it started with 3DFX and the original Voodoo. It heralded in a gigantic shift in the way we looked at video cards and gaming, with the company very quickly rising to the top, and falling even faster. From there, the next card that really pushed things for me was the original GeForce 256 from NVIDIA.

It provided an insane jump in performance with its new choice between SDR and DDR RAM, with the DDR option offering close to double the performance. After that, the Radeon 9700 from AMD completely changed everything. But from there, the technical innovation and jumps have just been iterations, or new architectures that have excited I'm sure not just me, but many enthusiasts around the world.

NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture was one of those massive jumps, with NVIDIA being able to consume less power on its GTX 900 series over the GTX 700 series, while offering either similar, if not improved performance - especially when it comes to the GeForce GTX 980 Ti that they unveiled earlier this month. But... it is the new High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) that has me excited more than anything in the last five or so years, and that is saying something. I have played with so much hardware over the years that nothing really has me salivating in excitement - but the change that HBM is going to deliver over the years is going to be transformative.

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AMD is on the forefront of HBM, with the company enjoying the prestige of being the first to market with a HBM-powered video card in the form of the new flagship Radeon R9 Fury X. The Fury X isn't the only card that will be powered by High Bandwidth Memory, as there will be other members in the Fury family. We have the R9 Fury and R9 Nano that will be joining the ranks, as well as a yet unnamed dual-GPU that we suspect will be called the R9 Fury X2.

HBM is a super exciting new memory standard that sees memory chips being stacked on top of one another, instead of next to each other. These chips are then placed right next to the GPU die itself on an Interposer, which saves a massive chunk of space surrounding the GPU that would normally see GDDR5 chips taking up precious space on the PCB.

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This means that there's less VRAM chips on the board, so less power required, meaning that the VRMs that power the RAM and associated bits and pieces around it don't need to be there. This move by AMD to adopt HBM means that they have the smallest flagship video card on the market, and one of the smallest video cards ever released - even with all of its power.

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But you're here to see the performance on the new Radeon R9 Fury X... with the size of it not being a big deal, right? Wrong. The engineering that AMD has put into the Fury X is nothing short of astounding. But it's not all speed and new technologies... but we'll go into that in another article. For now, let's introduce to you, the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X.

Quick Specs

AMD has one of the most technologically advanced video cards on the market, mostly thanks to the use of High Bandwidth Memory. But other than that, it's just like any other card with the same stream processors, ROPs, TMUs and all of that jazz.

The company has deployed its updated GCN architecture into the Fury X, with it being the third iteration of the Graphics Core Next architecture. The last time we saw a big change with GCN was with the Tonga GPU, and before that back in October of 2013 with the Hawaii architecture powering the Radeon R9 290X and many other cards in the 200 series.

Availability & Price

AMD has the new Radeon R9 Fury X available as of today, June 24, in most countries - with no word on how many of these will be out in the wild. Check with your retailer, but you should be able to find stock - but we warn you - be quick. As for pricing, the Radeon R9 Fury X has an MSRP of $649.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:33 pm CDT

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Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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