NVIDIA who? AMD roars back with Radeon R9 Fury and R7/R9 300 series graphics cards
If you've built a gaming PC lately, there is a good chance that you purchased an NVIDIA graphics card and Intel processor, and that's OK. Both of those companies make great products. Unfortunately for AMD, consumers have been ignoring its products a bit lately. This is understandable, as the company's offerings -- while solid -- have not always delivered the same value as year's past.
This year, however, AMD has been roaring back to relevance and possibly dominance. It announced the value-focused A10-7870K APU and then the awesome 6th generation A-Series notebook processors. Today, the company continues on an upward trajectory as it announces the Radeon R9 Fury, Fury X, Fury Nano and the R9 and R7 300 Series graphics cards. All are DirectX 12 capable and Windows 10-ready. If you are a hardcore gamer, these are the cards you want.
AMD shares the model names, pricing and tentative release dates as seen below. The company is smart to offer multiple models with varying price points as it enables consumers to choose the best card to fit their budget. Obviously, the performance increases with the price.
- AMD RADEON R9 FURY X $649 -- June 24
- AMD RADEON R9 FURY $549 -- June 24
- AMD RADEON R9 390X $429 -- June 18
- AMD RADEON R9 390 $329 -- June 18
- AMD RADEON R9 380 $199 -- June 18
- AMD RADEON R7 370 $149 -- June 18
- AMD RADEON R7 360 $109 -- June 18
The "Fiji" based R9 Fury X is a straight beast that delivers realistic 4K gaming. Watch the above video and be prepared to salivate!
AMD explains that Fuyry X "brings to market the highest GPU memory bandwidth ever, pioneered by a consortium led by AMD, High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) integrated on-chip delivering 60 percent more memory bandwidth over GDDR5 along with unprecedented 4096-bit memory interface. The Radeon R9 Fury X GPU delivers more than 3x the performance per watt of GDDR5 in 94 percent less PCB surface area, producing ultra-enthusiast-class performance in a mere 7.5 inch (19cm) board".
Unfortunately, that price makes it unobtainable for many. Even those that can afford it may be put-off by the liquid cooling -- some prefer air as it arguably requires less maintenance. Don't worry; an air-cooled Fury (sans-X) will be available with fans instead. A physically smaller Fury "Nano" version is planned for later in the year too, but pricing is not yet official.
Most consumers will be targeting the more affordable R7 and R9 300 cards. The new R9 cards are capable of 4K gaming like their Fury big brothers, while the R7 cards are designed for 1080p (they can do 4K video, however). I suspect the R9 380 at $199 will be very popular with consumers -- a good balance of power and cost.
The R7 cards, however, should be a good value for budget builds. AMD explains, "made for Online Gaming Supremacy -- AMD Radeon R7 300 series GPUs are the optimal choice for online gaming and eSports competitors, effortlessly delivering greater than 60 fps gaming performance at 1080p or 1440p, ultra-settings, in popular online games. Enjoy exceptional image quality using Virtual Super Resolution (VSR) for quality that rivals 1440p with a 1080p display and expand the field of view in 1080p gaming using AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology".
AMD shares specs for the cards below.
|R9 FURY X||R9 390X||R9 390||R9 380||R7 370||R7 360|
|API SUPPORT6,7,8||DirectX® 12, Mantle, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, OpenCL™ 2.0||DirectX® 12, Mantle, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, OpenCL™ 2.0||DirectX® 12, Mantle, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, OpenCL™ 2.0||DirectX® 12, Mantle, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, OpenCL™ 2.0||DirectX® 12, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, Mantle, OpenCL™ 2.0||DirectX® 12, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, Mantle, OpenCL™ 2.0|
|HIGH-BANDWIDTH MEMORY1 (HBM)||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
|PCI EXPRESS® VERSION17||3||3||3||3||3||3|
|VIRTUAL SUPER RESOLUTION (VSR)4||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|AMD FREESYNC™ TECHNOLOGY5||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|AMD LIQUIDVR™ TECHNOLOGY9||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|4K RESOLUTION SUPPORT3||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|FRAME RATE TARGET CONTROL (FRTC)11||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|HDMI (WITH 4K, STEREO 3D, DEEP COLOR & X.V.COLOR™)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|AMD POWERTUNE TECHNOLOGY13||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|AMD ZEROCORE POWER TECHNOLOGY13||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|AMD TRUEAUDIO TECHNOLOGY15||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|AMD EYEFINITY TECHNOLOGY10 (MAXIMUM DISPLAYS)||Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub||Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub||Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub||Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub||Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub||Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub|
|AMD HD3D TECHNOLOGY18||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|VIDEO CODEC ENGINE (VCE) (WITH H.264, MPEG-4 ASP, MPEG-2, VC-1 & BLU-RAY 3D)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|GPU CLOCK SPEED||Up to 1050 MHz||Up to 1050 MHz||Up to 1000 MHz||Up to 970 MHz||Up to 975 MHz||Up to 1.05 GHz|
|MEMORY BANDWIDTH||512 GB/s||384 GB/s||384 GB/s||182.4 GB/s||Up to 179.2 GB/s||Up to 112 GB/s|
|MEMORY INTERFACE||4096-bit HBM||512-bit GDDR5||512-bit GDDR5||256-bit GDDR5||256-bit GDDR5||128-bit GDDR5|
|MEMORY AMOUNT||4GB HBM||8GB GDDR5||8GB GDDR5||Up to 4GB GDDR5||2GB or 4GB GDDR5||2GB GDDR5|
|STREAM PROCESSING UNITS||4096 (64 Compute Units)19||2816||2560||1792||1024||768|
|(44 Compute Units)19||(40 Compute Units)19||(28 Compute Units)19||(16 Compute Units)19||(12 Compute Units)19|
|REQUIRED POWER SUPPLY CONNECTORS||2x 8-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin||2 x 6-pin||1 x 6-pin||1 x 6-pin|
|AMD CROSSFIRE™ SUPPORT12 (MAXIMUM NUMBER OF GPUS AND CROSSFIRE BRIDGE INTERCONNECT REQUIRED)||4, no||4, no||4, no||2, no||2, yes||2, no|
|FORM FACTOR||Full height, dual slot, liquid-cooled||Full height, dual slot||Full height, dual slot||Full height, dual slot||Full height, dual slot||Full height, dual slot|
Many of you have already made up your minds to buy one of these cards -- understandable. The next thing you must decide, however, is which manufacturer to choose. AMD lists the usual players -- ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire, XFX, PowerColor and HIS. All are respectable, but many gamers consider Sapphire to be the gold-standard.
Exciting times, gamers. Which card will you buy? Tell me in the comments.