• GPU: AMD Radeon R9 390X
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR5
  • Ports: 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort
  • Slot Size: Double
  • Dimensions: 308 x 127 x 42.3mm
  • Pros:
  • Great card for 1080p gaming
  • Cons:
  • Cooling
  • Benchmark Results
  • Firestrike: 11,198 points
  • Firestrike Extreme: 5,604 points
  • Firestrike Ultra: 2,987 points

Sailing From Hawaii To Grenada

AMD recently unveiled a brand new line of GPUs in Malaysia, one of which being the AMD R9 390X. This sample, despite bearing the SAPPHIRE Tri-X cooler is as close as we can get to the reference board, which is how the card will be reviewed as.

To start off, the R9 390X is a graphics card based on the Grenada XT graphics processor, which is a quasi-rebrand of the Hawaii XT chip from AMD’s R9 290X but with higher VRAM and clock speed. The Grenada XT has a process size of 28nm and is a chip with a large die area of 438mm2 and 6.2 million transistors and operates at a clock speed of 1050MHz, and a memory clock of 1500MHz (6000MHz effective). Built into the R9 390X is 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM with a 512-bit bus width and a shader count of 2,816. The R390X uses a PCI-e 3.0 x16 and its rated TDP is 275W.

The AMD R9 390X sports a variety of video output, which also allows users to utilise AMD's Eyefinity Display technology

The AMD R9 390X sports a variety of video output, which also allows users to utilise AMD’s Eyefinity Display technology

The R9 390X supports DirectX 12, Mantle, and Vulkan so don’t worry as the 390X can fully utilize the API’s when needed. Also it has 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, and 1x DisplayPort, but on the SAPPHIRE R9 390X Tri-X card which we received as a reference it has 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, and 1x DVI. We preferred the reference 390X as we still widely use DVI and thought that the reference card had the optimal amount of each. And to power the 390X you would require a single 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-e power connector.

When running Unigine we were able to get a score of 1889 from the 390X, with an average FPS of 75.0 and makes gaming on the 390X at 1080p a breeze, when even Witcher 3 on Ultra plays smoothly. Whilst the Tri-X which was sent to us has a triple-fan cooling system, the reference 390X has a vacuum chamber cooling system. With both performing quite well under stress the Tri-X still comes out on top in terms of temperature, albeit with a weaker cooling solution the reference 390X still does a decent job keeping the card cool. But do expect many different adaptations of the 390X with varying cooling configurations from the variety of companies available in the industry.

With the 390X, AMD will continue to be a worthy contender for NVIDIA. Though losing out to NVIDIA in certain aspects, AMD has done well to make sure they are not left behind and the 390X is a bold statement saying “we’re still in the race”.

CHIP CONCLUDE: The R9 390X might not be their flagship like the R9 290X. But with its increased performance, those who are planning to upgrade from a lower tier card can expect to be satisfied with the R9 390X.

(previously published in issue September 2015)

AMD Radeon R9 390X