• GPU: AMD R9 390X
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Ports: DisplayPort x1, HDMI x1, DVI x2
  • Slot Size: Double
  • Dimensions: 277 x 129 x 51 mm
  • Pros:
  • Performance
  • Cooling
  • Cons:
  • Power consumption
  • Weight
  • Benchmark Results
  • 3DMark (Fire Strike): 11,354 points
  • 3DMark (Fire Strike Extreme): 5,214 points
  • 3DMark (Fire Strike Ultra): 1,375 points

It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Graphics Card

AMD’s latest line of Fury and Fury X graphics cards may have hogged the limelight with its new HBM memory architecture, but the products themselves are currently very scarce in the market. With that in mind, AMD also announced the new R9 3xx series of GPUs, based off the previous-gen cards, but with more memory. MSI took this opportunity to slap on its own brand of coolers on the R9 390X, for those who are looking for a high-end upgrade.

As mentioned previously, the R9 390X is an improved version of the previous R9 290X graphics card. What MSI has done is to increase the Hawaii GPU’s clock speed up to 1,100MHz from the stock 1,050MHz, and added 8GBs of GDDR5 on board the card.

Doing such a thing may yield better performance numbers, but MSI has also slapped on its latest Twin Frozr V coolers on board, featuring redesigned cooling fins and a new set of Torx fans that is capable of pushing air onto the fins that much more to dissipate heat from it. Not only that, the fan’s Zero Frozr fan system works fantastically well here, with the fans not spinning at all until we unleashed it on some powerful benchmarks and games.

The card features two DVI ports, one DisplayPort, and one HDMI port for video connectivity, while one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCIE power connector are required to power up the graphics card.
A thing to note when you’re looking to install the MSI R9 390X is that thanks to the new Twin Frozr V cooler, its weight is significantly increased, which means it has a higher chance of bending and warping. We recommend securing the card properly by screwing it tightly to the case’s PCI expansion bay, while securing the card to a post of some sort in the chassis.

Performance-wise, the MSI R9 390X is certainly a very powerful card. Whilst it certainly did quite well in our 3DMark 4K tests, the card is more suited for high-end 1,440p gaming at above 60FPS. Games like Shadow of Mordor, Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3 all ran exceptionally well at this resolution, even with a lot of the graphics settings turned up to maximum.

Power-consumption-wise, the MSI R9 390X is a thirsty card, and draws over 350W of power when it’s running at full tilt. You’ll definitely need a pretty powerful power supply to get this card running at its full potential, without worry.

CHIP CONCLUDE: The MSI R9 390X is certainly a powerful card. Although that being said, it is power-hungry and is one of the heaviest cards of its size that we’ve tested so far.

(previously published in issue October 2015)