Monday, June 15th 2015

Radeon R9 390X Taken Apart, PCB Reveals a Complete Re-brand

People with access to an XFX Radeon R9 390X graphics card, took it apart to take a peek at its PCB. What they uncovered comes as no surprise - the underlying PCB is identical in design to AMD reference PCB for the Radeon R9 290X, down the location of every tiny SMT component. At best, the brands on the chokes and bigger conductive polymer caps differ; and 512 Gbit GDDR5 chips under the heatspreader, making up 8 GB of the standard memory amount. The GPU itself, codenamed "Grenada," looks identical to the "Hawaii" silicon which drove the R9 290 series. It's highly unlikely that it features updated Graphics CoreNext 1.2 stream processors, as older rumors suggested.
Source: HardForum 1, 2
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89 Comments on Radeon R9 390X Taken Apart, PCB Reveals a Complete Re-brand

#2
manofthem
WCG-TPU Team All-Star!
I think this video sums up how I feel about this. AMD, this one is for you :(

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#3
HumanSmoke
Xzibit said:
If you were fast enough to look at the Sapphire site before they took it down. One of the new features they were touting is "Dynamic Frame Rate Control" so it might be in the new driver or tied to the new firmware/bios.
Good work AMD. Only 6+ months after they started work on the software. très impressive.
btarunr said:
It's highly unlikely that it features updated Graphics CoreNext 1.2 stream processors, as older rumors suggested.
I'm figuring if they couldn't be bothered at least updating HDMI from 1.4 spec, the chances of reworked silicon must be approaching zero, although at least one forum poster is hoping you're wrong - unless footwear is the national dish of Slovenia
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#4
NC37
AMD made folks wait all this time...sigh...sorry but AMD, this is for you... :nutkick:

That Fury better be damn competitive in prices.
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#5
GC_PaNzerFIN
Couple years have passed, same cards, new price. And you wonder why you are leaking market share to competitor? :confused:
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#6
Chaitanya
Looks like Amd is turned into serious meh and switching to Gtx970 was a correct decision.
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#8
NC37
Chaitanya said:
Looks like Amd is turned into serious meh and switching to Gtx970 was a correct decision.
And you'll likely be trading that in very quickly if Pascal performs as it is hinted to be. Both 900 and 300 series are just so stopgap. The only plus side of all this is, AMD at least has the decency to give more VRAM. nVidia cuts everyone to 4GB or forces you to pay ultra premium for more.
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#9
wiak
well their new lineup looks like this
R9 Fury X (2015 Fiji)
R9 Fury (2015 Fiji)
R9 390 8GB (2013 Hawaii)
R9 390 8GB (2013 Hawaii)
R9 380 4GB (2014 Tonga)
R7 370 2GB (2012 Pitcairn)
R5 360 2GB (2013 Bonaire)

next year it might look like
R9 Fury Maxx (2016)
R9 Fury Maxx (2016)
R9 Fury X (2015 Fiji)
R9 Fury (2015 Fiji)
R9 390X 8GB (2013 Hawaii)
R9 390 8GB (2013 Hawaii)
R9 380 4GB (2014 Tonga)
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#11
the54thvoid
Interesting to see pricing. If they've done nothing but rebadge the 8gb 290X up an entire 'model range' this is pretty disingenuous.
All to give their new card a stand out prestige name? I can understand the business model but at least now perhaps some specific people won't be so quick to champion AMD as a transparent and honest company.
They're not breaking the law but they're certainly marketing old tech as a new.
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#12
RejZoR
For fucks sake, who gives a shit if it *looks* like R9-290X and that it's *unlikely to use GCN 1.2*

People supposedly already bought cards in BestBuy and they were too fucking dumb to test it against R9-290X benchmarks. Dafaq!?
Some guy even said it was barely catching R9-290X. Like seriously dude, if it's a rebrand, it would be IDENTICAL, not "barely" catching it.

So saying the silicon looks the same as Hawaii based on looking at the GPU from half a meter distance feels like a massive pile of bull manure. People don't realize that only 0.5mm larger chip on each axis can result in thousands and thousands of new transistors.

And also the DX12 factor. With R9-200 series, we were still within the DX11 era. They could pull off rebrand without any regrets. This time around, making DX12 exclusive to Fury series, that would have to be the dumbest business decision in history of Radeon graphic cards. That's why I find it hard to believe. Unless Fury costs $300 and we'll all buy that one without even thinking abour anything else. Which is again, a so unlikely scenario it makes it basically non existent.
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#13
the54thvoid
RejZoR said:
For fucks sake, who gives a shit if it *looks* like R9-290X and that it's *unlikely to use GCN 1.2*

People supposedly already bought cards in BestBuy and they were too fucking dumb to test it against R9-290X benchmarks. Dafaq!?
Some guy even said it was barely catching R9-290X. Like seriously dude, if it's a rebrand, it would be IDENTICAL, not "barely" catching it.

So saying the silicon looks the same as Hawaii based on looking at the GPU from half a meter distance feels like a massive pile of bull manure. People don't realize that only 0.5mm larger chip on each axis can result in thousands and thousands of new transistors.

And also the DX12 factor. With R9-200 series, we were still within the DX11 era. They could pull off rebrand without any regrets. This time around, making DX12 exclusive to Fury series, that would have to be the dumbest business decision in history of Radeon graphic cards. That's why I find it hard to believe. Unless Fury costs $300 and we'll all buy that one without even thinking abour anything else. Which is again, a so unlikely scenario it makes it basically non existent.
I'm still going on the vast majority of tech sites saying 'rebrand'. And 290X is capable of running DX12, is it not? Or is that your point?
Either way, it surely looks more and more that other than firmware and software, its a 290X rebrand. Again, going by the vast majority of tech sites.

Also, firmware is enough to make a card faster, its why folk flash em.
Posted on Reply
#14
HumanSmoke
RejZoR said:
People supposedly already bought cards in BestBuy and they were too fucking dumb to test it against R9-290X benchmarks. Dafaq!?
Some guy even said it was barely catching R9-290X. Like seriously dude, if it's a rebrand, it would be IDENTICAL, not "barely" catching it.
The guy at {H] that bought the card, benched it with a 4770K based system - the 3DM FireStrike score was near identical to the 290X at the approximately the same clocks using the same CPU. Now considering this is not only linked to in bta's article, but also in the post I put up yesterday, who deserves to be called dumb? If you think benchmark runs even using the same system are IDENTICAL from run to run, I'd suggest you actually try running 3DM sometime
RejZoR said:
So saying the silicon looks the same as Hawaii based on looking at the GPU from half a meter distance feels like a massive pile of bull manure. People don't realize that only 0.5mm larger chip on each axis can result in thousands and thousands of new transistors.
Then again your argument sinks from sight when people have managed to flash a 290X with a 390X BIOS and have the card POST. That generally doesn't occur when you flash one GPU with a BIOS from another.
RejZoR said:
And also the DX12 factor. With R9-200 series, we were still within the DX11 era. They could pull off rebrand without any regrets. This time around, making DX12 exclusive to Fury series
Rubbish. AMD have listed their cards as DirectX12 compatible since the prelim spec was announced.



RejZoR said:
that would have to be the dumbest business decision in history of Radeon graphic cards. That's why I find it hard to believe.
Well, if you'd paid attention you would have realized that AMD conferred DX12 status to every 200 series R7 and R9 some time ago, along with the OEM 300 series rebrands of the 200 series.
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#15
RejZoR
New BIOS doesn't make cards faster. It just makes clocks faster...

As for DX12, even Radeon HD4870 can run on DX12 API. Just without ANY DX12 features...

EDIT:
Ok, if AMD has really rebranded R9-290X to R9-390 directly, then they officially fucked it up. Like batshit insane fuckup...
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#16
Breit
Whats the problem with rebrands? As long as they are placed in the right spot in the product stack meaning placing it at least one place below the position it was previously in. Say last year your money bought you a R9-280X, this year you get a 290X (now 390X)... You can't argue that it isn't more performance for the money. :)

I mean its industry standard. Even nVidia does it all the time.

And recycling PCB designs is also a common habit. GTX 670, GTX 760, GTX 970 used all nearly identical PCBs...
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#17
ironcerealbox
No surprises here as it was expected for a month (maybe a little longer). AMD's best chance, now, is the Fury series of cards that will be released in less than 48 hours (my time) and the Arctic Islands Rx-400 series with Samsung 14nm FinFET and SK Hynix HBM2 (probably 2016). The former MIGHT help but it feels like it should have been something they released AT LEAST 3 months ago just to throw a monkey wrench into the market after the Titan X excitement (or earlier, assuming that they could have). There is this weird feeling I get that the cards were ready for some time now but they chose not to release them at a more opportune time (3 months ago). Maybe it was due to software not being up to par with the hardware?

If they fail to deliver on THOSE series of GPUs (Fury and Arctic Islands), then it is, most likely, over. I would like to see AMD more competitive than they are now to keep Nvidia in check (price-wise). I shouldn't speak for everybody but I get the feeling that more than half of us are waiting for next year with 16nm/14nm FinFET and better stacked memory (HBM).

For now, my Nvidia cards are doing fine as long as I don't use the newer drivers they released. It's bad enough with Nvidia pulling some pretty shady stunts lately. I will probably switch to AMD in 2016 ASSUMING both companies are on equal terms by then...and I can say that only because Samsung WILL deliver 14nm FinFET to AMD and SK Hynix WILL deliver HBM2 (to both Nvidia and AMD).
Posted on Reply
#18
Chaitanya
NC37 said:
And you'll likely be trading that in very quickly if Pascal performs as it is hinted to be. Both 900 and 300 series are just so stopgap. The only plus side of all this is, AMD at least has the decency to give more VRAM. nVidia cuts everyone to 4GB or forces you to pay ultra premium for more.
I upgraded the PC running GTX 670, my other PC is running a R9-290 . And both my monitors that I use are 1920*1200 resolution and I don't give rodent's rear about the "crippled" RAM allocation of 970. As for that monitor the 970 is more than enough for any detail levels for most games that I play. If the Pascal works as promised, then I might think of replacing that R9-290 with something equivalent.
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#19
RejZoR
It's nothing wrong if you rebrand mid and low end. Those ppl don't care about tech itself anyway, they just want affordable cards. But when you start rebranding high end and god forbid enthusiast level, then you know they are selling mist...
Posted on Reply
#20
mirakul
RejZoR said:
New BIOS doesn't make cards faster. It just makes clocks faster...

As for DX12, even Radeon HD4870 can run on DX12 API. Just without ANY DX12 features...

EDIT:
Ok, if AMD has really rebranded R9-290X to R9-390 directly, then they officially fucked it up. Like batshit insane fuckup...
R9 290/290x support more DX12 features than GTX 980 FYI.
Anyway, it has been a vicious cycle for the red camp. Lack of money > lack of R&D > lack of GPU > lack of money again and so on :(
Hopefully the rumor of a move from Samsung is true. That would mean I have to dye my cape blue, but hey...
Posted on Reply
#21
Breit
RejZoR said:
It's nothing wrong if you rebrand mid and low end. Those ppl don't care about tech itself anyway, they just want affordable cards. But when you start rebranding high end and god forbid enthusiast level, then you know they are selling mist...
Right.
But as we all know, Fury will be the new high end. And that's not a rebrand. What we don't know is pricing yet. So why does everyone rant about this rebrand thing without knowing AMDs plans on pricing? Only the pricing decides if it is crap or not.
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#22
RejZoR
Are you sure on that one? I know AMD supports more DX12 features with Tahiti than both, Kepler and Maxwell 1, but I'm not so sure about Maxwell 2...
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#23
RejZoR
Breit said:
Right.
But as we all know, Fury will be the new high end. And that's not a rebrand. What we don't know is pricing yet. So why does everyone rant about this rebrand thing without knowing AMDs plans on pricing? Only the pricing decides if it is crap or not.
Fury is not high end, Fury is enthusiast level. Unless vanilla Fury gets sold for around 350€ which I find very unlikely somehow...
Posted on Reply
#24
Ebo
That the same bull comming from all over the place on the mighty interweb.

Nobody knows yet what minor tweaks have been made on the card R9 390/390X.

AMD has allways said that they would do a respin of the R9 290x/290

As for Fury, everybody can dream of a Ferrari with a brand new engine, but only a few will actually pay what it costs.
Im one of those guys, if the card delivers on preformance, thats all I think about. I will still buy a new card next year anyway when HBM2 is in line.
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#25
ensabrenoir
this issue here to me is that......wait didnt Amd...sorta do did this before? Correct me if i'm wrong but wasn't my 6870 more of a upgrade from a 5850 than a 5870 ........performance wise at least..... At least with the green team the numbers went down. The 680 became the 770 and the new chip took the top spot. Rebrands aint bad when clearly defined, priced accordingly and if they managed to squeeze a noticeable increase in performance out of it.
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