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Sapphire R9 390 Nitro 8 GB

W1zzard

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Sapphire's R9 390 Nitro is equipped with a triple-fan cooler that runs very quiet and also delivers good temperatures of only 65°C during heavy gaming. The card, which trades blows with the GTX 970, is also overclocked out of the box and provides a dual-BIOS as an extra safety net.

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wow that power consumption is crazy... i think it's still better and cheaper in the long run to buy a gtx 970 !!
 
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wow that power consumption is crazy... i think it's still better and cheaper in the long run to buy a gtx 970 !!
4.5GB more VRAM, re branded 290 has higher performance even in 1080p and 9w in desktop is pretty good, you won't play games 24/7, 5 years long.
 

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Benchmark Scores Benchmarks aren't everything.
That provide no benefit.
Yet. That's the caveat. Also for what it's worth, I saw Elite: Dangerous eating up almost 5GB of VRAM earlier today (I was playing in surround so that's always a thing as well.) Clearly it's not using all of it at once but, less texture streaming always helps latency once those textures are needed and I know that most gamers don't appreciate having to deal with jittery performance.

Does it make a big impact right now? No.
Does it help now? Yes but marginally.
Will it help in the future? Time will tell but, I suspect it will.

Now, before you start saying the 390 can't utilize that memory because it would choke, I would like to remind everyone that the 390 has 50% more TMUs than the 970 which I wouldn't call peanuts. Just because most games are heavier on pixel level operations (something nVidia cards tend to excel at thanks to the higher clocked ROPs,) doesn't mean the 390 will struggle as more texturing capability is demanded out of it.

This isn't to say the 390 is better than the 970 or vise versa but rather each card has their strong points. Nothing more, nothing less.

I've said this before but I'll say it again: It's always better to have too much memory than too little, just like system memory. Swapping, like streaming textures, will only harm performance versus actually having enough memory to keep everything in memory instead of having to move it between different pools.
 
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Will it help in the future? Time will tell but, I suspect it will.
Will you still have this (bound to go obsolete) card when the extra RAM will really make a difference ?
I suspect you won't :)
 
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wow that power consumption is crazy... i think it's still better and cheaper in the long run to buy a gtx 970 !!
Unless you stress your card 24/7 those numbers are not going to cause any real power bill rise. Even so were talking a couple bucks a year max.

That provide no benefit.
Unfortunately history says otherwise...

Yet. That's the caveat. Also for what it's worth, I saw Elite: Dangerous eating up almost 5GB of VRAM earlier today (I was playing in surround so that's always a thing as well.) Clearly it's not using all of it at once but, less texture streaming always helps latency once those textures are needed and I know that most gamers don't appreciate having to deal with jittery performance.

Does it make a big impact right now? No.
Does it help now? Yes but marginally.
Will it help in the future? Time will tell but, I suspect it will.

Now, before you start saying the 390 can't utilize that memory because it would choke, I would like to remind everyone that the 390 has 50% more TMUs than the 970 which I wouldn't call peanuts. Just because most games are heavier on pixel level operations (something nVidia cards tend to excel at thanks to the higher clocked ROPs,) doesn't mean the 390 will struggle as more texturing capability is demanded out of it.

This isn't to say the 390 is better than the 970 or vise versa but rather each card has their strong points. Nothing more, nothing less.

I've said this before but I'll say it again: It's always better to have too much memory than too little, just like system memory. Swapping, like streaming textures, will only harm performance versus actually having enough memory to keep everything in memory instead of having to move it between different pools.
^I agree 100%. Time has been pretty consistent to show that having the extra can help in the long run especially if you keep a video card longer than a year. Many cards that were once close battles at launch have made great big gaps between (Like the GTX 680/770 vs HD 7970/280X).

Pretty decent card and cooler, kinda like the design of the Nitro cooler and it performs pretty well.
 
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That provide no benefit.
GTA V, Dying Light,Shadow of Mordor, Heavily modded skyrim, Far Cry 4(1440p).

All these games can use over 3.5GB in 1080p + AA.

TDP of i5 2500k stock clocks -95w, TDP of 2600k that overclocked too 4.5Ghz is around 150~170w, for long run better too stop overcloking ur cpu.
 

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Far Cry 4(1440p).
When I was playing it through in surround, it would occasionally reach 4GB of VRAM used.
Will you still have this (bound to go obsolete) card when the extra RAM will really make a difference ?
I suspect you won't :)
I suspect I will. I replaced my 6870s after buying the first one 6 years earlier, then a second one 3 years after that.

Also, for what it's worth, my 390 idles lower than just one of my old 6870s by 25 watts.
 
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I think the power consumption - especially during video playback - has been improved with Crimson. 15.9.1 is a pretty old driver they've had 2 WHQL's since then.
 

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Will it help in the future? Time will tell but, I suspect it will.
I don't. Cramming large amounts of memory on lower than flagship cards has always been nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

Unfortunately history says otherwise...
What history have you been looking at, because the history I've seen shows that large amounts of VRAM shoved on a mid-range or lower card turns out to be nothing more than a gimmick and the VRAM never gets used. By the time it becomes relevant the GPU is too weak to render the games that need that amount of RAM at the settings that need that amount of RAM.

No issues with 4k there.

Dying Light
No issues there either.

Shadow of Mordor
Only an issues with the HD Texture back installed, which makes no visual difference in gameplay.

Heavily modded skyrim
Who still even plays this game? But, yeah, I guess if it is still your #1 game, the 390 is your best option.

Far Cry 4(1440p)
I played the entire game in 4k. No problems at all.

All these games can use over 3.5GB in 1080p + AA.
People who say things like this obviously don't know how the memory works on graphics cards. Games have been over running the VRAM on cards for as long as I can remember, there is a system in place for this, and when it happens the least likely to be used textures(the ones farthest away from the player in the scene) are paged out to system RAM.

That is why there is no real benefit to more than 4GB of RAM, that is why the Fury cards still outperform the 390s, even in all the games you listed.

Lets see:

  • Every reviewer has said 8GB doesn't matter.
  • AMD Themselves have said 4GB is enough for the current generation
But yeah, keep up the hope that those 8GB are going to come in handy...someday...
 
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By the time it becomes relevant the GPU is too weak to render the games that need that amount of RAM at the settings that need that amount of RAM.
What?
I would like to remind everyone that the 390 has 50% more TMUs than the 970 which I wouldn't call peanuts. Just because most games are heavier on pixel level operations (something nVidia cards tend to excel at thanks to the higher clocked ROPs,) doesn't mean the 390 will struggle as more texturing capability is demanded out of it.
Also, what is your definition of:
I played the entire game in 4k. No problems at all.

Or this:
No issues with 4k there.


No offense @newtekie1 but, you seem to get super defense whenever someone makes the comparison. I wouldn't call 30 FPS or under "no issues." If you're going to make claims like that, stick with numbers, not subjective experience.
 
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^ in all of those examples, clock speed and memory speed alone accounts for the difference between the 4GB R9 290 and the 8GB R9 390.

As stated before the only time the 8GB makes a difference on this card is in crossfire at 4K. Otherwise the extra memory is just making the card more expensive for no gain.
 
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What history have you been looking at, because the history I've seen shows that large amounts of VRAM shoved on a mid-range or lower card turns out to be nothing more than a gimmick and the VRAM never gets used. By the time it becomes relevant the GPU is too weak to render the games that need that amount of RAM at the settings that need that amount of RAM.
I am looking at the GPU history and how the cards age. Even 1 year down the road cards change positions that used to be pretty much on equal grounds and have grown farther and farther apart in many tiers. Look at the 280X and 770 which are essentially a GTX 680 and HD 7970(Ghz), the gap was 1% in favor of the HD 7970 and now the gap at 1080p is now 12% (In favor of it). Look at the 290X versus GTX 780ti, the gap used to be 12% in favor of the GTX 780ti, now its 1% in favor of the R9 290X. Unless you upgrade every year, generally its shown that the cards with more ram seem to scale better over time especially with how games evolve. Not every card is going to make that huge a difference and low cards will not benefit much, but on the high end its better to have more and not need all of it than less and suffer for it.

What?

Also, what is your definition of:


Or this:



No offense @newtekie1 but, you seem to get super defense whenever someone makes the comparison. I wouldn't call 30 FPS or under "no issues." If you're going to make claims like that, stick with numbers, not subjective experience.
I think he is referring to having two cards however and that its fine with two.

I won't say the 8gb is completely necessary in everything or every situation, but when those situations do arise its great to not have to worry.
 
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People who say that 4GB is too much and don't even have 4GB, should switch to console, i see you enjoy with 24 fps and cinematic experience, with no problems at all.

GTX 970 can't even beat 290x any more, look on benchmarks in reviews and check new games like Battlefront, The Witcher 3.

Extra performance and extra vram for same price, so why not ?

Fury X and 390 isn't same GPU.
 
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I think he is referring to having two cards however and that its fine with two.

I won't say the 8gb is completely necessary in everything or every situation, but when those situations do arise its great to not have to worry.
My point is that he is demonizing the 390 when it's honestly just as capable as the 970 in most instances (particularly at higher resolutions.) Benchmarks show that. The only real downside is power consumption and size. When I'm buying a GPU around 300 USD, I don't really care if I'm paying a 20 USD price premium for 8GB of VRAM that can clock a little higher. At worst, I lose out on 20 dollars. At best, I won't have to replace my GPU should I need more performance. I'm just annoyed with the slandering of a GPU that I find to be more than capable where benchmarks seem to concur.

This feels like a "anything you can do, I can do better," mentality and it needs to stop IMHO. Both are good GPUs.
 

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Only an issues with the HD Texture back installed, which makes no visual difference in gameplay.
Wrong. No HD texture pack installed on Shadow of Mordor and running at highest settings and I regularly was hitting between 3.6 and 3.8GB VRAM. I regularly wondered if I was going to exceed the 4GB and get some stuttering.

Who still even plays this game? But, yeah, I guess if it is still your #1 game, the 390 is your best option.
Lots of people still play Skyrim. Just because you attribute a game being 4 years old as not worth playing doesn't mean those values can be placed on others.

It's funny/opportune that you mentioned this now, because I'm playing Falskaar mod right now, which is less than a year old, and one of the best games I've played in a long while...and it's a mod! On a VRAM note about that, since that's the subject at hand, I'm actually using 2.3GB of VRAM. I have a heavily modded game (243 listed mods, plus a lot of texture mods), so anything below 4GB is fine for Skyrim.
 
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A great review as always W1z! And what a great in vfm GPU here! Which in high res it matches (and in several games wins) the 980 with a much lower price and the double VRAM in case it gets used better, especially with DX12 from now on. Also, a great cooler. Power consumption is going to hurt the power bill only with over 10H/day gaming and we talk about $10/year more than what a 980 would use. So, I cannot see a big negative issue with this GPU at all.
 

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No offense @newtekie1 but, you seem to get super defense whenever someone makes the comparison. I wouldn't call 30 FPS or under "no issues." If you're going to make claims like that, stick with numbers, not subjective experience.
Maybe you should look over at my system specs...I have two GTX970s, which is why I have no issues playing any of those games at 4k. Maybe we should try paying attention.

I am looking at the GPU history and how the cards age. Even 1 year down the road cards change positions that used to be pretty much on equal grounds and have grown farther and farther apart in many tiers. Look at the 280X and 770 which are essentially a GTX 680 and HD 7970(Ghz), the gap was 1% in favor of the HD 7970 and now the gap at 1080p is now 12% (In favor of it). Look at the 290X versus GTX 780ti, the gap used to be 12% in favor of the GTX 780ti, now its 1% in favor of the R9 290X. Unless you upgrade every year, generally its shown that the cards with more ram seem to scale better over time especially with how games evolve. Not every card is going to make that huge a difference and low cards will not benefit much, but on the high end its better to have more and not need all of it than less and suffer for it.
That has nothing to do with the amount of memory and everything to do with the change in games used in benchmarks and optimization of the drivers over time.

Did you ever happen to notice that the Fury X went from being 1% below the 980Ti in Sept 2015 to 4% better in Oct 2015? I guess the gaming industry changes super fast...or maybe W1z just changed up the benchmarks adding in a few more AMD friendly ones...

Extra performance and extra vram for same price, so why not ?
Indeed, the 390 is a good buy, I never said it wasn't.

Wrong. No HD texture pack installed on Shadow of Mordor and running at highest settings and I regularly was hitting between 3.6 and 3.8GB VRAM. I regularly wondered if I was going to exceed the 4GB and get some stuttering.
Again, there is a system in place for that. In fact, if you were that high in VRAM, you were likely already using it. The reason the issues only happen with the HD texture pack is because the textures are so large, they take up so much space, that the ones that are close to the player and actually needed for rendering don't fit in VRAM. So to render the current scene the GPU has to wait for the call out to system RAM to load the texture. With the non-HD texture pack, SoM packs every texture possible into VRAM until it is full, and likely over filled actually. But it doesn't matter because it makes sure the textures need to render the current frame are in VRAM. And the texture needed to render the area around the player easily fit in VRAM. So the game runs smoothly. This is the lazy way of loading textures, but meh, it works. This is also why the HD Texture pack recommends at least 6GB of VRAM.

Lots of people still play Skyrim. Just because you attribute a game being 4 years old as not worth playing doesn't mean those values can be placed on others.
It was more of a joke, but like I said, if that is important to you then the 390 is a good bet.

My point is that he is demonizing the 390 when it's honestly just as capable as the 970 in most instances (particularly at higher resolutions.) Benchmarks show that.
Demonizing? Saying 8GB isn't beneficial, which is exactly what W1z said in his review, is demonizing? I never said it wasn't just as capable as the 970, I never said buy the 970 over the 390. My one and only statement was the 8GB isn't beneficial. You freak out over that, and go off the wall claiming I'm demonizing the card...wow...
 

Aquinus

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Demonizing? Saying 8GB isn't beneficial, which is exactly what W1z said in his review, is demonizing? Wow, can't handle someone not sucking the 390's dick can you? I never said it wasn't just as capable as the 970, I never said buy the 970 over the 390. My one and only statement was the 8GB isn't beneficial. You freak out over that, and go off the wall claiming I'm demonizing the card...wow...
You're whining about a tiny price premium for something that might get used in the future and make the argument every time there is a 390 review. I would call that whining and blowing the thing out of proportion.

Also saying shit like this isn't exactly appropriate:
Wow, can't handle someone not sucking the 390's dick can you?
 

rtwjunkie

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Again, there is a system in place for that. In fact, if you were that high in VRAM, you were likely already using it. The reason the issues only happen with the HD texture pack is because the textures are so large, they take up so much space, that the ones that are close to the player and actually needed for rendering don't fit in VRAM. So to render the current scene the GPU has to wait for the call out to system RAM to load the texture. With the non-HD texture pack, SoM packs every texture possible into VRAM until it is full, and likely over filled actually. But it doesn't matter because it makes sure the textures need to render the current frame are in VRAM. And the texture needed to render the area around the player easily fit in VRAM. So the game runs smoothly. This is the lazy way of loading textures, but meh, it works. This is also why the HD Texture pack recommends at least 6GB of VRAM.
OK, makes sense! It's still quite a large amount of VRAM to use though, which highlights that we're getting to that tipping point where 4GB won't be enough, even if it's because that is the lazy way to do it.
 
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Demonizing? Saying 8GB isn't beneficial, which is exactly what W1z said in his review, is demonizing? I never said it wasn't just as capable as the 970, I never said buy the 970 over the 390. My one and only statement was the 8GB isn't beneficial. You freak out over that, and go off the wall claiming I'm demonizing the card...wow...
We don't really know that =P if we could test 4GB 390 and 8GB 390 today.

Yeah maybe 8gb is to much for this day, but we don't really know what would happen in 2 years.
(

and 960 / 280 4GB version has better fps than 2GB version, almost in every new game.
 

Jesus Castro

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I have a 980 and never saw 4k as an issue. Yes, i dont see the 8gb useful on the 390. The card will be long irrelevant before those 8gbs are used, unless, of course youre going for a cfx setup. Amd basically overclocked the 390 from the 290 stock 947 to whatever these manufacturer want, say, 1040 like what sapphire did. So theres even less overclock headroom. Meanwhile the 970 you can just put +200 on the core and call it a day. People seem to underestimate the overclock potential of maxwell cards since reviewers nowadays simply overclock the card they are reviewing i stead of the whole suit of cards they are comparing it to. Only one site i have ever seen them do that and it is overclockersclub

For example in this 390x review: http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/xfx_r9_390x/3.htm

You see the whole picture when you see all cards overclocked.

But if i had to pick between the 970 or 390, i would pick whichever is cheaper. Or flip a coin.
 
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I have a 980 and never saw 4k as an issue. Yes, i dont see the 8gb useful on the 390. The card will be long irrelevant before those 8gbs are used, unless, of course youre going for a cfx setup. Amd basically overclocked the 390 from the 290 stock 947 to whatever these manufacturer want, say, 1040 like what sapphire did. So theres even less overclock headroom. Meanwhile the 970 you can just put +200 on the core and call it a day. People seem to underestimate the overclock potential of maxwell cards since reviewers nowadays simply overclock the card they are reviewing i stead of the whole suit of cards they are comparing it to. Only one site i have ever seen them do that and it is overclockersclub

For example in this 390x review: http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/xfx_r9_390x/3.htm

You see the whole picture when you see all cards overclocked.

But if i had to pick between the 970 or 390, i would pick whichever is cheaper. Or flip a coin.
4K and only 1 980 without problems at all ? are you sure ?

 
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