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AMD Radeon R9 Fury X graphics card review: AMD's thoughtful 4K powerhouse

Brad Chacos | June 25, 2015
AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X kicks ass.

The game was tested at Medium and High quality graphics presets, then by using the Ultra HD Texture pack and manually cranking every graphics option to its highest available setting, which Shadow of Mordor's Ultra setting doesn't actually do. The R9 295x2 consistently crashes every time I attempt to change Mordor's resolution or graphics settings, hence the zero scores. (Ah, the joys of multi-GPU setups.)

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition absolutely murders graphics cards when the graphics settings are set to Extreme at high resolutions. Only the dual-GPU Radeon R9 295x2 hits 30 fps at 4K resolution, though the Fury X hangs with its Nvidia counterparts.

The Fury X also hangs tight with the reference GTX 980 Ti in Metro Last Light Redux, which we test with PhysX and the frame rate-killing SSAA options disabled. EVGA's version of the GTX 980 Ti trumps all single-GPU comers, though the dual-GPU Radeon R9 295x2 fires on all cylinders in this title.

Again, the Fury X and reference 980 Ti are neck and neck in Alien Isolation, a game that scales well across all hardware types and falls under AMD's Gaming Evolved brand.

The gorgeous Dragon Age: Inquisition also partnered with AMD at its launch, but Nvidia's cards maintain a clear lead here. Note that the R9 295x2 apparently doesn't have a working CrossFire profile for the game, so it drops down to using a single GPU.

The same goes for Sniper Elite 3. Note that we didn't have a chance to test the reference GTX 980 Ti here.

We also tested the Fury X and EVGA's 980 Ti Superclocked+ in Grand Theft Auto V, because the game is notorious for demanding more than 4GB of memory--HBM's top capacity--at high resolutions.

We tested the game three ways at 4K resolution. First, by cranking all the sliders and graphics settings to their highest settings, then enabling 4x MSAA and 4X reflections MSAA in order to hit , of RAM usage; then, using the same settings but disabling all MSAA to drop the memory usage to 4,029MB, just under the Fury X's limit; and then by testing the Fury X's chops at normal graphics settings with MSAA disabled, which consumes 1,985MB of memory. (We didn't have time to benchmark any other cards, alas.)

The EVGA card pounds the Fury X here--no wonder GTA V wasn't included in the reviewer's guide benchmarks AMD provided for the Fury X last week. But the frame rate averages alone don't show the full experience: When GTA V was pushed to consume more memory than the Fury X has onboard, the experience became extremely stuttery, choppy, and graphically glitchy as the card offloaded duties to system memory, which is far slower than HBM.

 

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