Date: Monday , July 20, 2015
Today we will be evaluating our first AMD Radeon R9 380 GPU based video card from the recently released AMD Radeon 300 series of GPUs. These video cards were launched on June 18th, 2015. The video cards launched on this date in order from slowest to fastest are: Radeon R7 360, Radeon R7 370, Radeon R9 380, Radeon R9 390 and Radeon R9 390X. This places the Radeon R9 380 video card in the middle of the pack performance and price-wise.
The pricing on AMD Radeon R9 380 GPU based video cards should range from $199-$229 depending on the manufacturer and if it is the 2GB or 4GB model. At this pricing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB and 4GB models are a very close comparison for the new R9 380, just like it was for the R9 285. The Radeon R9 380 GPU is in fact a re-brand of the AMD Radeon R9 285 which is also called "Tonga" based on GCN 1.2 feature set. We will be using a 4GB reference clocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 for comparison today.
The AMD Radeon R9 380 video card is designed to have a standard 4GB of memory on a 256-bit memory bus. There might be cheaper, 2GB models available from manufacturers, but the whole idea of the Radeon R9 380 versus the Radeon R9 285 is that it is being marketed as having twice the VRAM capacity as the R9 285. The GPU and memory also have higher clock speeds. The R9 285’s operating speeds are 918MHz on the core and 5.5GHz on the memory. The new R9 380 video card operates at 970MHz core and 5.7GHz memory.
Another difference that will become more evident as we look at the R9 380 video cards are their efficiency in overclocking compared to the R9 285 series. Add-in-board partners have had a long time since the release of the R9 285 to customize and tweak their boards. This extra time customizing the PCB and circuitry will benefit the R9 380 by providing improved power circuitry efficiency and better cooling. These changes provide a chance for better overclocking results than experienced on the Radeon R9 285.
Aside from the change in clock speed, the features of the R9 380 are the same as the R9 285. Both video cards have 1792 stream processors, 32 ROPs and 112 texture units. The memory capacity was increased from 2GB on the R9 285 up to 4GB on the R9 380, both of which operate on a 256-bit memory bus. The TDP of each video card is 190W. The Radeon R9 285 launched at $249 in September of 2014. It is noteworthy that when this video card launched, it originally featured only 2GB of memory. AMD is launching the R9 380 with an MSRP of up to $229 for the 4GB version which is twice as much memory, for a lesser price, compared to the R9 285. The XFX model we have today is the 4GB model.
XFX is a well known company among PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts. It is a division of PINE Technology Holdings Limited. The XFX manufacturing branch specializes in high-performance PC hardware with a focus on gaming products including AMD and NVIDIA graphics processing units and motherboards.
On our test bench today is the XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation 4GB. This video card has an MSRP of $239.99.
Now we zoom in on a custom R9 380 video card from XFX, the XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation 4GB. The first feature that sets this video card apart from a reference R9 380 video card is the operating speed. The GPU is factory overclocked to 990MHz, up from 970MHz. The memory has the same operating speed as the reference model at 5.7GHz.
The next most notable feature is the Ghost Thermal 3.0 cooling technology. This is the first appearance of this cooling technology, the previous video cards from XFX were utilizing Ghost Thermal 2.0. The layout of the finned heatsink and copper heat pipes has been optimized to maximize heat dissipation. XFX is also using new 90mm fans which bring an improved look, and quieter performance.
The XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation 4GB can be yours for $239 at Newegg, which is the same price as MSRP. This offer includes a free game: Assasin's Creed Chronicles valued at $10. XFX includes a 2 year limited parts and labor warranty.
The XFX R9 380 DD 4GB comes packaged in a smaller box, but is well prepared to ensure safety during shipping. The accessory package included with this video card includes a driver install CD, a quick start guide and two 4-pin to 6-pin power cable.
The video card is printed on a black PCB. There are four copper heat pipes directly contacting the GPU. The finned heat sink evenly distributes to both sides of the board, underneath each of the fans to ensure maximal heat exhaustion. The fan housing is matte black with silver highlights.
XFX recommends a 500W or higher power supply to ensure this video card operates properly. It requires two 6-pin PCIe power connectors that are located on the back edge of the board. The rear I/O panel houses two dual-link DVI-D connectors, one Display Port adapter, and an HDMI port. The video card measures 9.25 inches in length, 4.5 inches in height and 1.5 inches in width.