XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation 4GB Video Card Review

Today we look at the newly released AMD Radeon R9 380 GPU. We have XFX's new R9 380 Double Dissipation custom video card featuring new cooling and a factory overclock. We will also compare the XFX R9 380 to a GTX 960 4GB, in addition we will test the AMD R9 285 clock-for-clock with the XFX R9 380 to see if there are any differences.


Battlefield 4

We are using Battlefield 4 multiplayer as downloaded and played via Origin. You can read our video card performance and image quality evaluation here and our Mantle release evaluation here to learn what all the graphics settings mean.

We will be using D3D on the NVIDIA based GPU’s, and AMD's Mantle on AMD GCN based video cards. Because FRAPS does not support Mantle we have to use BF4's built in frametime capture tool to capture the frame times. From this, we can calculate the average FPS instead of frame rate over time. This process of recording the data can be found here. Because we cannot use FRAPS we have to represent the data to you in bar graph format using average FPS only. We will provide a table, where appropriate, to show the highest playable settings.

Highest Playable Settings

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In Battlefield 4 we finally saw the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 gain an advantage over the XFX R9 380 DD 4GB. This is largely due to the fact that running DX11 is not as demanding as Mantle. Both video cards had the in-game settings set to "Ultra." Ambient occlusion is also set to the highest level of HBAO. The advantage the GeForce GTX 960 had was utilizing 4X MSAA for aliasing. It averaged 59.6 FPS with these settings.

The XFX R9 380 DD 4GB running the Mantle API was less successful in the aliasing department, having a reduced value of 2X MSAA. All other graphics options were the same as the GTX 960. The XFX R9 380 DD 4GB averaged 61.9 FPS with these settings, producing quick and responsive gameplay.

When we applied our highest stable overclock to the XFX R9 380 DD 4GB, we saw a noticeable jump in performance. With 4X MSAA enabled the XFX R9 380 averaged 57.8 FPS. This was right at our 58-60 FPS target range where gameplay becomes enjoyable with minimal lag. This is still a little on the slow side, however we felt it was adequate.

Apples-to-Apples High Settings

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In this apples-to-apples test we have Battlefield 4 configured to run at 1920x1080 with 4X MSAA enabled. We are using "Ultra" settings with HBAO enabled.

With aliasing increased to 4X MSAA, we can see the stock XFX R9 380 DD 4GB was the slowest performer at 54.2 FPS. Overclocking this video card provided a 6.6% performance boost up to 57.8 FPS. The GeForce GTX 960 averaged 59.6 FPS.