AMD Radeon R9 Fury X 4K Video Card Review

We take the new AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and evaluate the 4K gaming experience. We will also compare against the price competitive GeForce GTX 980 Ti as well as a GeForce GTX TITAN X. Which video card provides the best experience and performance when gaming at glorious 4K resolution?

Introduction

On June 24th the hyped and much anticipated AMD Radeon R9 Fury X was revealed to the world. We evaluated the gameplay experience at 1440p and only scratched the surface on 4K gameplay in our initial evaluation.

This $649 video card (although pretty much out of stock everywhere) is based on the new "Fiji" GPU sporting the latest GCN 1.2 architecture improvements and culminating as AMD's most advanced GPU to date. The AMD Radeon Fury X takes its place as AMD's fastest single-GPU video card and is the flagship showing the best AMD has released for the gaming experience at this time.

AMD Radeon R9 Fury X at 4K

AMD has marketed the Radeon R9 Fury X as a video card intended for the 4K resolution gaming experience, this despite the video card only having 4GB of VRAM capacity. However, the VRAM in use is AMD's new HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) on-die memory that significantly boosts the memory bandwidth to a high 512GB/sec with lower power. The question is, does this boost in memory bandwidth truly offset the consequence of only being able to utilize 4GB of VRAM capacity with current generation HBM technology?

In our initial evaluation we concluded that the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X seemed to be geared better for the 1440p gameplay experience, not the 4K experience. The main issue is that the performance did not seem good enough from a single-GPU to actually play and enjoy games well at 4K with respectable game settings. At 1440p we were able to maximize the settings in games and have an overall better experience that was not bottlenecked by VRAM capacity.

Our experiences were very different from the position AMD was marketing the card for. However, we also did not have time to specifically dive into the 4K experience in a more granular and detailed evaluation. Now, we rectify that situation and completely and solely explore the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X's 4K gameplay experience. Of course, we must put it up against the competition. We also have a more mature driver set now so hopefully we will see some better 4K performance as well.

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The Competition

In the realm of NVIDIA, sitting directly at $649 is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB video card. Since the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti are priced exactly the same these are direct price competitors. Our main focus will be to compare these two video cards at 4K.

However, as we are exploring, as a bigger picture, the impact of single-GPU video card performance at 4K we also cannot leave out the much more expensive, but also marketed for 4K gaming, NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB video card. This video card is nowhere near the same pricing as the others. It is a $999 video card in its least expensive form. However, it is also a single-GPU video card just like the other two and is the fastest thing NVIDIA has at the moment.

Our Goals

In that regard, we are now comparing on one hand the price comparable video cards AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti together as well as the fastest single-GPU video card AMD has and the fastest single-GPU video card NVIDIA has, price aside.

Hopefully this evaluation at 4K will show us which video card is the better value for 4K gaming right now and which is ultimately the fastest for 4K gaming. Is it the new contender or the old? Let's find out.