XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB Video Card Review

Today we evaluate our first Radeon R9 390 video card with a custom take on it from XFX. The XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB has an improved cooling system and factory overclock. We will compare it to a custom overclocked GeForce GTX 970, and also test the AMD R9 290 clock-for-clock with the XFX R9 390 to determine any other improvements.

continued...

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The long awaited sequel to The Witcher 2 is finally out, the series continues with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This newly released game uses the latest game engine that supports all of today's latest DX11 features. This game is packed to the gills with technology that makes it look visually as one of the best games this year so far. It also pushes the video cards to their limits. Also supported are some NVIDIA GameWorks features like HairWorks for improved hair quality, but with a big performance hit.

For our run-through we have chosen a long path in the open world that goes through grassland, a couple of villages, and into an inn. There are a couple of cut-scenes along the way but these cut-scenes are rendered in real-time 3D accelerated on the video card and therefore are relevant to gameplay as these are where the player makes their dialog choices. We are using the latest 1.08.4 patch installed.


Highest Playable Settings

Article Image

Article Image

(Click Graph for Larger Image)

In The Witcher 3 the XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB (XFX R9 390 DD 8GB for name’s sake) was not quite on par with the MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G in terms of what graphics settings it could provide without dramatically sacrificing performance.

Both video cards did have the graphics options set to "high," with the difference coming from the post processing preset. The XFX R9 390 DD 8GB was only playable with post processing set to "medium," and averaged 51.9 FPS. We did not have the NVIDIA GameWorks options enabled, which include HBAO+ and HairWorks. We did have ambient occlusion set to SSAO.

The MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G performed noticeably faster when only utilizing "medium" post processing. We found this video card had the performance required to utilize the "high" post processing preset. This visual quality improvement did have an impact on the video cards performance, bringing its framerate to 50.6 FPS.

When we applied our maximum overclock to the XFX R9 390 DD 8GB, we received a pretty significant performance boost. This did in fact allow us to enable the more demanding "high" post processing preset. The XFX R9 390 DD 8GB with max overclock averaged 53.6 FPS, which delivers fluid gameplay and visuals. We find this performance 5.9% faster than the MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G at 50.6 FPS.


Apples-to-Apples

Article Image

(Click Graph for Larger Image)

In this apples-to-apples test we have The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt set to 2560x1440 with AA enabled. We are using "High" graphics settings and "High" post-processing. We have ambient occlusion set to SSAO. We are not using NVIDIA HairWorks.

In this comparison we see the out-of-box XFX R9 390 DD 8GB averages 48.1 FPS. This was close to our 50 FPS target but we still felt there were times that the performance did not meet our standards. After overclocking the XFX R9 390 DD 8GB operated 11.4% faster at 53.6 FPS. The MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G averaged 50.6 FPS.