PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 390 Video Card Review

The PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 390 combines two AMD Radeon R9 390 GPUs in CrossFire on a single video card. We'll take this beast of a video card and see how it games at 4K. If you want a simple all-in-one AMD CrossFire solution for 4K gaming you won't want to miss this.

Introduction

In the past few weeks we have been exploring AMD's Radeon R9 300 and Radeon R9 Fury series GPUs in dual-GPU CrossFire configurations at 4K resolution. We have been trying to find out what provides the best value for an improved gameplay experience at 4K with the latest and most demanding games. Today we have one more AMD GPU CrossFire comparison to bring you, which we had planned to include previously but wasn't available until now. PC Hound shows the Devil 13 available now at Newegg for $799.99, but currently out of stock at Amazon.

We are talking about dual AMD Radeon R9 390 GPUs in CrossFire but presented to us in a unique way from PowerColor in the form of the PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 390 (AXR9 390 II 16GBD5) video card. This is a single video card sporting two AMD R9 390 GPUs on one printed circuit board (PCB) with CrossFire enabled.

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Past CrossFire Evaluations To Compare With

Let's step backwards for a second and go over briefly what we have compared over the past few weeks, and that will lead up to what we have to show you today. You can read these evaluations to compare to our data today. In our first evaluation we compared AMD Radeon R9 Fury to AMD Radeon R9 390X CrossFire and GeForce GTX 980 SLI.

Our results were interesting, we found Fury to be quite competitive and provide a potential better experience over the GTX 980 SLI when CrossFire worked correctly. We also found R9 390X CrossFire to hold its own quite well and compete against 980 SLI at 4K given that it is based on an older GPU than the new Fury series. In the end, R9 390X CrossFire turned out to be a great value for a 4K experience with its bumped up VRAM to 8GB per GPU.

Next, we compared the new Fury X CrossFire with GTX 980 Ti SLI and TITAN X SLI. To our surprise Fury X CrossFire, when working, has the potential to perform as fast as TITAN X SLI in some cases, maybe even faster when all things are working. However, there were other instances where it did not.

We found that each game is going to behave differently to VRAM capacity comparing 4GB of HBM compared to 6GB or 12GB of GDDR5. Some games will perform fine, others may be bottlenecked. 4K gaming on Fury X is going to dependent a lot on software CrossFire support, efficiency of the CrossFire profile, and how each game behaves given the VRAM constraints. We encountered many CrossFire issues which dash our hopes for future support that is strictly needed for Fury X CrossFire to shine at 4K in future games.

AMD Radeon R9 390

Now we can compare another of the AMD Radeon R9 300 series, the AMD Radeon R9 390 GPU in CrossFire. The AMD R9 390 GPU is a tier below the R9 390X GPU in terms of specifications and pricing. The AMD R9 390 is a re-brand of the AMD R9 290, which is a Hawaii chip. The AMD R9 390X and 390 are both Hawaii chips.

The AMD R9 390 has cut down stream processors (2560 vs. 2816 on 390X) and texture units (160 vs. 176 on 390X) compared to R9 390X. Clock speed is also lowered to 1000MHz on R9 390 versus R9 390X at 1050MHz.

Compared to AMD Radeon R9 290 the new AMD Radeon R9 390 increases the memory frequency from 5GHz to 6GHz on a 512-bit memory bus. This brings the memory bandwidth up to 384GB/sec. VRAM capacity is also doubled versus the AMD Radeon R9 290 with 8GB total. To learn all about the AMD Radeon R9 390 please read this evaluation which will also show you how a single-GPU Radeon R9 390 video card performs.


PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 390

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Instead of just putting two AMD Radeon R9 390 video cards together in CrossFire, we are able to bring you dual R9 390 in a single video card form factor thanks to PowerColor. The PowerColor Devil 13 Dual GPU R9 390 video card is a unique video card in a class of its own. PowerColor has figured out what it takes to make two R9 390 GPUs operate on a single video card PCB, and it takes quite a lot in terms of hardware and cooling and power to make this happen.

AMD's Radeon R9 300 series GPUs are nowhere as power efficient as the new Fury line of GPUs. The Radeon R9 390 is a power hungry beast, and two GPUs on a single video card are a monster to control. That is why the price for the PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 390 is priced at $799 MSRP and is currently available at that price.

The Devil 13 is actually more expensive than purchasing two separate Radeon R9 390 video cards and putting those in CrossFire. In fact, at the price of $800 you can buy two AMD Radeon R9 390X video cards and put those in CrossFire. That is why this video card stands on its own in its own class. It also means price versus price we have to include two R9 390X video cards in this comparison from our first CrossFire evaluation.

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The PowerColor Devil 13 Dual GPU R9 390 contains two reference clocked AMD Radeon R9 390 GPUs (which are Hawaii chips) on one PCB. There is an on board x16 PCIe interconnect that connects the GPUs together for CrossFire. Both GPUs have bandwidth available via one PCIe 3.0 x16 interconnect.

The GPU clock speeds run at reference AMD Radeon R9 390 clock speeds of 1000MHz each. There is 8GB of VRAM for each GPU running on a 512-bit memory bus. However, the clock speed of the VRAM is not running at the reference specification for AMD Radeon R9 390.

The reference specification for AMD Radeon R9 390 is 6GHz GDDR5. This is an increase from 5GHz that was found on AMD Radeon R9 290. However with the PowerColor Devil 13 Dual GPU R9 390 the VRAM is running at a lower 5.4GHz. This is 400MHz faster than AMD Radeon R9 290, but it is not running at the 6GHz of single-GPU Radeon R9 390 video cards. This means the memory bandwidth is 345GB/sec instead of 384GB/sec if it were running at 6GHz.

This video card is a three slot video card and requires four, yes four 8-pin power connectors to operate. The minimum required PSU must be 1000W just to operate this video card. Power requirements are high, and as you will see below so are space requirements. The PCB is built with a 15 phase design (10+2+3), Power Rstage, Super Cap and Ferrite Core Chokes. Together this adds 33% extra power for the GPU and delivers a stable voltage power with peak efficiency up to 93.2%.

There is a BIOS switch atop the video card that lets you customize a BIOS for the video card and safely switch back to the default BIOS. By default the clock speed and memory speed is exactly the same between the two BIOS out-of-the-box. In our tests we did not experience any performance difference between the two BIOS. All of our tests today are done in default mode.