XFX R9 380 DD BLACK EDITION OC 4GB Review

Today we evaluate a custom R9 380 from XFX, the XFX R9 380 DD BLACK EDITION OC 4GB. Sporting a hefty factory overclock and the Ghost Thermal 3.0 custom cooling with Double Dissipation, we compare it to an equally priced reference GeForce GTX 960. Find out which video card provides the better bargain.

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 BLACK Ed. OC 4GB (R9-380P-4DB5).

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Today we will be evaluating our second AMD Radeon R9 380 GPU based video card from the AMD Radeon 300 series of GPUs. This generation of video cards was launched on June18th, 2015. The first R9 380 video card we evaluated was the XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation 4GB video card. There are several differences between these two video cards that we will cover and highlight shortly.

The pricing on AMD Radeon R9 380 GPU based video cards should range from $199-$229 depending on the manufacturer and if it is a 2GB or 4GB model. At this pricing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB and 4GB modjels are a very close comparison for the R9 380, similar to how 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. It is not the newer "Fiji" architecture.

The AMD Radeon R9 380 video card is designed with a standard of 4GB of memory on a 256-bit memory bus. There are cheaper 2GB models available from manufactuers, but the main idea behind the R9 380 is to have double the memory of the R9 285 video cards for which it was rebranded. The R9 285’s operating speeds are 918MHz on the core and 5.5GHz on the memory. The R9 380 video card operates at 970MHz core and 5.7GHz memory.

Besides the differences in clock speeds, 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. The R9 380 has an MSRP of $229, but it can be found for cheaper given certain discounts and rebates from distributors. At this price point we feel a reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 is an appropriate video card to evaluate against the XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC, as they also range from $190 to $229.


XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation BLACK Ed. OC4GB

Taking a closer look at the XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC 4GB, we find there are a few selling points and features that set this video card aside from other R9 380 video cards. A reference R9 380 operates at 970MHz on the core and 5.7GHz on the memory. XFX has taken the liberty of applying its own factory overclock to the video card. The core will operate at 1030MHz out-of-box. That is 60MHz faster than a reference model. The memory also has a very slight overclock which increases its operating frequency from 5.7GHz up to 5.8GHz.

This is where the XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC has some advantage over the XFX R9 380 DD 4GB that we evaluated earlier. The other model has an out-of-box clock of 990MHz, which is 40MHz slower than the XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC. The memory was also at the reference speed of 5.7GHz. These clock speed differences are the biggest differences between the two video cards. We are also hoping that overclocking will be better with the BLACK EDITION versus the plain Double Dissipation version we tested earlier.

The XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC also utilizes the Ghost Thermal 3.0 technology from XFX. This is an exceptionally important feature, as it is the foundation of the cooling system that XFX has placed on the video card. It includes four electro plated heatpipes that directly contact the GPU and extend out to the four quadrants on the fin array heatsink. This technology allows maximum heat dispersion away from the GPU without overloading a single area on the heatsink.

The other part of the XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC's cooling system is the Double Dissipation portion. Double Dissipation essentially refers to the dual 90mm IP-5X fans which have an optimized BIOS fan profile, which is the second form of dissipating heat besides the . This feature allows the video card to crank up rampantly to exhaust high heat loads or completely turn off if the heat demand on the GPU does not require fans.

The XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC 4GB video card can be yours for $229 at Amazon, which includes a 3 year limited parts and labor warranty. The price may generally be lower, however there is a very low supply of this video card right now which increases the price.

XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC 4GB Pictures

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The XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC is packaged secured and tightly in a small box. The accessory package that comes with this video card includes a driver installation CD, two 6-pin to 4-pin power connectors, and a warranty insert.

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The video card is printed on a black PCB. There is no backplate which we see on the more expensive high-end video cards from XFX. There are four nickel plated copper heat pipes that directly contact the GPU and extend along the top edge of the video card to four areas on the finned heatsink. Having a single heatpipe connect to each quadrant of the heat sink allows maximum heat flow away from the GPU to be dispersed by the fans.

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XFX recommends a 450W or greater power supply to ensure proper operation. The XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC requires two 6-pin PCIe power connectors which are located on the back end of the video card, opposite of the I/O panel, not along the top edge of the video card. The I/O panel adds support for two dual-link DVI-D connectors, one Display Port connector and one HDMI port. The XFX R9 380 DD BLACK Ed. OC is rather small, measuring 9 and 3/8th inches in length, 4 and 5/8th inches in height and 1.5 inches in width.