AMD Radeon R9 380X CrossFire Video Card Review

We are evaluating two Radeon R9 380X video cards in CrossFire against two GeForce GTX 960 video cards in a SLI arrangement. We will overclock each setup to its highest, to experience the full gaming benefit each configuration has to offer. Additionally we will compare a Radeon R9 380 CrossFire setup to help determine the best value.

Introduction

In today's evaluation we be utilizing CrossFire with two AMD Radeon R9 380X 4GB video cards, in a direct comparison with two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 4GB video cards. Our objective is to determine if either setup allows for a significant advantage given the price disparity. We will be running these lower-end video cards through a series of tests, putting the two systems head to head at both stock and overclocked speeds.

Right now with the current GPU market, you can purchase an AMD Radeon R9 380X video card between $220 and $250. The current market for a custom NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 video card is a little welcoming with prices between $189 and $229. A little farther down the price spectrum falls the AMD Radeon R9 380 video card which has prices around $170 and $220.

While our primary concern today is evaluating the AMD R9 380X 4GB CrossFire to the NVIDIA GTX 960 4GB SLI setup, we will also take a special look at the performance of the AMD R9 380 4GB CF in action as it compares to the R9 380X 4GB and GTX 960 4GB SLI configurations. This added information will help us to conclude which setup provides the most performance per dollar.

This is the first time we have evaluated both AMD Radeon R9 380X CrossFire and AMD Radeon R9 380 CrossFire. We will be using several new games where this is our first time testing CrossFire and SLI performance in them.

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AMD Radeon R9 380X CrossFire

Taking a step back, the AMD Radeon R9 380X GPU was released on November 19, 2015. At the time of launch the suggest retail was $229 with prices more commonly at $239. The overall price of the video card has only come down slightly, while some models still maintain this price point.

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Based on the "Tonga" GPU, the AMD Radeon R9 380X is and has 32 Compute Units, giving it 2,048 stream processors. There are 32 ROPs and 128 texture units. The clock speed runs around 970MHz by default. Most custom manufacturers will add some factory overclock to the video card. The memory has a full 4GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit memory bus, and operates at 5.7GHz providing 182GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The product is geared towards 1440p gameplay, however to make the most of today's latest and most demanding games we will need two R9 380X's for true 1440p gaming.

The two R9 380X GPUs we have evaluated are the XFX R9 380X Double Dissipation XXX OC 4GB and the ASUS STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC. We will be using each of these video cards today in CrossFire, at reference R9 380X clock speeds and with the maximum overclock achievable.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 SLI

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 was released way back on January 22nd, 2015. When it launched the MSRP was $199 which has much lower than we had expected. Since then the overall price has remained about the same, with a few models $10 cheaper.

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The GeForce GTX 960 GPU is based on the Maxwell architecture. This is a 28nm process which contains 2.94 billion transistors, and supports all of the features available on the GeForce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 980 video cards. The GeForce GTX 960 consists of 1024 CUDA cores in two Graphics Processing Clusters and eight Streaming Multiprocessors. There are 64 texture units and 32 ROPs backing up the GPU. The base clock will run at 1126MHz and the boost clock will run at 1178MHz. This video card has proven to be extremely overclockable. There are 4GB of GDDR5 memory operating at 7GHz on a 128-bit memory bus.

The two GeForce GTX 960 models we are using today are MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G and the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC video cards. We will be using each of these video cards today in SLI at default clock speeds as well as with the maximum overclock applied.