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.


Today we are evaluating our first AMD Radeon R9 390 GPU based video card from the AMD Radeon 300 series of GPUs. This series of video cards was launched on June 18th, 2015.

The pricing on AMD Radeon R9 390 GPU based video cards should range from $295-$384 depending on the manufacturer and the custom improvements that have been made. At this pricing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB model is a close comparison to the R9 390 in terms of both pricing and performance. Like the other video cards in the R9 300 series, the Radeon R9 390 is a "rebrand" of a previous GPU, in this case the AMD Radeon R9 290 which is also called "Hawaii" and based on the GCN 1.1 architecture. Today we will be using a custom 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 from MSI with a factory overclock for comparison with the XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB.

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The AMD Radeon 390 video card is extremely similar to the R9 390X video card, with a few things that set their performances apart. First things first, the R9 390X has an MSRP of $389, which is $60 more than the R9 390 video card. In terms of the actual build, the first thing that will add more performance to the R9 390X is having 2816 stream processors compared to 2560 on the R9 390. The R9 390X also has 44 compute units compared to 40 on the R9 390, and has an advantage of 176 texture units as opposed to 160 texture units with the R9 390. Besides these physical changes, the R9 390X GPU is also set to operate with a faster core clock at 1050MHz while the R9 390's core clock operates at 1GHz.

There are two major differences that set the AMD Radeon R9 390 video card apart from the Radeon R9 290 video card. First of all is that the R9 390 by default is configured with 8GB of memory compared to only 4GB on the previous R9 290 generation. That means it has twice the VRAM capacity. The second major feature that sets the two video cards apart is the GPU and memory frequencies. Both of these have higher clock speeds. The R9 290's operating speeds are 947MHz on the core and 5GHz on the memory. The new R9 390 video card operates at 1GHz core and 6GHz memory.

Another difference that should help distinguish the new R9 390 video cards apart from the R9 290 series is the efficiency when overclocking. Since all of the R9 300 series is a "rebrand" of the R9 200 GPUs, add-in board partners have had a lot of time since the release of the R9 200 series to customize and tweak their boards. That means the custom PCBs and circuitry will benefit the R9 390 by providing improved power efficiency and implied there, improved cooling. These changes should provide a chance at better overclocking than what we experienced on the previous R9 290 video cards.

Besides the improvements to the clock speeds, the other features of the R9 390 are the same as the R9 290. Both video cards have 2560 stream processors, 64 ROPs and 160 texture units. The memory capacity is improved to 8GB from 4GB and still operates on a 512-bit memory bus. The TDP of each video card is 275W. The Radeon R9 290 launched at $399 back in October of 2014. AMD launched the R9 390 with an MSRP of $329, which is a great price reduction considering the improvements that have been applied to the video card.

XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB Video Card

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 390 Double Dissipation 8GB (R9-390P-8256). This video card has an MSRP of $329.99 and is available with a $20 MIR.

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Now we will take a closer look at a custom R9 390 video card from XFX, the XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB. This video card has several features that distinguish it from your everyday R9 390 video card. The first of these features is a factory overclock from XFX which increases the core clock from 1GHz up to 1015MHz. This is not a tremendous performance boost, however it is one freely given to you. The memory operates at the reference frequency of 6GHz.

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The next custom feature that XFX has added to this video card is the Ghost Thermal 3.0 technology. This is an integral part of XFX's Double Dissipation cooling system. The Ghost Thermal 3.0 technology includes a new generation of VRM and memory heatsink designed to keep the voltage regulator and memory much cooler under intense operation.

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The XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB also features 7, 6mm copper heat pipes that directly contact the GPU and spread to various areas on the finned heatsink. There are in-fact two heatsinks. The first is directly over the GPU and has two copper heat pipes extending out form the GPU and back into the top and bottom edges of this heatsink. The other heatsink is elevated above the VRM and memory cooler, and has 5 heat pipes running through it. This maximizes heat transfer away from the GPU, and being elevated off the board some allows the fans to better exhaust the heat.

The cooling system also has a full aluminum backplate that helps to spread a little extra heat out, but is mainly for rear-mounted component protection and aesthetic appeal. It will also help to prevent any PCB bending that may occur over time. Finally to cap off the cooling system are two 90mm IP-5X fans. These fans have improved airflow capabilities and have an extreme gloss that help it stay dust free. The fans are built to exhaust ample air from the board while remaining quiet even in extreme conditions.

The XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB can be yours for $299.99 after a $20 MIR, and includes a 2 year limited parts and labor warranty.

XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB Pictures

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The XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB ships in XFX's standard box, well packaged and secured in an anti-static bag. The accessory package includes a quick installation guide, a driver installation CD, the warranty card, a 4-pin to 6-pin PCIe power adaptor and a 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power adapter.

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The video card is printed on a black PCB and as we mentioned includes seven copper heat pipes that directly contact the GPU. The back of the video card is supported by an aluminum heatsink. The finned-array heatsink contacts the GPU, but has a separate second section that hovers over the rear-end of the board.

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XFX recommends a 750W or greater power supply to properly power the XFX R9 390 Double Dissipation 8GB. It requires a 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connector, which are located along the top at the back edge of the video card. A minor design error here, the part of the power supply that clips into these connectors faces the heatsink that is directly beside the adapters. This makes it extremely hard to get the clips out after installing and may hurt your fingers some. The rear I/O panel houses a DisplayPort, an HDMI port, and two dual-link DVI-D connectors. The video card measures 11 inches in length, 5 inches in height and 1 and 5/8th inches wide.