Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB HBM Graphic Card Review

Probably the most anticipated card of the year due to its features, the Fury X was expected to be the slayer of Nvidia GTX 980 Ti but does it live up to the expectation?

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

No it doesn’t. The Fury X is one interesting card where the performance could be trailing the Nvidia GTX 980 one while outperforming GTX 980 Ti on another but we’ll cover that later. For a start, the card looks beautiful. It is short and compact, it doesn’t occupy many slots and it comes water-cooled.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

The GPU section of the Fury X is sealed from every angle, even at the IO panel.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Here’s a view from the other side.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

The Sapphire Fury X’s cables extends from the opposite side of IO panel instead of the top like the R9 295X2.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

The radiator is cooled by a 120mm fan with curved blades.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Here’s the radiator for the Sapphire Fury X – it certainly looks familiar, so I did a comparison with the Cooler Master’s Nepton 120XL.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Oh hey, they look quite similar, don’t they?

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Even from the side profile, it looks pretty much like the Nepton 120XL.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 390X 8GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Here is the Sapphire Fury X along side the AMD R9 295X2 and a host of other AMD based graphic cards through the generations.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Starting from the top (the one with orange strip) – that’s the Sapphire Tri-X R9 390X, followed by the AMD R9 295X2. The 3rd one is of course the Fury X in this review, it is then followed by an AMD R9 270X reference design, an ASUS HD 7950 DirectCU II and lastly, a Sapphire R9 Dual-X 280X.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Phew, what a collection eh? 😀 Well, that’s goldfries’ lab for you.

Below is the GPU-Z capture for the card.

Sapphire R9 Fury X 4GB GDDR5 Graphic Card Review

Did you notice that the bus width is 4096 bit? Check out the details of HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) at amd.com

More details of the Fury X at the official product page.

Test Setup

Processor Intel Core i5-4670K
RAM Kingston HyperX 2x 4GB DDR3 2400Mhz Kit
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming 3
Cooler NZXT Kraken X31
Monitor Dell U2414H
Power Supply FSP AURUM S 600W
Casing NZXT S340
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit

Benchmarks

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Heaven 4.0
*NOTE : Details are set to maximum.
*NOTE : AA disabled in 4K test.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K (avg)
Sapphire Fury X 67.5 26.1
ASUS GTX 980 Ti 82.8 30
GALAX GTX 980 SOC 65.4 25.7
AMD R9 295X2 97.6 33.5

Metro Last Light

Heaven 4.0

Card 1080p (avg) 4K (avg)
Sapphire Fury X 99 38.5
ASUS GTX 980 Ti 90.5 40.5
GALAX GTX 980 SOC 93.5 35.5
AMD R9 295X2 73 41.5

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite
Settings are at
2 – UltraDX11_DDOF | 2 – Custom | 1 – 16:9 | 4 – FullHD / 4K

Card 1080p (avg) 4K (avg)
Sapphire Fury X 142.67 52.9
GALAX GTX 980 SOC 130.71 44.87
AMD R9 295X2 134 68.57

Shadow of Mordor

Heaven 4.0
Settings : Set to maximum, V-sync off.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K (avg)
Sapphire Fury X 94.11 36.03
ASUS GTX 980 Ti 98.74 35.01
GALAX GTX 980 SOC 76.56 29.03
AMD R9 295X2 79.14 46.2

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V
Settings : Set to Very High for every possible option. 8xAA enabled for Full HD test, AA Disabled for 4K test.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K (avg)
Sapphire Fury X 48.36 40.77
GALAX GTX 980 SOC 62.14 48.29
AMD R9 295X2 50.78 18.15

Temperature

Furmark Burn-in Test was used to stress the card. Fan settings are at Auto. Room set to ~25c.

Card Idle(°C) Load (°C)
Sapphire Fury X 31 61
Sapphire Fury X Full RPM 31 45

Furmark couldn’t detect the fan RPM and neither could Sapphire’s own TRIXX software. The consolation was that TRIXX’s fan control tab was able to control the fan. Judging by the sound, the fan seems to be running at around 50% when in AUTO mode.

The fan runs very silent at 50% but it’s the sound from the pump that does get a little irritating but it shouldn’t be an issue if it’s left in a covered casing.

Overclocking

The card cannot be overclocked. Running Sapphire TRIXX, the overclocking tab shows core and memory at 0 and the slider at the right most setting will show 10 on the interface.

Power Consumption

The stress was done with Furmark Burn-in Test. Power consumption reading was taken from the watt-meter, actual power draw by the entire system from the wall point. I’m using an FSP Aurum S 700W with 90% efficiency and the estimated system power draw (CPU, not including GPU) during Furmark test is 60w.

Card Sapphire Fury X
Furmark Burn-in 336
Estimated Actual System Draw 302
Estimated Card Power Draw 242

The Verdict

The R9 Fury X retails at RM 2,899 – Not exactly an attractive price in my book but it’s a decent start. The reference model Nvidia GTX 980 cards are available at that price and offers better and more consistent performance in general. The Fury X lacks consistent performance, being better than GTX 980 Ti on some while trailing GTX 980 on others.

What you get with the Fury X is a card that’s different from the rest as it sports AMD’s High Bandwidth Memory and it comes water cooled which obviously is factored into the price. What’s even more amazing is that it is compact and it is practically not generating any heat from the GPU section of the unit. Overall I must say that the Fury X is something very interesting, and it certainly brought a fresh look upon an otherwise rather mundane scene of GPU warfare.

To make it simple, get the Nvidia GTX 980 Ti cards if you only care about performance. Get the Fury X if you want new technology on your system, one that looks cool, compact to fit even small casings and still holds the performance that hovers around the GTX 980 range.

goldfries recommended

The review sample was provided by IdealTech – if you’re looking for this card, you know where to find them.

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