Power, Noise, Pricing and Closing Thoughts
AMD's literature led us to believe that the AMD Fury would use the same amount of power as the Fury X, and that has held up more or less. In our testing AMD Fury card from Sapphire uses just 6 watts less power than the water cooled Fury X card. If we consider the pump power that's pretty much a wash. It's not unusual for this to be the case: even though the Fury is, on average, about 10% slower than the Fury X and uses fewer compute units, the GPUs are running a bit hotter (65C vs 55C) and thus leakage increases and power draw increases along with it.
NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 does use 86 watts less power than the Sapphire Tri-X Fury card, still an indicator of the better architectural efficiency that Maxwell has over Fiji.
I don't have any sound graphs for you here but I will include them when we compare our two different Fury retail cards next week, but I think this needs to be discussed. Running the Sapphire Fury card was nearly a silent experience – there was some fan noise but it was very minimal and any fear I had over the pump whine that has plagued the Fury X melted away. I can't help but wonder if AMD would have been better off making an air-cooled version of the higher end flagship card as well…
Pricing and Availability
Let's see how the current market is looking:
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury 4GB – $549 (Available on July 16th)
- GeForce GTX 980 4GB – $499
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB – $649
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury X 4GB – $649
The new AMD Fury cards, in particular the Sapphire Tri-X card we are reviewing here today, comes priced at $549. That is $50 more than the reference designs of the GTX 980 but you can find some hefty overclocks on retail GTX 980s if you look around. How that affects performance comparisons will have to wait for another day, but obviously any bit of higher clock rate is going to help NVIDIA out.
So while the Fury X and the GTX 980 Ti have their fight out in the $650 segment, where does the new Fury fall in my mind? Based on the performance data we are seeing here today, where the AMD Radeon R9 Fury ranges from being 5-30% faster than the GTX 980, I think AMD has released a part that puts a lot of pressure on NVIDIA's GeForce team. It is more expensive, but for $50 you are getting all custom, retail coolers as well as improved performance in the vast majority of our testing.
The launch of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury is what the launch of the Fury X should have been: extremely positive and presenting AMD as a company that has amazing hardware products that not only compete with NVIDIA but that can be better. The Fury X was saddled with performance concerns (it wasn't faster than the GTX 980 Ti) as well as cooler and sound issues. The Fury (non-X) doesn't have any of those issues and instead stands here as a standard cooled graphics card with no design concerns and performance levels that beat the GTX 980 in every test we tossed at it (except for GTA V), sometimes by a large margin.
Sapphire's implementation in the form of the Tri-X is solid as well. Even though the company went with the shorter reference-style PCB design of the Fury X card, using a full-length cooler means that the card performs perfectly with temperatures hovering in the mid-70C range. The card includes 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI port, though it's still not HDMI 2.0, and should provide more than enough performance for gamers looking at 2560×1440 screens or even those venturing into the world of 4K.
NVIDIA still has a fighting chance with the GeForce GTX 980 of course: it is $50 less expensive, includes a free game (currently at least) and has the advantage of more frequent and usually more reliable drivers behind it. But AMD has stepped up its game and released a high-end GPU that should make NVIDIA worry. And that's great for everyone.