Overclocking, Temps, Sound and Pricing

Overclocking the ASUS Strix R9 Fury

One of the original complaints about the Fury X and the Fury was that they did not live up to the overclocking hype that AMD built up during the launch of the cards. Several key, and high ranking, AMD personnel sat on stage during a live streamed public event touting the benefits of a board designed for 375 watts of power draw and a cooler (on the Fury X at least) capable of cooling 500 watts of thermal output. The results were very underwhelming at the time and I’m sorry to say that nothing ASUS did with the board design or cooler integration seems to have changed that.

At stock, the ASUS Strix R9 Fury card runs at a GPU clock speed of 1000 MHz and a memory clock speed of 500 MHz (remember that HBM acts very differently than GDDR5 so that low frequency is not unexpected).

My top overclock for our ASUS Strix R9 Fury's GPU core? 1050 MHz.

Tweaking power limits and fan speeds really didn't help me at all, and even reaching the 1080 MHz level that I saw on my original Fury X sample was unattainable. This doesn’t appear to be any fault of ASUS or its cooler – the Strix design was able to keep GPU temperatures at 73C even with this additional voltage/clock speed running.

As you might guess, a 5% overclock on your GPU frequency isn’t going to amount to much of a performance chance in your games. My testing showed the changes to only be in the 3-4% range as the clock speed to performance scaling is never 1:1.

So where does that leave us for the overclocking capability of AMD Fury GPUs? Honestly… they just aren’t there. It’s possible that, even though AMD was talking about the ability for this 275 watt GPU to reach 375 watts and above, that just isn’t true. Does this mean that the upcoming AMD R9 Nano product, with a starting TDP of just 175 watts, will perform better in this area? Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

ASUS Strix R9 Fury Temperatures

So if the performance and overclocking capability of the ASUS Fury Strix and the other Fury cards on the market are pretty much unchanged, what does the Strix cooler actually buy us? Obviously it gets you the ability to play games at lower image quality settings and lower workloads in a completely silent environment (as far as the GPU is concerned) but it also results in lower temperatures.

While the AMD Fury X card with its beefy water cooler is able to keep the GPU running at just about 56C under an extended gaming work load, the Fury cards with traditional air coolers are bit higher. We measured the Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury at 75C with stock settings, but the new ASUS Fury Strix DirectCU III cooler is able to best that by another 5C,  keeping the Fiji silicon at just 70C while looping through Metro: Last Light. Compare that to a similar cooler used on the Radeon R9 290X (DirectCU III version) and the GPU temperature of 81C – clearly AMD has improved power efficiency with Fiji.

ASUS Strix R9 Fury Sound Levels

Along with lower operating temperatures on the ASUS Strix R9 Fury card comes lower sound levels as well.

At idle, but Fury cards are dead silent in my estimation, registering only 30.5 dbA on our sound meter and in the office at as quiet an environment as we can create. Under a full gaming load, the same used to measure our temperatures, the ASUS DirectCU III cooler kept the gaming experience quiet as well, producing a total of 35.2 dbA (for the whole system). In comparison, the Sapphire Fury card ran a little quieter (at 32.3 dbA) but even the Fury X with its water cooler and pump whine registered as high as 36.4 dbA. Neither of NVIDIA’s reference cooler designs on the GTX 980 or GTX 980 Ti can run as quietly either, resulting in sound level readings of 36.7 dbA and 38.3 dbA respectively.=

Pricing and Availability

Since the introduction of both the AMD Fury X and Fury products, getting your hands on these graphics cards has been troublesome. It’s no secret that AMD has had production issues with the amount of High Bandwidth Memory that can by physically built, and that seems to be the limiting factor for AMD in this release. AMD surely knew that going into the launch, but it was running out of time to make Fiji a relevant and exciting product.

As a result, the ASUS Strix R9 Fury card remains difficult to find on Amazon.com or Newegg.

With an MSRP of just $549, the ASUS Strix R9 Fury is a very compelling card at this price point and would likely be a great selection for gamers targeting high frame rate 2560×1440 gaming or for those looking to enter the world of 4K screens. Obviously the R9 Fury supports the latest AMD Radeon features including XDMA CrossFire, FreeSync, Framerate Target Control, LiquidVR and more. If you want more details on the specifics of feature-level comparisons between the R9 Fury and NVIDIA’s GeForce lineup, check out the launch R9 Fury review for that.

Closing Thoughts

Overall I am very impressed with not only the AMD Radeon R9 Fury GPU, but also the implementation that ASUS put together in the form of the ASUS Strix R9 Fury OC. This graphics card combines the latest in AMD GPU technology, the fastest graphics memory sub-system in the world and a first-class PCB and cooler design into a package that any gamer would love to have. Performance comparisons put the ASUS Strix R9 Fury between the GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti, as expected, and AMD continues to push forward with impressive gaming results in upcoming DX12 titles.

Yes, there are things to be concerned about – limited availability and unimpressive overclocking – but neither of those traits is specific to ASUS or this implementation of the GPU.

The ASUS Strix R9 Fury will find a new home as the primary GPU in our AMD Radeon graphics test bed here at the PC Perspective offices and I think that any PC gamer would be lucky to say the same.

An awesome card…when you can find it.

Editor's note: I am looking for feedback on this review style. This shorter, 3-page look at the ASUS Strix Fury card focuses on the per-card differences rather than stock performance because it is so similar to previously discussed products. If you think this collection of information and presentation is good OR bad, let me know in the comments below. -Ryan

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