With all of the AMD R9 290/290x/390/390x graphics cards, they all have their limitations due to the sheer amount of power used by the technology itself and along with this comes other limiting factors such as heat. ASUS have done a stellar job in taming the R9 390 powerhouse with its latest Direct CU III cooling technology and have given the STRIX a nice overclock out of the box. Can it, however, be pushed further? That’s what we love doing best at Play3r; squeezing out extra performance out of hardware!
Coming equipped with stock clocks of 1150/1500MHz (core and memory respectively) and a further OC mode via the ASUS GPU Tweak II software of 1170/1500MHz, I wasn’t expecting too much initially, but as I put my overclocking hat on, I set to work…
I managed to squeeze an extra 40MHz on the core which might not sound a lot, but the R9 series are notorious for not going past 1200MHz on stock cooling; anything higher would throw up artifacts. Overclocking the memory was a tedious task to say the least with ANY extra MHz giving me artefacts which is a huge no-no from me; that being said 1500MHz out of the box is still very good since it is 6000MHz effectively.
Although the overclocking wasn’t exactly fruitful, this is more of a limitation due to AMD’s design and is in no way the fault of ASUS; even if they have used their 8 way phase super alloy power II design. Also it should be noted that overclocking is never a “given” and each sample can and will perform differently!
Below are some comparisons between stock, other cards on test and the ASUS R9 390 STRIX OC with our applied overclock of 1210/1500MHz.