MSI R9 390X Gaming 8G Graphics Card Review


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It’s very apparent from the general consensus across varied communities that people are unhappy with AMD and their “refreshed” 300 series, but should they be unhappy? Not in our opinion as not only have AMD actually “improved” upon the manufacturing process, but they have also upped the specs a little with more VRAM and of course the big kicker, lowered the launch RRP prices across the board. That is warrant enough to consider the 300 series as a successful launch, but each to their own!

In comparison to the NVIDIA GTX 980 which needs to be noted is around £100 more expensive than the R9 390X, the MSI 390X Gaming 8G not only comes close to matching it, but it actually beat it in a couple of tests, which begs the question, better drivers or better manufacturing? Our answer is most likely a little bit of both, but no-one should or even logically can complain at the performance difference when comparing the pricing between the 2 different cards.

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Although these AMD high end cards still kick out a lot of heat and power draw, the MSI Twin Frozr V cooler featured on the R9 390X Gaming 8G is absolutely superb. Not only is it the best iteration of the cooler we have seen thus far at Play3r, but it cools effectively and without the original reference R9 290X’s jet engine like acoustics. The card might be a little big and a 2.5 slot cooler isn’t exactly bad for a premium card, it makes up for its big presence in terms of design, aesthetic glory and did I mention it feels solid? Some cards coolers feel plasticky, but the MSI version with its regal back plate feels like a heavy, robust thing of beauty.

£350 is no small price tag either, but high end performance cards are never cheap, nor will they ever be as long as AMD and NVIDIA remain top of the pile, locked in heated battle which gives every community a fan boy fight every now and again. We do believe though that the price is more than justified by the performance and given AMD’s features such as VSR (Virtual Super Resolution) which allows down sampling to give 4k resolutions at say for example, a 1080p monitor. It is AMD’s version of the NVIDIA DSR and with FreeSync monitors now on the shelves, it’s more of a reason to spec up and AMD graphics card and monitor combination. It seems whatever NVIDIA can do, AMD can at least do something similar and it’s nice to see healthy competition.

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Final Verdict: Overall, would we buy this card? In a heartbeat and if this was released in-line with the GTX 980 range of graphics cards from NVIDIA, we might have had a different outcome on the NVIDIA v AMD war; I still can’t fathom why they took so long with their “refresh”, but either way, MSI have a fantastic addition to the gaming world with the R9 390X Gaming 8G 8GB graphics card and those wanting fantastic performance at a middle ground price, you will not be disappointed!

Big thanks to MSI for sending in today’s sample.

  • Gold Award – An easy gold award for MSI today as the MSI R9 R390X Gaming 8G is nothing short of fantastic when combining the performance and pricing together.  If only this had been launched months ago, it would have made a bigger impact.
  • Recommended Award – We would buy one, so if you are looking for a graphics card with superb bang for buck, then it’s a no brainer decision, right?



  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value



– Nicest Twin Frozr V revision yet
– Feels premium
– Performs brilliantly for the price
– Offers up to 4 way CrossFire
– Sweet overclock out of the box
– Not far off a NVIDIA GTX 980 in terms of performance


– Takes up 2.5 PCI-e slots
– AMD still aren’t very power efficient
– “recycled” 290X chip

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