Introduction & Closer Look
If you rewind time by around 6 months, you will remember the huge wave of speculation about AMD’s new flagship GPU range; is it going to be up to scratch? How will they compete with NVIDIA? OMG IS 4K GAMING HERE YET? etc. Coming back to our current time frame and the launch of the AMD R9 Fury/Fury X brought about big changes in the graphics card market; some for the better, some for the worse.
So what did AMD bring to the table? I mean the Fury X remains on the same 28nm manufacturing process as every other R9 series card which has been released, so what makes the latest AMD GPUs special? Well 3 simple words, High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM). What is it you ask? Well HBM is a new revolutionary type of memory chip which shortens the distance for information to travel. This is different to conventional GDDR5 as HBM is stacked and is connected via a series of TSVs (through-silicon vias) thus increasing bandwidth performance and eliminating memory bandwidth bottlenecks. The memory itself is produced and manufactured by SK Hynix who is very well known with their memory technology and advancements; Hynix memory chips are used by the majority of the top DRAM memory manufacturers.
Today we aren’t taking a look at just any AMD R9 Fury X, but XFX’s reference Fury X with a built in AIO closed loop with a 120mm radiator attached. Everyone has made jokes in the past about how hot AMD CPU/GPUs run, but I don’t think including an AIO as standard really does anything to silence the critics. Ignore them anyway; time to take a look at the card itself…
With this being a reference model, the difference between the aesthetics of this model and other brands is non-existent, but from first look, it screams “performance”! So as you can see, the R9 Fury X has the aforementioned closed loop water cooled 120mm radiator attached, which also includes a single 25mm thick generic 120mm cooling fan.
Looking at the card itself, it’s very “rectangular cuboid” with very clean lines; no overhanging heat sinks or wasted space here. The shroud has a black soft-to-touch plate which covers the majority of the card and is held in place with 4 x nuts.
To power this AMD red and black themed beast, you will need 2 x 8pin PCIe power cables from your power supply and it should be noted that we recommend a good quality unit, with a minimum of 600w available. The card itself under load is going to draw between 280-300w depending what kind of load you place on it, so take that into consideration.
Back when AMD released the R9 series graphics cards, they also got rid of those CrossFire “prongs” meaning that the cards running in CrossFire (motherboard permitting) interlink and connect via the PCI lane; this makes for a more efficient connection between cards and of course eliminates the need for a ghastly bridge. The Fury X runs at a native PCIe Gen 3, but this is backwards compatible with other iterations of PCIe lanes featured on older motherboards.
The AMD R9 Fury X sports a nice full cover back plate which fits in very nicely with the subtle black aesthetic. This has to be my favourite looking reference AMD cooler since…ever! Although I’m sceptical that an AIO is the “standard”, I can’t help but comment on how good it actually looks.
The rear I/O features 4 connections which support multi-monitor setups via AMD’s Eyefinity. This includes 1 x HDMI and 3 x DisplayPort inputs, but some may grumble at the lack of a DVI port; not us however! As you can also clearly see, this card is a dual slot card and due to the robotic rectangular cuboid shape, it won’t obstruct anything beyond the 2 x PCI slots needed.
Even the tubing looks good with its flexible, but sturdy plastic braiding…
At stock, the AMD R9 Fury X 4GB has a core clock of 1050MHz with 500MHz on the memory. At first glance, the memory clock may seem low to some, but this is HBM memory and is stacked on top of each other making it more efficient than GDDR5 memory. Although the technology is still in early development (depends how you look at it), the 4096 Bit memory bus is enough to make your eyes water with joy; you aren’t getting a memory bandwidth bottle neck on this card!
Let’s see how this bad boy performs shall we…