[section_title title=Introduction & Closer Look]
Introduction & Closer Look
Model: R9 380x Double Dissipation 4GB
UK Price: £223.81 @ Amazon UK (At time of review) – Click here to purchase!
US Price: $229.99 @ Amazon US (At time of review) – Click here to purchase!
If you follow our reviews (of course you do), then you will have seen that back in July 2015, we got to grips with one the current generation AMD cards, the XFX R9 380 DD 4GB graphics card; it even won a couple of awards in the form of our silver and design awards. Over the holiday period, however, AMD contacted us and asked us if we wanted to take a look at the slightly higher spec’d XFX R9 380X Double Dissipation 4GB graphics card. Of course in Play3r fashion, we never turn down an opportunity to take a look at anything we find interesting, but what’s actually different between the 2 different models, albeit super similar?
Both cards are based on the same 28nm process, in fact in reality; they both share the exact same graphics processing unit. The main difference between the 2 different models is the R9 380X features 256 more stream processing units; this includes 4 more compute units. This equates to 64 shaders per compute unit which should theoretically make the card slightly more powerful, albeit marginal depending on the application. A specification sheet can be found below to show the difference; yes there is only one difference between the R9 380 and the R9 380X.
So touching on the actual card we have in for review today (the XFX R9 380X DD 4GB), the first “actual” noticeable difference is the core clock speed of the GPU itself; at stock, the R9 380X DD is clocked 40MHz higher than the R9 380 DD. This means the R9 380X comes with a core speed of 1030MHz by default, with the memory being clocked at 1450MHz; a whole 25MHz higher than the lower spec’d model.
The XFX R9 380X Double Dissipation 4GB graphics card features a twin fan design with an all-black shroud which looks pretty tasty all things considered. Each of the fans can actually be unclipped out of the heat sink to aid in the cleaning, as opposed to them being firmly stuck in. Please note, taking them out too far and damaging the cable will void your warranty, so be warned!
Like most AMD R9 series cards, the XFX R9 380X DD 4GB is fitted with a dual slot cooler meaning it will use 2 x PCI blanking plates on your case; that is if you intend on using it inside a case, test benches are becoming very fashionable of late. Like the R9 380 version, XFX has included their Ghost 2 thermal technology (Double Dissipation) or Hydrocell as XFX like to call it. This is essentially a mini version of a vapour chamber in which liquid gets hot, turns into gas and gets transferred through the heat pipes, cooled by the air cooler and transferred back into the chamber. Sounds complicated, but in theory, it’s a very simple process.
To power the XFX R9 380X Double Dissipation graphics card, you will require 2 x 6pin PCI-e power cables from your power supply. XFX actually recommend a 650w unit in their specifications, with an absolute minimum of 550w. We feel depending on your other components, a solid 500-550w power supply will be more than ample enough, especially a high amperage single rail unit usually providing better and more stable power delivery.
Although the differences between the R9 380/380x range are minuscule in the grand scheme of things, the XFX R9 380x DD 4GB also doesn’t come with a back plate, which we’re actually ok with; as opposed to some reviews we did last year. Backplates may look good, but they usually put the cost up a little bit and for a card in this sort of price range, it can be forgiven. There is nothing worse than a £/performance card having chargeable extra’s that bear no increase in performance.
Want to run AMD Eyefinity across multiple monitors? No problem as today’s card comes with plenty of video/display connectivity. These include a dual-link DVI-I port and another DVI-D port, a single full-size DisplayPort 1.2 and a single HDMI 1.4a port. This card does support 4k resolutions, but it’s not really powerful enough to see the benefit while gaming; take that as you will.