MSI R9-390 Gaming 8G – AMD 300 series with a custom kick from MSI


Overclocking on AMD used to be fairly straight forward but with the new powertune features it can throttle you pretty quick if temps get out of line and that’s what many users were upset about with the original reference 290X and this is what I feel MSI is here to fix is by providing a cooler that can keep the chip cool will offer better clock capabilities and reduced throttling.

stk 3d11x OC 3D11x

The MSI Radeon R9-390 Gaming 8G starts life with a 1040MHz core clock and 1500 Memory which is 6000MHz effective memory clock.

As you can see the GPU moved up to 1165MHz and unfortunately voltage or any amount of tweaking could not get it farther without losing stability even just entering a benchmark, but being that I had issues with this BETA driver initially I could write that off as being an early driver and future could show much better results.

Memory could not push too far moving from 1500 (6000) to 1650 (6600) MHz which is nothing to scoff at but once again this could be the BETA drivers or even more so this could be the high memory density combines with the mem controller simply hitting its limit.


To measure the temperature of the video card, we used MSI Afterburner and ran Heaven Benchmark in a loop to find the Load temperatures for the video cards. The highest temperature was recorded. After looping for 10 minutes, Heaven was turned off and we let the computer sit at the desktop for another 10 minutes before we measured the idle temperatures.


GPU Temperatures Temperature (Idle/Load)
Nvidia GTX 690 32C/81C
Nvidia GTX TITAN 31C/67C
Nvidia GTX 780 30C/65C
Nvidia GTX 770 34C/79C
Nvidia GTX 760 31C/67C
MSI R9-290X Gaming 38C/78C
MSI R9-390 Gaming 8G 36C/72C

The GPU while being a hot one is not really so bad as the MSI cooler does some serious work taming the best and keeping it at a stable and even comfortable 72C under full loading for a long burn in session.

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  1. If I understood well, this card is basically at price of GTX970 yet it mostly it outperforms it, to a level sometimes just behind GTX980?
    Only thing I’m confused, will it support DirectX 12 as much as GTX970 does?

    • I believe so. Other R9 390s are made to support DirectX 12 so it is hard to see why not.

    • Actually all GCN cards have better DX12 support than Nvidia, because they have Resource Binding Tier 3, when 900 series has Tier 2. Nvidia has that 12.1 feature level, but it’s meaningless.

    • Outperforms the GTX970? Are you fucking blind or are you just another noob ATI fanboy?

      • Not sure if you’re intentionally being stupid, but in most of the benches presented, the 390 outperforms the 970; even if marginally.

        Seems you’re the one with the vision problems.

      • Also, ATI is a defunct brand and AMD hasn’t used the name for about five years now.

  2. Which card should I buy 390 or 970. I have 550 watts psu

    • I would say you should buy the 390 or the 390x (if you have the money), the only problem is that the driver is still in th BETA and can give some problems

  3. huh? 390x 330$? when launched? im seeing the 390 r9 at 330 right now. like right, now.

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