PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4GB Review (AXR9 380 4GBD5-PPDHE): The Affordable 4GB Solution.

Test Rig

Test Rig
“Hexzilla”
Case Type
CPU
Motherboard
Ram
CPU Cooler
Hard Drives
Optical Liteon DVD Burner
GPU
Case Fans 1 x 180mm Mosfet / CPU / Ram cooling fan
1 x 120mm PCI-E Cooling Fan
Docking Stations None
Testing PSU
Legacy None
Mouse
Keyboard
Any Attempt Copy This System Configuration May Lead to Bankruptcy

Benchmarks

Unigine Heaven

Heaven Benchmark with its current version 4.0 is a GPU-intensive benchmark that hammers graphics cards to the limits. This powerful tool can be effectively used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions, as well as check the cooling system’s potential under maximum heat output. It provides completely unbiased results and generates true in-game rendering workloads across all platforms.

Heaven

Unigine_2560

In Unigine Heaven 4.0 the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G ran a 22.4FPS at the uber resolution of 2560 x 1440.

Unigine_1920

The PowerColore PCS+ R9 380 4G hit 36 FPS in Unigine Heaven 4,0 at 1920 x 1080 taking it’s thus far traditional place in third position on the charts.

Settings for Unigine Heaven

Unigine Heaven Settings

1920 x 1080 2560 x 1440
  • Preset: Custom
  • Quality: Ultra
  • Tesselation: Extreme
  • Stereo 3D: Disabled
  • Multi Monitor: Disabled
  • Anti Aliasing: 8x
  • Full Screen: On
  • Resolution: Custom
  • Preset: Custom
  • Quality: Ultra
  • Tesselation: Extreme
  • Stereo 3D: Disabled
  • Multi Monitor: Disabled
  • Anti Aliasing: 8x
  • Full Screen: On
  • Resolution: Custom

3DMark Testing

FireStrike

FireStrike

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today.

FireStrike Extreme (2560 x 1440)

3DMark_Firestrike_Extreme_A

The PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G gave us a score of 3785 in FireStrike Extreme coming in ahead of the GTX 960 pack and behind it’s older brother the R9 290.

FireStrike (1920 X 1080)

3DMark_Firestrike_A

In Firestrike (1920 x 1080) the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G came in at 8389 and it’s quickly becoming obvious the R9 380 4G was designed to best the GTX 960 pack and compete on a level pricing field.

3DMark Skydiver

3DMark_Skydiver

These GPU’s are really overpowered for Skydiver but we include the results in case you have an older GPU and want to compare. The PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G hot a good score of 27204 which puts it in third spot on the charts.

Bioshock Infinite

Set in 1912, the game has protagonist, former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the floating air city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for most of her life. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two become involved with the city’s warring factions: the nativist and elite Founders that rule Columbia and strive to keep its privileges for White Americans, and the Vox Populi, underground rebels representing the underclass of the city. During this conflict, Booker learns that Elizabeth possesses strange powers to manipulate “Tears” in the space-time continuum that ravage Columbia, and soon discovers her to be central to the city’s dark secrets.

Bioshock

Bioshock_1920

At 1920 x 1080 the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 is unstoppable and it churned out 83.5FPS holding its spot in third.

Bioshock_2560

We cranked the resolution up to 2560 x 1440 (1440p) and the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4GB cruised past the GTX 960’s and threw 63.4 FPS.

BioShock Settings

1920 x 1080 2560 x 1440
  • DirectX 11
  • Ultra Quality
  • DODD Enabled
  • FXAA Enabled
  • DirectX 11
  • Ultra Quality
  • Dodd Enabled
  • FXAA Enabled

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4™ on PC, powered by the advanced technology of DICE’s proprietary Frostbite™ 3 engine, blurs the line between game and glory. With dynamic destructable environments, vehicular combat, and the chaos of all-out-war with 64 players, Battlefield 4 on PC is an unmatched interactive experience.

In addition to its hallmark multiplayer, Battlefield 4 features an intense, dramatic character-driven campaign that starts with the evacuation of American VIPs from Shanghai and follows your squad’s struggle to find its way home.

There is no comparison. Immerse yourself in the glorious chaos of all-out war, found only in Battlefield.

Battlefield 4

Battlefield4_1920_A

Battlefield 4 is tough on video cards but the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4GB put up 51.49 FPS and has been keeping third spot on the charts.

Battlefield4_2560

Upping the resolution in Battlefield 4 pulled the PowerColor R9 380 4G within 2 FPS of the GTX 960 pack and all the cards turned out acceptable FPS for solid to the eye graphics. (30 FPS is considered rock solid to the human eye)

Battlefield 4 Settings

`1920 x 1080 2560 x 1440
  • Graphics Quality: Custom
  • Texture Quality: Ultra
  • Texture Filtering: Ultra
  • Lighting Quality: Ultra
  • FX Quality: Ultra
  • Post Process Quality: Ultra
  • Mesh Quality: Ultra
  • Terrain Quality: Ultra
  • Terrain Decoration: Ultra
  • Antialiasing Deferred: 4x MSAA
  • Antialiasing Post: High
  • Ambient Occlusion: HBAO
  • Graphics Quality: Custom
  • Texture Quality: Ultra
  • Texture Filtering: Ultra
  • Lighting Quality: Ultra
  • FX Quality: Ultra
  • Post Process Quality: Ultra
  • Mesh Quality: Ultra
  • Terrain Quality: Ultra
  • Terrain Decoration: Ultra
  • Antialiasing Deferred: 4x MSAA
  • Antialiasing Post: High
  • Ambient Occlusion: HBAO

FarCry 4

The game follows Ajay Ghale, a young Kyrati-American of Nepali origin who returns to his native country of Kyrat (presently in Nepal) to spread his deceased mother’s ashes. Kyrat was an autonomous state in the Himalayas ruled by separate Kyrati Kings. Kyrat is derived from Kirati, a collection of Himalayan people originating from Tibet bordering the Himalayas. Ajay finds the country in a state of civil war between Kyrat’s Royal Army led by the country’s eccentric and tyrannical king Pagan Min and the Golden Path, a rebel movement fighting to free Kyrat from Min’s oppressive rule. The choices Ajay makes will determine the fate of Kyrat. This story has been inspired by the ten-year-long Maoist insurgency in Nepal.

FarCry 4

FarCry4_1920

FarCry 4 is a GPU crushing game at high settings and the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G squeeked by the GTX 960 pack by about 1 FPS and hit 34.7FS so lets see what happens at 1440p.

FarCry4_2560

At the higher resolution of 1440p the extra memory on the PowerColor PCS+ R9 390 4G pulled about 5 FPS ahead of the GTX 960 pack.

FarCry 4 Settings

1080p 1440p
  • Graphics Quality: Custom
  • Motion Blur : On
  • Textures: Ultra
  • VSync: Off
  • Shadow: Ultra
  • Post FX: Ultra
  • Geometry: Ultra
  • Vegetation: Ultra
  • Terrain: Ultra
  • Water: Ultra
  • Environment: Ultra
  • Ambient Occlusion: HBAO+
  • Anti-Aliasing Quality: MSAA-4X
  • Godrays: Volumetric fog
  • Fur : On
  • Trees relief : On
  • Graphics Quality: Custom
  • Motion Blur : On
  • Textures: Ultra
  • VSync: Off
  • Shadow: Ultra
  • Post FX: Ultra
  • Geometry: Ultra
  • Vegetation: Ultra
  • Terrain: Ultra
  • Water: Ultra
  • Environment: Ultra
  • Ambient Occlusion: HBAO+
  • Anti-Aliasing Quality: MSAA-4X
  • Godrays: Volumetric fog
  • Fur : On
  • Trees relief : On

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light is the sequel to Metro 2033. Published by Ukrainian game studio 4A Games, it is set in the same post-apocalyptic future as its predecessor, where mankind tries to survive in the underground of Moscow’s Metro. The story takes you through claustrophobic tunnels where you fight both humans and mutants. Each step takes you closer toward revealing a dark future and the possibility to prevent it.

Just like in the last title, the 4A Engine is used. It fully supports DirectX 11, Tessellation and Physics, we test with Physics turned off.

Metro

Metro_1920

Metro Last Light is another of those GPU killing games at high settings but the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G easily hit 43.1FPS at 1080p.

Metro_2560

There aren’t many GPU’s that can run Metro Last Light at high settings at 1440p and for once the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G fell short of 30 FPS but for a GPU in the $230 dollar range that’s pretty good.

Metro: Last Light Settings

1080p 1440p
  • Quality: Very High
  • Texture Filtering: AF16x
  • Motion Blur: Normal
  • SSAA: On
  • Tesselation: Very High
  • Quality: Very High
  • Texture Filtering: AF16x
  • Motion Blur: Normal
  • SSAA: On
  • Tesselation: Very High

CRYSIS 3

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 is the Fourth installment in the Crysis series. It is was released on February 19th, 2013 in North America, and February 21st in Europe. It was made using CryENGINE 3 and published by Electronic Arts.

Just an editorial note, Crysis 3 running CryEngine 3 at very high settings kills the FPS of GPU’s so badly no real comparison can be made so we use medium settings. When EA catches up with reality and better optimizes the game we’ll gladly retest at Uber High Settings.

Crysis3_1920

Running Medium Settings at 1080p the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G turns in a respectable FPS of 48.42 coming in 2 1/2 – 3 FPS ahead of the GTX 980 pack.

Crysis3_2560
Crank Crysis 3 up to 1440p where memory is more of a crucial factor the PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4G shows the advantage of a wider bus (than the GTX 960s) and having a full 4GB of memory and come in around 4 FPS higher than the GTX 960 cards. We really aren’t making a direct comparison between the R9 290 and GTX 980Ti when it comes to the GTX 960’s and R9 380, the enthusiast cards are there for comparison but lets keeps scoring comparisons to cards in the same price range.

Crysis 3 Settings


1080p

1440p
  • Anti Aliasing: MSAA low 2x
  • Texture Resolution: Medium
  • Vsync: No
  • System Spec: Medium
  • Game Effects: Medium
  • Object: Medium
  • Particles: Medium
  • Post Processing: Medium
  • Shading: Medium
  • Shadows: Medium
  • Water: Medium
  • Anisotropic Filtering: 2x
  • Motion Blur Amount: Medium
  • Lense Flares: Yes
  • Anti Aliasing: MSAA Low 2x
  • Texture Resolution: Medium
  • Vsync: No
  • System Spec: Medium
  • Game Effects: Medium
  • Object: Medium
  • Particles: Medium
  • Post Processing: Medium
  • Shading: Medium
  • Shadows: Medium
  • Water: Medium
  • Anisotropic Filtering: 2x
  • Motion Blur Amount: Medium
  • Lense Flares: Yes

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The Steam Deck – Valve delivers an excellent PC handheld

Valve is an interesting company that seems to try to be a lot of things at the same time. Games company, software hub/store and hardware company. Valve is all of these. When it comes to hardware the company has had mixed success. I think many of us remember the Steam Machines. These compact computers running SteamOS, a Linux based OS, were supposed to make Windows PC’s obsolete for gaming. They didn’t succeed. Valve also released a specific controller, the Steam Controller, which also did not exactly set the world on fire. In hindsight though both these products have paved the way for the product I am testing today, the Steam Deck, Valves attempt to compete with the Nintendo Switch in the handheld market.

3 comments

  1. Jaster Mereel

    Says same core as the 290 .. it’s not … its the 285 …

  2. PowerColor Graphics cards are a hidden wonder up against the Gigabyte’s MSI’s and Asus’s of the world. I own a couple of them. Their 270x Devil card was fantastic, I’m getting one of these, cant’ wait. Thanks for the review

  3. This review helped me pull the trigger on my purchase over the cheapest NV MSI 960 2G card for only $5 more. There’s a lot of commenters online that make it difficult for builders who haven’t bought a card in awhile, making claims that these cards run too hot and requiring a beefy PSU to be safe.

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