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Sapphire Nitro R9 390 8G DS Review, Playing With Nitro

Final Thoughts

With a faster core and memory speed than R9 290 the Sapphire Nitro R9 390 is good for a Silver Bear Award and with a few more bells and whistles we could see a gold award.

The Sapphire Nitro R9 390 gives you the chance to snatch up a much improved GPU over the last generation. If you happen to be on R9 290 there’s really no need toAward_Silver upgrade but if you skipped R9 290 then the Sapphire Nitro R9 390 will be a real treat. The Sapphire R9 390 hammered 1080P gaming the most popular resolution and when we hit on 1440P it sailed right through the benchmarks without so much as a stutter,

While both AMD and Nvidia claim to have 4K ready cards they may be 4K capable but they aren’t ready for 4K at 60 fps + ultra quality settings yet, at least not with a single card.

We like the Sapphire Nitro R9 390 and at $339.99 (NewEgg) it’s a price that you won’t beat for an 8GB GDDR5 R9 390. The price / performance index makes it an attractive GPU but you are paying for 8GB of GDDR5 that you will be hard pressed to use more than 4GB of. If your gaming at 4K to do any real decent graphics you’ll need two of these puppies and then the 8GB of GDDR5 will be a good investment. As a general rule 1080P gaming you can get by with 2GB GDDR5, 1440P 4GB will get you by, and 8GB really isn’t needed for gaming until you hit 4k gaming and a single R9 390 card won’t cut it at 4K gaming unless you slash quality settings to the bone.

With a faster core and memory speed than R9 290 the Sapphire Nitro R9 390 is good for a Silver Bear Award and with a few more bells and whistles we could see a gold award.

ProsCons
  • Tri-X Cooling Solution
  • 8GB of GDDR5
  • Double Ball Bearings Fans
  • Intelligent Fan Control II
  • Premium Quality Components
  • 10mm Heatpipe
  • Black Diamond Chokes
  • Great at 1080P Good at 1440P
  • Same Core As R9 290X
  • No Frills Look
  • 8 GB only really useful if you put two of these in Crossfire-configuration

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11 comments

  1. Thanks for the review but what is up with 3 flavors of 960 but not a single 970 to compare it with? The 970 is what it is priced against, not the 960 or the 980. Just seems a little odd to me.

  2. Did you have to adjust the voltage to maintain that overclock?

    • Yes to maintain the 1175MHz OC the voltage had to be increased to almost the max. That’s a top end OC pushing the GPU to the limit and we wouldn’t recommend that for a 24/7 OC. Back that down a bit until voltages start to drop then hold there.

      • Just an update, .. I just picked up the new Sapphire Nitro r9 390 w/ backplate – and have got a stable 1100 / 1625 with no voltage increase. The fans are dead quite, and temps remain low – impressive!

  3. So I just got an the MSI r9 390 and have noticed that Battlefield 4 crashes on Ultra settings (1920×1200). Looked it up and it’s a problem with anti aliasing being turned on. Turned it off and it runs fine. That being said, I don’t want to turn it off. Would anyone here know if this could be a problem with the voltage and if I need to change that?

    • Update your sound, Video and chipset drivers by downloading them from the vendors website and make sure you have all the latest drivers. The Sapphire R9 390 8G played Battlefield at both 1920 x 1080 and 1920 x 1200 and didn’t crash. As far as it goes we can’t provide support on the MSI card or any other card for that matter. Support for your problem should be addressed to MSI and their support team who have their own support team. Usually it’s a old driver issue on one of your motherboard components or a compromised game file. So update all drivers and reinstall the game short of that get with MSI support.

      • Thanks for the response! I’ll try that out. For what it’s worth, I made a post on the amd forum and haven’t gotten a response, but I’ll try with MSI, too.

  4. Are you really not going to answer the “why no 970” question? I’d like to know too…

    • Perhaps if you formed a complete thought and organized a complete “Why no 970” question we could answer it. If it’s a why is there no 970 on the charts in a particular review then chances are a different reviewer got it. If it’s a why no 970 purchase choice, sure spend 50 – 70 bucks more and get one if you like they are a good card. If it’s a why do you prefer AMD we don’t we love video cards in general. It’s a simple fact that a video card takes a week or two to review correctly, as does a motherboard so not every component can be covered.

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