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

Test Rig & Benchmark Methodology

The OS we use is Windows 10 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.

Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows Vista occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.

We ran each test a total of 3 times, and reported the average score from all three scores. 

Test Rig

Test Rig
“Hexzilla”
Case TypeDIYPC Open Test Bench
CPUIntel Haswell E 5820k 4.4GHz
MotherboardASUS X99 Pro
RamKingston HyperX Fury 2400MHz (15 – 15 – 15 – 35)
CPU CoolerSilverStone Tundra TD02-E
Hard Drives480GB HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe SSD (OS Drive)
OpticalLiteon DVD Burner
GPUAsus Strix R9 390X Gaming 8G OC
Case Fans1 x 180mm Mosfet / CPU / Ram cooling fan
1 x 120mm PCI-E Cooling Fan
Docking StationsNone
Testing PSUSilverStone 1500W ST-1500-GS
LegacyNone
MouseRazer DeathAdder Chroma
KeyboardRazer BlackWidow Chroma
Any Attempt Copy This System Configuration May Lead to Bankruptcy

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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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