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MSI R9 380 Gaming 2G Review

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MSI R9 380 Gaming 2G Conclusion:

First, we have to get past the elephant in the room and say yes, what we have here today is a rebrand of the silicon used to power the Tonga-based R9 285. Although we have a rebrand that's not an MSI issue, but what AMD brings to the table with a newly minted name and a tweaked and enhanced core. What MSI has done is improve the card slightly by increasing the baseline clock speeds to improve overall performance to go with a newly named core.

MSI, for its part, has put together a comprehensive package that delivers performance in its price envelope. The R9 380 Gaming 2G performs well against what's most likely competition, the 2GB-equipped GTX 960. In just about every test, the R9 380, when compared to the GTX 960, was the card that delivered a higher level of FPS performance. Depending on the game, the margin varies, but in most cases the R9 380 is faster.

If the performance delivered is not up to par, you can always overclock or add cards to run in a CrossfireX configuration. Overclocking this card can happen either manually through any one of the myriad of utilities, including MSI Afterburner and MSI's own Gaming App that delivers a one stop shop for preset clock speed targets that you do not have to fiddle with. While not world breaking, this card delivers solid overclocking margins thanks to MSI's Military Class component selection; custom PCB; and large Twin Frozr V Super SU heat pipe-based cooling solution.

I was able to reach an overclock of +148MHz on the Antigua core and 1607MHz on the 2GB of GDDR5 memory for final clock speeds of 1148/1607MHz on the core and memory. Pretty solid results from a mid-range card. Cooling performance was a mixed bag until you see how the Torx fan-equipped Twin Frozr V cooling solution performs its magic. Equipped with a large S-shaped heat pipe along with the several smaller heat pipes, you get excellent cooling at both stock and overclocked settings, along with a nice noise profile that is dead silent during 2D loads.

At the end of the day, the R9 380 Gaming 2G is a card that compares well against the competition on both performance and in price metrics. Priced to move at $209.99, it's right on the price point of the GTX 960 to make that comparison even more relevant. Throw in all the MSI specific features, and you cannot go wrong with the R9 380 Gaming 2G.

 

Pros:

  • MSI design
  • Overclocking 
  • Low to no noise
  • Twin Frozr V
  • Military class components
  • Back plate

 

Cons:

  • Rebrands
  • Idle power consumption
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