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XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Review

Price: $229

XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Introduction:

A giant performance and price gap sits squarely between the GTX 960 and GTX 970 that presents an opportunity for AMD to fill with its latest card, the R9 380X using the GCN1.2 architecture. Currently costing between $179 to $219 (depending on the card), the GTX 960 is going to cost between $120 to $130 less than the GTX 970 at roughly $339. At $229, the R9 380X sits comfortably between the two price points.

XFX offers several different iterations of its R9 380X product stack. The one we will be looking at today is part number R9-380X-4255, or more affectionately known as the R9 380X DD XXX OC. This version comes with a factory overclocked core running at 990MHz with 4GB of GDDR5 memory running at an effective data rate of 5700MHz. It is not the top clock speed model in the product stack, but a good mid-range offering that gets you a small boost in core clock speed for that last bit of FPS push. Sporting a pretty broad feature set, this GCN 1.2 based card supports FreeSync technology, Frame Rate Target Control, Virtual Super Resolution, PowerTune Technology, CrossFireX, and more.

After looking at how the R9 380 performed, it looks like AMD is going to the well again and using the enhanced Tonga core seen on the R9 285 and R9 380 to bolster the performance in the $220-$240 price point. Let's dig into the XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC and see what it has to offer.


XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Closer Look:

Graphically, the packaging on the XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC is interesting with a diamond shaped design in the background. Up at the top is the XFX logo, while at the lower left you see that what we have is an AMD-based video card and is an R9 380X video card. At the bottom right, you get a list of both AMD (4GB of GDDR5 memory) and XFX specific features. On the back you see the list of what is inside the package along with specifics on both the R9 380X and the AMD specific features.

Inside the box you get an open faced cardboard box that holds the video card and accessory bundle. The bundle includes the driver disc, install guide,and  a pair of dual 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PEG adapters to power the card should your power supply not have a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connections. It's a slim bundle when you look at it at face value, but at this point most of us will be using DVI monitors and no longer need a display output adapter. Either way, you get the accessories needed to get up and running.




Equipped with XFX's Ghost 3.0 Double dissipation cooling solution, we can get an idea on how the R9 380X will accomplish the task of cooling the Antigua core down. From the front, a pair of 90mm IP-5X fans are used to force air through the Ghost 3.0 Double Dissipation cooling solution. Looking closely, you can see the XFX logo at the back end of the two-piece shroud. The side views show that the main fin array covers the vast majority of the PCB from front to rear on the card. This design helps spread airflow over the bulk of the heat generating components that make up the voltage control and distribution circuits. An interesting move for this generation is the tool-less removal of the dual IP-5X fans from the two-piece shroud. By using this design it allows the end user to get a clearer shot at the fin array to remove the dust bunnies that eventually take up residence under the fans. If you still need to pull off the shroud, there are four screws on each half of the shroud. Coming in at 9.2 inches long, the R9 380X easily will fit into smaller chassis.




Display connectivity consists of a pair of dual link DVI-D ports, a single HDMI 1.4a port, and a full size DisplayPort 1.2 port. With this configuration, you get Eyefinity using up to six panels and 4K support up to 60Hz when using the DispalyPort 1.2 port. The I/O bracket is well suited for venting the thermals from the 28nm core. The XFX logo is prominently featured here. The back end of the card is open to allow airflow out from under the Double Dissipation shroud. The shroud does extend slightly over the back end of the card, helping dump the airflow out from under the shroud.

Power needs are supplied to the XFX R9 380X through a pair of 6-pin PCIe connections on the rear end of the PCB rather than at the top of the PCB. Aesthetically this works better when routing power to the card. With 150W of power coming in through the dual 6-pin plugs and 75W through the PCIe slot, you get up to 225W supplied to the card. XFX lists the minimum power supply needed for this card as 750 watts and recommends an 850 watt power supply as the preferred size power supply. I think that's a little on the aggressive side based on the 190W TDP, but if you are looking to run a pair of these cards in a CrossFireX configuration then it should fit the bill just fine. Due to the ability to transfer the data through the PCIe bus, a CrossFire bridge connection is no longer needed when running a CrossFireX configuration. A nice step forward from AMD.



Stripping the Ghost 3.0 Double Dissipation cooling solution off the PCB, you get an idea as to how XFX has implemented the solution. XFX has moved up to 90mm IP-5X fans on the last couple of cards I have looked at using this solution to improve airflow at a given speed and reduce the noise level of the card even further. The two-piece shroud comes off easily with four top mounted screws per side, making access to the fin array infinitley more accessible. XFX is using four heat pipes running over a copper contact plate to transfer the thermal load into the fin array. Two run forward and two run to the back of the card. Looking at the fin array, the heat pipes are partially exposed as they run through the fins opening up some surface area for direct airflow. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory is cooled by direct airflow rather than using a baseplate that covers not only the GPU, but the memory.




AMD's Tonga/Antigua core is built using TSMC's 28nm process. Antigua is an enhanced version of the Tonga Graphics Core Next architecture, packing five billion transistors into an 366mm2 die. Inside the die are 2048 streaming processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit memory controller handling the onboard 4GB of GDDR5. The standard clock speed for the R9 380X is 970MHz, while this factory overclocked sample from XFX sports a 990MHz core clock speed. Elpida GDDR5 memory, 4GB in total, is used on this R9 380X and is running at 1425MHz, or an effective 5700MHz data rate.



It looks like the enhanced Tonga core equipped with a larger frame buffer should easily deliver on the performance targets set for it.

  1. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC: Specifications & Features
  3. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  4. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Testing: Metro: Last Light, GTA V, Project CARS
  5. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Testing: Crysis 3, Far Cry 4
  6. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Testing: Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed Unity, Witcher 3
  7. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Testing: Unigine Heaven 4, 3DMark
  8. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Testing: Temperature & Power Consumption
  9. XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC: Conclusion
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