While the current buzzword is “4K resolution”, admittedly most gamers won’t really be looking at going for that high of a resolution. The majority would only be playing on full HD monitors, as most of them are cheap to own, not to mention the plethora of choices available. Hence that is the target of the graphics card that we will be taking a look at today, the ASUS R9 380 STRIX OC.
The ASUS STRIX is a line of premium graphics card by ASUS that uses an intelligent feature. When it’s not under any load, the fans turn off, cooling the card passively only by its cooler. Hence the card is marketed as a “0db” card. While the fans do work when under load (read: gaming), you would certainly be too busy with the game to notice the noise.
The ASUS R9 380 STRIX OC comes in a rather large black box that features a mechanical steampunk owl on the front of it. Inside, the card is safely enclosed in a foam cocoon that makes sure the card won’t rattle or move around during transport. A black box containing a driver DVD as well as an ASUS STRIX sticker can be found in the box.
Size Does Not Matter
The ASUS R9 380 STRIX OC feels quite heavy when you first take it out of its anti-static bag. It gives an aura of premium and sturdiness, so we like that. One thing that we notice is that it feels and looks smaller than its bigger brother, the R9 390, and yet it’s only 3cm shorter at 27cm. Maybe it’s the dual fan configuration compared to the triple configuration.
Since the card features a passive cooling function, the heatpipes and radiator grills are rather large, and is the main reason that the card is so heavy. This means that the heat dissipation is efficient even without the use of the fans.
Due to its weight, the 380 Stric OC also comes with an aluminium backplate for support, protecting the PCB from bending under the cooler’s weight over time. The backplate has the text ‘ASUS’ on it, as well as DirectCU II etched on it.
A Rose by Any Other Name
The R9 380 is based on AMD’s previous card, the AMD R9 285 with the Tonga chipset. Nothing much has changed, as the card is still based on a 28nm process, with 32 ROP. The card is clocked at 990 Mhz, although in OC mode you can boost it up to 1,010 Mhz. The 2GB GDDR5 VRAM runs at 5,500 Mhz with a 256-bit bus width. All of this runs at only 190w, making it quite power efficient.
Now while the card IS targeted only at full HD gaming, some of you might want to get another for better efficiency. The card does support multi GPU setup, namely AMD’s Crossfire. Best of all, you won’t need any crossfire cable with this baby. In addition, the low TDP means that the card only needs one 6-pin power connector to make it run.
The 380 STRIX OC supports the newly released DirectX 12 that’s made available with the launch of Windows 10, though at this time there is yet to be a game that supports DirectX 12. It also supports Freesync monitors, giving you Vsync capability without the sluggishness that comes with it.
A plethora of connectors can be found on the R9 380 STRIX OC, namely two Dual-Link DVI, a single HDMI and one DisplayPort. If you are still using an old VGA monitor, you can use a DVI to VGA converter that plugs into one of the DVI connector. The card supports AMD’s Eyefinity surround, although you need to use the DisplayPort if you want to.
The ASUS R9 380 STRIX performs well at HD resolution. Games can be run at high or medium high settings with little issue. However, only having 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM does lead to some sluggish gaming when we used a triple monitor setup, but then again that is not the what this card is for.
If you are looking for a decent card that can play most modern games and would last you a bit, the ASUS R9 380 STRIX OC would certainly fit the bill.
Price RM n/a
GPU: AMD RADEON R9 380
Memory: 2GB GDDR5 8 GB
Clock: 990 Mhz
Memory Clock: 5,500 MHz
Output: DVI x2, HDMI x1, DP x1
3D Mark: 3,711 (Fire Strike Extreme)
Verdict : Full HD goodness.