The launch of the R9 300 series has been a tough one. Not only was it released as a rebranded R9 200 series, it was then nailed by AMD itself by releasing the R9 Fury range. By themselves, they are a great progression from the original R9 200 releases, adding anywhere from 10-30% performance increase and the cost was more favourable than the Nvidia counterparts. The market for the R9 300 series is small, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers releasing new versions.
Today we have the pleasure of taking a look at the PowerColor Devil R9 390X. Featuring a hybrid cooling solution, Devil uses a blend of water and air to effectively cool its Grenada XT GPU and VRM configuration. In addition to its aggressive design that sets this card apart from others and as well as a custom cooling solution, it also boasts a factory overclock.
How will it compare against other graphics cards? Let’s find out.
Compared to most of the 390X cards that come equipped with a large air cooler, three fans and several large copper heat pipes, PowerColor decided to take a different approach with the Devil R9 390X. The card is configured with a closed-loop liquid cooler and 12cm radiator.
In addition, the company recognised that AMD’s GPU isn’t the only thermally-sensitive component and added a 12cm fan on the card to blow air over the memory modules and voltage regulation circuitry. However, the fan is mounted at a slight angle to allow for air to be pushed through the card towards the I/O plate, making the card almost a 3 slot width and installing a second card in Crossfire mode would be difficult on some motherboards with two close PCIe slots.
The shroud of Devil R9 390X is made of black plastic with some aluminium accents. The stylised shroud cover resembles the air intake of a high-performance sports car, and some of the angles make it appear stealth bomber-like.
PowerColor covers the back of its Devil card with a stylish aluminum plate. The backplate is a much slicker design than the previous ‘Devil’ models, adding splashes of grey and red colour to the ‘DEVIL’ logo in the center of the GPU heatsink retention screws. If your chassis is windowed and your colour scheme includes red, black or grey, this card will fit right in. However, the back plate sticks out a little too far, making it nearly impossible to release the PCIe card latch many motherboard vendors use to secure add-in boards.
Power is delivered through a 6-pin PCIe and a 8-pin PCIe power connections. This was a bit surprising to me, given the overclocked and water-cooled nature of the board, not to mention this GPU’s reputation for drawing significant current under load. There may be an issue for anyone with big fingers to try to release the connections due to the large overhang from the cooling shroud.
Located at the top of the PCB, there is a dual BIOS switch which allows the user to switch between Silent and Super Mode. The switch also offers a secondary choice for booting should there be any problems if an overclock goes too far.
The Devil R9 390X can drive up to four displays, though your connectivity options are limited. You get one DisplayPort connector, one HDMI output and two dual-link DVI ports. You can get 4K out of DisplayPort (at 60Hz) and HDMI (at 30Hz), but only 2560×1600 from DVI.
Graphics card vendors sometimes include value-adds to set their boards apart. Sometimes that’s a free game or a bundled poster. PowerColor instead gives you a large mouse pad with its DEVIL R9 390X logo.
For synthetic benchmarks, three of the popular synthetic benchmarks were used: Futuremark: 3DMark – Firestrike, Unigine: Heaven 4.0 and Unigine: Valley 1.0.
Popular games used for the gaming benchmarks are Metro: Last Night (2569 x 1440) at very high preset and Thief (2560 x 1440). Each test was conducted at least five times for better accuracy.
So there we have it, the latest card from the depths of hell. In term of performance, this card tackled the games very well. The only slight drawback is the high power consumption. If you’re currently looking for one of AMD’s cards, this card is a great choice.