AMD R9 380X Review – ASUS Strix 380X OC
Power, Noise and Temperature
The 380X has a TDP of 190W, but as we well know, GCN can sometimes be a very power hungry architecture when heat increases appreciably. Thankfully the Strix DCII design is still a capable design that's able to keep things within an ideal temperature range so that current and voltage leakage due to increased heat is kept to a minimum.
The new power tests are conducted using a normal gaming load, during a bout of Crysis 3, so as to show a more average power draw that you can expect. This test was performed by using a Keithly 2110-220 digital multi-meter that was measuring the PCIE power draw itself. Idle power draw was measured after 15 minutes of inactivity, again measuring the PCIE draw itself.
Power consumption is right on target. In fact, the actual power consumption during a typical gaming load comes in below what was quoted, a very nice surprise. Full Tonga was the choice for the high-end mobile part, albeit at lower clock-speeds, likely due to the higher quality yields and ability to be within and below it's TDP.
But what of the temperature while playing games? For this test we measured the temperature of all cards after playing Crysis 3 for 30 minutes though HWiNFO64. Idle temperatures were calculated using HWiNFO64 after 15 minutes of inactivity on the desktop before starting Crysis 3.
Noise is a large concern for any card, high performance or otherwise. Being that this is based on the famed DCII cooler, the expectation is that it'll be relatively quiet, even with the good temperatures that it's able to maintain. Noise levels were measured using a Triplett Mini Sound Level Meter pointed at an open case 100cm away. This measures entire system noise from an open test-bench.
0DB is impressive, but of course it's because the ASUS Strix is capable of a 0DB idle, meaning it itself doesn't make noise at all. We, of course, can hear the system in the background, but a 0DB idle mode is a very valuable thing that not all NVIDIA cards are necessarily capable of. The Titan X reference design itself can't even pull off such a feat.
AMD's R9 380X might not seem as if it's really needed in a market that's already saturated at nearly all price points with AIB's offering their own variants of the 380 and 960 that brush the lower end of the $239 price of the ASUS 380X OC. There can even be very good deals on the 390 and 970 that may only be a few tens of dollars more, if you're willing to make use of a rebate of some kind. But really, this just presents an opportunity for more choice for consumers. It's a fast enough card compared to it's direct market rival that it could become the choice for gamers looking for a decent 1440P and great 1080P gaming experience without breaking the bank.
$229 for the stock version and $239 for an OC after market card is a good proposition. MSI's R9 380 Gaming is already $229 without any rebates, and offers slightly less performance. Given the potential overclocking headroom, the 380X has even more value. The equivalent 960 with 4GB of VRAM is perhaps only around $219 on a good day, slightly less for performance that's, again, less. 4GB of VRAM is a valuable commodity, as we've seen in Black Ops III, The Witcher III, Batman Arkham Knight and many others that show that non-optimized games can sometimes use up available VRAM very quickly. So here, you get that at a decent price. This presents a conundrum indeed. But overall, it's a good performer that's able to fill a niche that may not have been there to begin with, but allows us to consider something faster for slightly more money. It's a win-win, even if you can only see it as a business decision on AMD's part. This is a good card marred by, perhaps, bad timing. It's still recommended for those looking for 1440P gaming at this price.