XFX has launched their latest Radeon R9 380 Crimson edition graphics card which is exclusively made for the Chinese market. The Radeon R9 380 was introduced back in 2015 so it makes no sense to talk about it as AMD will be launching their latest Polaris cards is a few months but it seems like the Crimson edition stands out from the rest of the 380 offerings as it has a neat feature added in side the BIOS which let's you unlock the card to a full Radeon R9 380X graphics card.
Image Credits: Expreview
XFX Radeon R9 380 Unlocks to a Radeon R9 380X
Almost every high-end or custom graphics card features a dual/triple BIOS design these days. Accessed by a small switch that is ideally located on the PCB, these BIOS allows users to save custom overclock profile, use factory configured settings for clock speeds / fan speeds or revert back to a stock profile if overclocking goes haywire. We have seen manufacturers store OC profiles in a second "OC BIOS" before but XFX went one step ahead and added a custom profile that let's you unlock the card to a full R9 380X graphics card for the price of a custom Radeon R9 380 graphics board.
The Radeon R9 380 Crimson edition is made for the Chinese market and will be available in the APAC region but US/EU consumers shouldn't expect the card to hit their retail stores. The Radeon R9 380 comes with 1792 SPs (Stream Processors) clocked at 990 MHz and 4 GB of GDDR5 memory that operates along a 256-bit bus. The R9 380 Crimson is powered by a single 8-Pin power connector and display outputs include Dual-DVI, HDMI and a single display port. Looking at the specifications, you would expect everything you see on a normal R9 380 GPU except, the second BIOS turns this in to a full Tonga XT GPU.
With the GPU fully unlocked, the graphics card gets 2048 stream processors clocked at 1040 MHz and memory clocked at 5800 MHz compared to 5700 MHz on the reference profile. The card features a fully custom design with a 4+1+1 phase PWM and a beefy cooler that is enough to keep the card cool under intense gaming loads. The card features a full red color scheme which is to represent the Chinese market that it is designed for. The card can further overclock to deliver better performance to gamers who don't prefer to use the available BIOS or they can tweak the unlocked core to faster clock speeds.
Looking at the benchmarks, both synthetic and gaming performance shows up to 10% increase with the unlock in place. The card performs great in all games and the 380X is already one of the best contender for 1080P AAA gaming. The card has idles of 55C and maximum load temperature of 70C with the unlocked BIOS loaded. You can see the gaming results for yourself below:
XFX Radeon R9 380 Crimson Edition Benchmarks (Image Credits: Expreview):
The Radeon R9 380 Crimson Edition by XFX is being sold in China for a price of $230 US which is about the price one pays for a reference Radeon R9 380X graphics card. The card is a good option for gamers as it offers a full custom cooling and PCB design. For those who want something better should wait for AMD's Polaris GPUs that are expected to be released in Summer of 2016 with up to 2.5 times the performance per watt as demoed by AMD at CES 2016.