AMD Radeon R9 380 Review – The MSI Radeon R9 380 Gaming 2G
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AMD Radeon R9 380 Review – Performance
Installed on a Dimastech EasyXL Test Bench
Intel Wireless AC 7260
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate
Windows 8.1 64-bit
AMD Drivers: 15.15 Beta
The Witcher 3
First up for the performance figures, 3DMark FireStrike Extreme which allows you to compare this card with your own…
And now on with the gaming. We’ve tested today at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 primarily. High/max for the former and medium detail for 1440 res unless otherwise stated. All tests are real world gaming, not timedemos and of course the games are all patched to the latest version, like the OS and drivers are all up to date. Multiple runs were performed to ensure any random issues were removed from the final figures.
AMD Radeon R9 380 Review – Conclusion
Looking specifically at the R9 380 from MSI, what we have is a card built to a very high standard. The overall looks are good, that great mix of red and black. The larger size fans and PCB are impressive and little touches like the backplate really add to the quality feel of the product. The LED lighting is a nice bonus and in key areas the card impresses, such as the implementation of MSIs VRM design which shares the same Military Class 4 branding and components with more expensive models. MSI also offer a good software suite and their cooler is exceptional. It allows silent/fanless operation up to 60c and even when the fans do kick in they are whisper quiet. This is one of the quietest mid-range to enthusiast cards that we have tested.
In terms of performance, MSI’s chosen clocks of 1000/1400Mhz allowed us to game at 1920×1080 with no issues. High/Ultra/Max detail all the way (the term varying from game to game). Moving up to 2560×1440 was achievable, though some games like The Witcher 3 did require a switch to medium detail. Of course we were also able to play in 4k using games based on older engines like DOTA 2. The same will be true of LoL and StarCraft 2 for those who prefer those titles.
As for the R9 380 itself… well, it’s a R9-285 isn’t it. This version is clocked a bit higher than the average 285 so we get approximately 400 points more in 3DMark but other than that, it’s the same technology in a slightly different box. Maybe it’s nice for AMD to have some branding which they feel goes top to bottom but all it really does is confuse consumers. Especially when the likes of the new R7 370 which is based on the R7 265…which was based on the 7850… consumers on that 7850 going to buy a 300 series card could look at the R7-370 and think they are getting an upgrade. Its 3years and two product rebrands since they bought their card after all. Yet the GPU inside is essentially the same. (NOTE: That’s not to say that the R7 370 is a bad card… in fact the Pitcairn GPU config lasting as long as it has is quite an achievement… it’s just becoming a mess for the end user. Especially those upgrading on a 2-3 year cycle)
As R9 380s go, the MSI Gaming 2G model is an impressive card. It allows us to game at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 with good detail levels, even reaching up to 4k gaming given the right titles. Great looks and an exceptional cooler mean that the card gets our Recommended award.