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Wednesday | March 3, 2021
XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X Review

XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X Review

It’s new GPU time again and today that means a release by AMD. They are filling a gap between their R9 380 and R9 390 with the 380X and we have an overclocked, custom designed model from XFX to review. We’ll be comparing it to the closest NVIDIA card in popular and recently launched games such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, welcome to our XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X Review.

XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X Review – The XFX R9 380X DD Black Edition Card (OC)

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As our sample was direct from AMD it arrived without retail packaging however based on previous experience we can expect the retail version to include some product documentation, maybe the odd power cable and a software CD.

Looking at the design of the XFX DD Black Edition card we see that it uses a familiar dual fan design with plastic shroud. The fans sit above a block of aluminum fins and running through that are four heat pipes which assist the copper GPU block in cooling our 380X. As always XFX go with a black PCB and located on the back edge of it are two 6pin power connectors which help supply the cards 190w.


Turning round to the outputs we find that XFX go with a configuration which has dual DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI. We get support for 4K displays through the HDMI/DisplayPort which can also  pass through audio signals and as with the other recent Radeon cards the 380X is capable of powering multi screen systems such as 3x1920x1080.

The 380X also supports all recent AMD features such as Mantle, FreeSync, Virtual Super Resolution and Frame Rate Target Control. This is a card which also supports DirectX 12/Vulcan and is compatible with GPU Compute software allowing us to assist our CPU in processing tasks (e.g. advanced effects in Photoshop).

As for the card configuration, this is a 28nm GPU with 128 texture units and 32 ROPS. It features 2048 stream processors and XFX go with a clock speed of 1030MHz with 4GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1450Mhz on a 256-bit bus.


XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X Review – Performance

Testing was performed on the Intel Core i7-5960X running on an X99 board with 16GB of DDR4 and a Samsung 850 Pro SSD. Windows 10 was the OS and all games along with the OS were patched.

NVIDIA Driver: 358.91
AMD Driver: 15.11 Beta


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XFX AMD Radeon R9 380X Review – Conclusion

Starting as we always do with build quality and design the XFX card does pretty much everything right. It would be nice to have them use a metal heatsink cover or maybe add an LED here or there but all the key aspects are done well. Two low noise fans, plenty of heatpipes and a copper GPU block. The outputs should suit most consumers, a black PCB always looks good and the card has a factory overclock which is great. If we could change one aspect, that would be the power connectors. Ideally they should point out of the top of the card…and the heatsink cover could be about 1cm shorter than it actually is. In a compact build that could make a lot of difference.

In terms of performance, at the price point AMD is pitching the card, it performs well. The closest comparison from NVIDIA at the moment is their GTX 960 (the 4GB, OC models) and in the vast majority of games the 380X comes out on top as far as framerates go. The 380X does draw more power though and there are compact versions of the 960 available which might appeal to some. We also don’t quite understand why XFX haven’t set this card to run with the fans off when not gaming… thats a fairly common feature nowadays. Again that’s being a bit picky, the card runs quiet regardless of the task.

If you are looking to choose between the 960 and 380X for 2560×1440 gaming then it’s a pretty easy decision. AMD gives the best framerates, for 1080p gaming the two cards offer playable results so price may come into it a little more. Looking up the stack, the GTX 970 is £249 currently, so a good deal on that could make life a little tough for the more expensive versions of the 380X but, for now, assuming retailers/manufacturers hit the £180-ish price point which AMD were quoting in the run up to launch, the 380X is an ideal choice for gaming up to 2560×1440 resolution.

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Stuart Davidson


  1. I’m a fan of the tonga gpu….. even though my 285 is a lowered powered version of the 380/380x, it still performs rather admirably even for 4k gaming, though some games obviously i roll back to 1080p for the same of maintaining 60fps (there are plenty of games that sustain 45 min and 60fps average at 4k, though might not be the newest games).

    Considering the pricing in the states/canada, the 380/380x is an obvious winner compared to the 960… in terms of the 970… well considering pricing here for the most part, the 390 8gb cards (not the 390x) pretty much match up identically with the 970, winning some by more than just a margin of error…. and they at least here, sell cheaper than the 970’s.

    Still i find it rather weird how presented with the details, how so any people still feel inclined to pick up a 970 in spite of the facts.

    The other irritation i’m seeing is the big deal made about power consumption…. really….. are we really that worried over 30-60 watts difference in consumption? This of course not taking into consideration the fact that nvidia’s cards typically eat more power when under heavy opencl/cuda usage.

    I’ve just ran into WAY to many people moaning and whining and pointing fingers at amd about their power consumption for their gpus…. “OMG that gpu eats 90 watts more!” (when dealing with the highend models)…. and yet i’ve witnessed these people walk into a general store…. grab a 100 watt incandecent bulb off the shelf because it was a buck 50 and change…. instead of grabbing the 13 watt LED for 13 bucks or 30 watt CFL for 7 bucks…. That one 100 watt bulb just offset what they may have “saved” with their insistence on an nvidia gpu considerably… specially if they decide to continue using a number of these bulbs.

    I’m not saying amd doesn’t need to make their gpus more power efficient, but thier current values are not entirely out of line either unlike some previous models or even several nvidia products from the past. But what does one expect when using an older architecture on an old fab process…. that still manages to trade blows with nvidia’s much more power efficient models….

    • Matthew Curry

      people are insanely brand loyal to nvidia and intel

    • AS118

      It’s true. People don’t realize that AMD cards can be as little as 20-30 watts more power-hungry, and this is often for improved performance.

      If they OC’d their Nvidia card, it would consume as much power (or more) for a similar increase in performance.

      Plus, yes, even just 1 poorly chosen light bulb can use more power than their GPU. People really overstate the power use difference.

      Now granted, if you’re power supply constrained, and/or you want high-end SLI, Nvidia might be a better choice for you. If you only need 1 midrange card though, it’s not much of a difference.

  2. tyler1489

    I just bought this card because i have a shuttle xpc (micro-ATX) that is vertically challenged and the horizontal power connectors were a life saver, since i have enough room length wise. Or else I would have had to spend $600 for an r9 nano since nothing else amd would fit. I could have gone with nvidia gtx 970 mini from asus or gigabyte but I wanted to support team red since my experience with an gtx 960 2gb mini was underwhelming (even with an 100mhz OC) when upgrading from my HD 6850. I will admit the power savings was alot but I have a 500w psu silver certified now.

  3. AS118

    I feel like the XFX versions of the 380 and 380x are the best looking, but prices for the 380x fluctuate a lot, so I’m thinking of waiting for them to go down again before buying. They were literally at least $10 cheaper yesterday!

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