Four Custom R9 380X Cards Leaked
Later this week we’re due for the launch of the R9 380X, the full Tonga XT (renamed to Antigua XT) graphics processor from AMD, but before then we’re obviously going to get some leaked information about some custom boards; because internet. Ever since September 2014 and the R9 285 Tonga GPU, we’ve been expecting a full Tonga XT chip to grace the AMD lineup–for some reason that never came, until now that is. It’s possible that AMD just did not have a viable strategy for the card since it might have had undesireable power consumption and performance to the GTX970/GTX980 or possibly even undercut the performance of the R9 290, their at the time current second tier card.
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But with time and efficiency improvements to the Hawaii and Fiji cores, AMD have been able to provide an increase in performance and efficiency of chips across the board, which means the space around $249 has opened up, and NVIDIA does not currently have anything to fill it with. Enter AMD, who have stepped in to offer a more capable GCN card with DX 12 support, Colour Compression and Asynchronous compute capabilities.
The good news is that the R9 380X is launching at the same price it’s cut down Tonga Pro version was selling at–$249. This is the sweet spot in terms of price and performance in graphics cards, as it’s the price range with the most volume of sales. On the leaked table we have Gigabyte WindForce 2X, the XFX OC Double Dissipation, Asus STRIX Gaming OC as well as the Sapphire Nitro versions of the Radeon R9 380X. All cards will be powered by dual 6-pin connectors, except the Sapphire Nitro which will have an 8+6 power configuration since it will come out the box overclocked to 1000MHz. This is for a card that runs at a boost clock of 1000MHz, so expect the Nitro to possibly have a better boost clock than the others at factory settings.
The Antigua XT GPU comes with 2048 stream processors, 128 texture mapping units and 32 raster operation units, and although concrete memory speeds are unknown, we do know it will be 4GB GDDR5 on a 256-bit bus. It was originally speculated that it would be on a 384 bit bus, since technically the TongaXT core is capable of it ,but it is not being utilised. Power consumption will be a healthy 190W TDP which thanks to the GCN 1.2 architecture(which is the same as Fiji graphics core) means it is fully compliant with Colour Compression, Vulkan API and DirectX 12 API. For those wanting to ride the ACE wave into DX 12, it also features 8 ACE units.
I personally think that the the card might offer close to GTX 970 performance, but at only $249, it might start to steal away some sales of the GTX 970, which has been by far the best price to performance king. More so, NVIDIA just does not have anything in the $249 price range, which means that it may be forced to shore up market share by price cuts(which they have rarely done) or introduce a new GPU (GTX 960 Ti anyone?) to the mix to compete. Look to reviews out later this week to determine if the R9 380X holds the promise of achieving good performance at a palatable price tag.