Asus Strix R9 Fury Graphics Card Review
   
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Asus Strix R9 Fury Graphics Card Review

October 7th, 2015 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

It’s taken us quite some time to get our hand on one of AMD’s latest Fury based cards, samples have been in short supply, in fact even retail samples have been in short supply! But thanks to Asus that’s all about to change, as today we will be taking a look at the Asus Strix R9 Fury. First let’s look at what AMD’s Fury card boasts, well it uses the new Fiji Pro GCN Core for starters, but probably the most important aspect is the use of HBM (High Bandwidth Memory), a high speed memory system developed by AMD. The odd thing here is that there’s only 4GB of it, this is due to a current technical limitation of the size of the modules. The stock card from AMD sports a clock speed of 1000MHz with its 4GB of HBM RAM running at 500MHz (1000MHz effective).

The Asus Strix R9 Fury that we have here today boasts a Custom Direct CU III cooler equipped with backplate and sports not only three 0dB fans but also (an industry-first) dual 10mm heatpipes! The card itself has a Core clock of 1020MHz and is still equipped with 4GB of HBM RAM running at 1000MHz effective. The card also has native support for the latest Graphics APIs such as DirectX 12, Mantle and Vulkan.

 

asus_logo-new ‘DirectCU III with Patented Triple Wing-Blade 0dB Fan Designdelivers maximum air flow with 30% cooler and 3X quieter performance. Auto-Extreme Technology with Super Alloy Power II delivers premium quality and best reliability. Pulsating STRIX LED makes a statement while adding style to your system. STRIX GPU-Fortifier relieves physical stress around the GPU in order to protect it. GPU Tweak II with Xsplit Gamecaster provides intuitive performance tweaking and lets you stream your gamplay instantly. 4GB 4096-bit high-bandwidth memory for higher bandwidth performance and less power consumption.’

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - box front ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - box back

 

The Asus Strix R9 Fury arrived at pcG in a good looking predominately black box adorned with the Asus Strix Owl. In addition to this, and the brand and product names we are informed that this card is 30% cooler (although I’m not sure what it’s compared to!) and 0dB Gaming. We are also subtly (not!) reminded that Asus is ‘The Best-selling and Most Award-winning Graphics Card Brand’.

Looking at the back of the box there’s a lot more information on the Strix card hiding within On the left side Asus breaks down that Direct CU III Cooler by way of a nice exploded view. Asus goes on to use this view to highlight the Industry-first Dual 10mm heatpipes, Backplate with GPU-Fortifier, STRIX LED and the Triple Wing-blade 0dB Fans. Below this there’s a basic specifications (see Specifications/Features below) and breakdown of the card’s outputs (x3 DisplayPort, x1 HDMI 1.4a & x1 DVI). On the right hand side there’s further information on the AUTO_EXTREME TECHNOLOGY and GPU TWEAK II with XSplit Gamescaster. In addition to this in the top right hand corner we can see that this card is supported by a 3 year limited warranty.

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - outer box (open) ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - inner box

 

On opening the box we find an inner black box that’s adorned with a smart looking STRIX logo. It was at this point that I noticed just how heavy the box was, I hope that’s not just the user manual! 😉

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - inner box (top tray) ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - inner box (GPU)

 

On opening the lid of that box we find that in the top there’s an Asus branded tray, containing the accessories outlined below. Removing the tray and the additional packaging we eventually find the Asus Strix R9 Fury nestling within soft foam and protected in an anti-static bag.

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - box contents

 

Within the tray we find the accessories shipped with the Strix R9 Fury, this comprises of a setup guide (Speed Setup), Driver CD, 8-pin – x2 6-pin power cable and a Strix sticker.

At the time of review the Asus Strix R9 Fury is retailing for approximately £510 on Amazon and comes with a 3 year warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Asus

Graphics Engine AMD Radeon R9 FURY
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
OpenGL OpenGL®4.4
Video Memory 4GB High Bandwidth Memory (HBM)
Engine Clock 1020 MHz (OC Mode)
1000 MHz (Gaming Mode)
Memory Clock 500 MHz
Memory Interface Digital Max Resolution:4096×2160
Resolution Digital Max Resolution:4096×2160
Interface DVI Output : Yes x 1 (Native) (DVI-D)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1 (Native)
Display Port : Yes x 3 (Native) (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
Accessories 1 x Power cable
1 x STRIX Laser Sticker
Software ASUS GPU Tweak II & Driver
Dimensions 11.8 ” x 5.4 ” x 1.57 ” Inch
30 x 13.7 x4 Centimeter

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury

 

Wow that’s a big one! That’s the first thought that came to mind once I had it in my hand (the Graphics Card that is!). The Asus Strix R9 Fury really is one big and heavy Graphics Card, at 300mm (L) x 137mm (H) x 40mm (D) and weighing in at 1076g it is in fact is one of the largest I’ve ever come across! Thankfully not only is it big and heavy, it’s pretty good looking too and being an Asus card it’s really well made. In fact it’s a little like a brick (and I don’t mean that in a bad way either), you could build a house using these Graphics Cards and it would likely be bomb proof! Let’s just hope that this size, weight and quality transfers into making the Asus Strix R9 Fury a great Graphics Card, I guess we will see… 😉

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - front ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - back

 

Looking at the top of the card we can see that the Strix R9 Fury is dominated by its three 80mm fans. These fans will actually not even spin until a certain temperature (seems to be around 60 degrees) is exceeded, meaning that you could well find yourself Gaming in complete silence! If you look closely at the second and third fan centre, you’ll see a smart Asus logo followed by a Strix Owl logo, yet the first fan sports no such coolness, I thought that was a little odd!? The top of the card is made up of three sections, black, red and Silver although the silver section makes the card look bigger at one end, which is kinda weird! Sticking out of the top and (far more noticeably) we can see one of those dual 10mm heatpipes.

Looking at the back of the card we can see where some of that feeling of quality and solidity comes from thanks to an full size beefy backplate. This not only looks good with its brand names and Owl logo, and with its central red surround around the GPU core; but it also helps to add a large degree of strength to the card, acting almost like a chassis from which everything else is built upon. In fact this is one of the best built card’s that I’ve had the pleasure of handling…

 

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - top ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - power sockets ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - bottom

 

Looking at the top of the card (the bit you look at in your Gaming Rig, assuming you’ve got a Window that is!) we can see that large 10mm heatpipe poking out of the centre, somewhat like a handle, well that’s what I used it as anyway! 😉 We can also see the smart red Strix inlay, I wonder if that’s going to illuminate!?

At the far end we find the two 8-pin power connectors, suggesting that this card means business perhaps! I really like this setup as to be honest easier, and the end result is that none of those (unsightly) spare cable ends end up flapping around in the wind any more! 🙂

Looking at the opposite side of the card we can see those massive 10mm heatpipes and what appears to be a smaller 8mm and 6mm heatpipe. Yet again we’re seeing signs that this card is trying everything it can to keep that toasty GPU within cool, and from what I’ve seen so far I’m pretty sure it’s going to succeed…

ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - outputs ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - end

Looking at the outputs for the Asus Strix R9 Fury we can see that it features x3 DisplayPorts 1.2 (Max Resolution: 4096×2160 @60 Hz), x1 HDMI 1.4a port (Max Resolution: 4096×2160 @24 Hz) and x1 DVI port (Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600 @60 Hz). The card also supports HDCP and up to a maximum of three displays. It’s a shame that there’s no support for HDMI 2.0, those with 4K televisions and no DisplayPort will be disappointed…

Looking at the far end of the card there’s really very little to see, except for the large heatsink and that massive 10mm heatpipe!

At this point I#m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The Asus Strix R9 Fury is one well built card, to say that’s it’s solid is an understatement to be fair. It certainly looks the part, lets crack on and see if it is the part…

 

Hardware Installation

 

Installing the Asus Strix R9 Fury into our New Test Rig was easy enough, mainly because our test case (Cooler Master HAF XB) has plenty of room to swallow this long Graphics Card. But you should check first before buying this GPU as at 300mm (L) x 137mm (H) x 40mm (D), it is a big card!

  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Cooler Master HAF XB Power Supply Corsair Professional Series AX 760i
    Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6 CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
    CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S RAM G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB
    Graphics Card Asus Strix R9 Fury SSD HyperX FURY 120GB

     

    ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - installed (above) ASUS STRIX R9 Fury - installed (side)

     

    With the card powered up we discover that the nice red Strix insert on the side of the card does indeed illuminate, white! In addition to this the illumination also pulsates on/off. Both of the power connectors also feature LED lights, that are both illuminating a brilliant white colour for now! Thanks go to Asus for not making these LEDs Red or Blue etc, white’s a nice neutral colour and should fit in well with most Gaming Rig Builds…

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    Our New Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 10 64Bit with all associated drivers also installed. The latest AMD Driver (AMD Catalyst driver 15.7.1) was then downloaded and installed and used throughout testing.

    I also installed Asus’s GPU Tweak II App that allows you to set one of three Modes (OC, Gaming(default) & Silent), the effect that this has on the Core Clock can be seen in the image below. In addition to this there’s some basic monitoring as well as a Game Booster option, that allows you to turn off various Windows Visual Effects and turn off unwanted Windows Services. Also there’s a Memory Defragmentation option allowing you to free up system memory, should you feel the need…

     

    Asus Strix R9 Fury GPU Tweak - Silent mode Asus Strix R9 Fury GPU Tweak - Gaming mode Asus Strix R9 Fury GPU Tweak - OC mode

     

    For testing purposes we use MSI Afterburner (here), to help us with our testing and overclocking.

     

  • Overclocking the Asus Strix R9 Fury using MSI Afterburner (Version 4.1.0)
  •  

    Asus Strix R9 Fury MSI Afterburner - OC Settings Overclocking the Asus Strix R9 Fury is a very simple affair, through GPU Tweak II or through MSI Afterburner. In Afterburner simply increased the Power Limit (%) by +50, the maximum allowed and increased the Core Clock (MHz) by 75. This is pretty disappointing to be fair, I was expecting and hoping for at least 10%, but no. Any higher than 75MHz resulted in crashes and system freezes. I was also able to overclock the memory (see below) this time around by 10% boosting it up from 500 to 550MHz (1100MHz effective).

    The end result was a card with a Core Clock of 1075MHz and a Memory Clock of 1100MHZ (effective). I also set the fan speed at 100% to ensure that there was no thermal throttling. To be fair the 100% fan speed was total overkill, as this is truly one cool card anyway!

     

    Asus Strix R9 Fury GPU Tweak - Tuning Settings Out of the box the Asus Strix R9 Fury only runs at 1000MHz, and not its optimal setting of 1020MHz, that’s because you have to install the GPU Teak II software to get the last 20MHz. But even then I found that I needed to enable a setting found here (Professional Mode/Options/Overclocking range enhancement), before I could get my 1020MHz running. If this option was off, then even though I could switch to OC Mode the card will still only run at 1000MHz! One benefit of this option though was I was then able to overclock the Memory also (see here).

     

    Hardware Performance

     

  • Asus Strix R9 Fury – STOCK/Game Mode (Core: 1000MHz / Mem: 1000MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 22.00 71.00 49.00 212.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 22.00 70.00 48.00 108.9 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 22.00 72.00 50.00 90.00 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 22.00 70.00 48.00 1595
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 22.00 68.00 46.00 12048

     

  • Asus Strix R9 Fury – OVERCLOCKED (Core: 1075MHz / Mem: 1100MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 23.00 61.00 38.00 223.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 23.00 58.00 35.00 114.00 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 23.00 60.00 37.00 96.00 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 23.00 60.00 37.00 1688
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 23.00 57.00 34.00 12679

     

    Comparative Test Results (at stock):

     

  • BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS
  • TOMB RAIDER
  • METRO: LAST LIGHT
  • UNIGINE HEAVEN 4.0
  • 3DMARK (Firestrike)
  •  

    As you can see the Asus Strix R9 Fury puts in a pretty impressive showing, trading blows with the Zotac GTX 980 AMP! This also makes it the fastest AMD based Graphics Card that we have tested to date.

    First let’s concentrate on the Asus version of the AMD R9 Fury; not only does the Asus Strix R9 Fury put in a good showing it also does this while remaining cool and quiet. During stock testing we never saw the card rise above 72 degrees Celsius, far cooler than our own test GPU the XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition where we often see temps hitting the 90s! At 72 degrees and under full load there’s next to no noise emitted from the Asus Direct CU III cooler either (approximately 37dBA), if you can keep that temperature below 60 degrees there’s no sound at all, because the fans switch off! It also did this while only pulling 345w at the wall when using our Test Rig.

    When we look at the pure performance numbers we have to think about the price as well. Performance of this card is undeniably strong, but then you’d expect it to be good considering it costs around £510! The only concern that I have is that nowadays, you can buy a GTX 980 for less and it offers similar performance or a 980Ti for around the same price!?

    It is at this point we need to consider the Asus factor. What we have here is a little more than just a GPU, we have an impressive Cooler in the Direct CU III and a solid backplate that gives the card a solid feel. No more of that card flexing when you go to insert it into your Gaming Rig! The build quality of this card really is mightily impressive. We also have the knowledge that Asus is the Best-selling and Most Award-winning Graphics Card Brand (probably for a reason!) and the support of a 3 year warranty backed up by real-world support. All of this is worth money, how much money only you can decide, which ever way you look at it, the Asus Strix R9 Fury is a damn good Graphics Card.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Ok, so is this all new AMD Fury card any good, well the simple answer to that is an undeniable yes! What’s really good though is here in its Asus Strix R9 Fury form, it’s even better. Great performance, great cooling and quiet operation, what more do I need to say…

    The Asus Strix R9 Fury arrived at pcG in a smart predominately black box adorned with the Strix Owl, with the card within well packaged within soft-cell foam and protected by an anti-static bag. Once I had the card in my hand numerous things were immediately apparent: This is one big card, measuring in at 300mm (L) x 137mm (H) x 40mm (D) it may not fit is some Gaming Rigs, it’s heavy too weighting in at 1076g! But what’s most apparent is the build quality of the card, the card not only feels incredibly solid (thanks in part to that backplate and frame) but it’s well put together too! In fact the Direct CU III equipped Strix R9 Fury is one of the most impressively built cards I’ve come across to date!

    Ok James, so it looks good and it’s well made but how does she perform? Brilliantly, is probably the best answer here as not only is the card’s performance up there with the best of them, it also runs cool and quiet, and that in itself is impressive for an AMD card! 😉 The performance shown by the Asus Strix R9 Fury sits at around the same performance level as a regular Nvidia GTX 980, but there’s no denying that’s it’s never going to catch up with an Nvidia GTX 980Ti.

    At below approximately 60 degrees Celsius there’s no associated fan noise as the fans aren’t even spinning. During testing the highest temperature that I saw was 72 degrees, this can be reduced further should you wish to increase the fan speed manually. But the fans get loud (53dBA at 100%) quite quickly if you do this, but temps come down to an impressive 61 degrees maximum. When left at its stock setup our sound test meter was struggling to read anything above 37dBA.

    In general the AMD Fury is not a great overclocker and the Asus Strix R9 Fury is no different, which is shame! The best I could get from the card was an additional 75MHz, less than 10%, although I was able to add 50MHz to the Memory frequency an increase of exactly 10%. In the Unigine benchmark this saw performance increase by approximately 6%.

    There’s no doubt that Asus have put together a great card in the Asus Strix R9 Fury, it may be big but it’s beautifully built and that Direct CU III Cooler and its associated backplate give the card a solid/quality feel. Performance is also very good (especially for an AMD based card!), when you look at the thermals, noise levels and the power consumption. Overall the Asus Strix R9 Fury is a great Gaming Graphics Card, yet the price tag of around £510 (at the time of review) means that it’s up against some truly stiff competition…

    NOTE: At the time of press the Corsair Strafe Mechanical Keyboard is actually available from OCUK at £450, and that just makes it all the more appealing… 😉

     

    Verdict

    Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…



    Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
     

    Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Asus Strix R9 Fury a Silver
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Asus for providing this sample for review

     



    1. Filipe
      October 28th, 2015 at 01:03 | #1

      Please tell me that your drivers of 15.7.1 is a typo, because surely there were new drivers in September! It’s not acceptable to do a graphics card review and use drivers that are two months old. Performance improvements are achieved all the time, and a review should be reflecting that increase.

      Also, those benchmarks never indicate what resolution they were running at. This is also huge for a graphics card review. All other sites show the Fury surprisingly close to the 980 at 1920×1080, but flying away at higher resolutions, biting the 980 Ti’s heels at UHD by a couple of FPS.

      It would also indicate that the Fury has the FPS to spare for those getting a FreeSync monitor, so they can enjoy the privilege of playing at 90 FPS, hence justifying its price tag.

      Last but not least, a very good job with the noise description (or lack thereof). You gave both the measurement in decibels and a description of how loud that actually is. It’s not like I know how loud X dB is, or how loud 100% of fan speed is, but saying that idle is 37 dB and 52dB at 100% fan speed is actually really helpful, and I have to commend you for that. You wouldn’t believe the amount of so called reviews that only give a value in decibels, only give the value of the speed fan in percentage, or give no description of the noise at all, as if we knew by heart what they mean (we don’t). So thank you and congrats.

      • James
        October 28th, 2015 at 10:07 | #2

        No it’s not a typo it’s a reference to the Catalyst Version being used (we will maybe add Driver versions in the future), but rest assured it was the latest Driver available at the time.

        To get the resolution of the benchmarks just click on the benchmark image! All benchmarks are currently done at 1920×1080. This is likely to change soon though, for obvious reasons…

        Good point about FreeSync, that should have been in the review…

        Glad we got something right! 😉

        Thanks for reading…
        ATB pcG James (Editor)