AMD Radeon R9 Fury Review: Fiji On Air Tested

AMD's Radeon R9 Fury

When AMD launched the liquid-cooled Radeon Fury X, we witnessed a company willing to commit to new architecture and bleeding edge technologies (Fiji and High-Bandwidth Memory, respectively). Beyond that, Fury X showed a level of ambition and hardware design chops we hadn’t seen from AMD in years. There’s no denying that between its exceptional thermals and strong performance, Fury X is a force to be reckoned with. However, it fell shy of the mark that enthusiasts and press hoped it would achieve, unable to quite deliver a definitive victory against NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Today, AMD offers up their Radeon R9 Fury (sometimes referred to as Fury Air or Fury Pro), a video card that brings a compelling value proposition to the table.

In truth, this is the Fury release that should give AMD a more competitive edge against NVIDIA in the $500+ graphics card bracket.

The AMD Radeon R9 Fury lands at retail on July 14 with a baseline price tag of $549 attached to it. This launch continues AMD’s focus on board partner versions versus their own reference designs, but interestingly there are only two cards available at launch, coming courtesy of Sapphire and Asus. However, we do have it on good authority that there are more to come and we’ll see staggered releases over the next couple months.

Sapphire Tri-X Radeon R9 Fury
Sapphire Tri-X Radeon R9 Fury

AMD Radeon R9 Fury
Specifications & Features
  fury air specs

Here’s what you need to know about the Radeon R9 Fury’s basic specs: It’s mostly identical to the flagship Fury X except for two important distinctions. There’s a 50MHz reduction in GPU clock speed to 1000MHz, and 512 fewer stream processors for a total of 3584, versus what Fury X has on board.

We’re also looking at a traditional air-cooled solution versus a liquid-cooled approach. I was half-expecting the Fury to resemble the refreshingly small stature of the Fury X, but for now we’ve got two full size cards. Sure, that diminutive 7.5” inch PCB is still there on one of the boards, but it’s engulfed by Sapphire’s effective Tri-X cooler. Asus, on the other hand, has opted for a custom PCB on their Strix version.

Asus STRIX Radeon R9 Fury
Asus STRIX Radeon R9 Fury

The R9 Fury also checks all the boxes concerning AMD’s recent supported features and proprietary tech. FreeSync support, DirectX 12, Virtual Super Resolution, Frame Rate Target Control, are all present and accounted for.

Competitive Landscape

At $549, AMD is positioning the Fury between NVIDIA’s $499 GTX 980 and their $649 GTX 980 Ti. Here’s the interesting news which our benchmark results will shortly demonstrate: In price the Fury veers closer to the GTX 980, but in performance it sneaks in awfully close to the GTX 980 Ti. Perhaps critically, we’re seeing another noteworthy data point. Sapphire’s Tri-X Radeon R9 Fury is only about 5% slower than the liquid-cooled Fury X.

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