Asus STRIX Radeon R9 390X Review: Hawaii Gets 8GB
Unigine Heaven 4.0 And Grand Theft Auto V Performance
Unigine's Heaven Benchmark v4.0 is built around the Unigine game engine, a cross-platform, real-time 3D engine with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion). It also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.
There aren’t any surprises here. The tessellation-heavy test slightly favors Nvidia by an amount that justifies its higher price tag. The 980 outperforms the STRIX 390X by about 11%. Meanwhile, the 390X sees a pretty serious 19% performance boost over the 290X.
But let’s fire up the actual games and see how this all shakes out.
Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series has been wildly successful for many years now, offering some of the edgiest story lines, game play tactics and objectives the gaming industry has ever seen. With psychopathic main characters, you are left in the depraved communities of Los Santos and Blaine County, to walk a path few would dare choose in real life, committing nefarious acts, robbing and pillaging to complete your objectives. In short, it's rather entertaining that you're tasked with leaving a virtual world worse off than you found it, consequences be damned. But if you're reading this, you're probably well aware of this game's story line, and the fact that it while it is optimized for a wide range of hardware, it requires some serious GPU horsepower to run at smooth frame rates under high resolutions.
With the array of options, we wanted to push the hardware but also achieve 60+ FPS across both 1440p and 4K gameplay. So at 1440p we switched all the quality knobs to Very High, turned on FXAA, and turned off Ambient Occlusion and Tessellation.
The same behavior we saw with the Sapphire Radeon Fury is emerging already: At 1440p the 980 has a clear advantage over the 390x, but that lead is reduced considerably when running the 4K test.
Oddly, aside from a marginally better minimum framerate, the 390x stays neck and neck with the 290x at 4K. On the plus side, folks, this is playable 60fps at 4K with a single sub-$500 graphics card, and that’s nothing to scoff at.
Let’s see how Tomb Raider fares.