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Asus Radeon R9 Fury Strix DC3 OC

There is much to like about AMD’s Fury X – the move to the new high bandwidth architecture has to be applauded and there is some indication that we are seeing signs of the potential at Ultra HD 4K, even at this early stage. We do feel this current generation of hardware has failed to truly inspire the enthusiast audience however, especially when custom partner GTX980 Ti’s from Nvidia partners are generally so far ahead at both 1440p and 4K resolutions.

AMD should improve performance via drivers over the coming months so we will revisit the Fiji hardware with new tests when Catalyst has matured a little more. We aren’t keen to focus on ‘what if’ situations though – we can only test what we have, right now. And right now, the Nvidia GTX980 Ti is still the high end card to buy.

The Fury X card we received was tainted with pump noise issues and horrible coil whine – and ours was delivered straight from the American retail channel. We have another Sapphire Fury X sample in our labs and pump noise and coil whine are clearly evident  – we managed to get this card recently from Overclockers UK stock, before they sold out. We await another look at Fury X, when Revision 2 hits in the coming weeks. Sadly there is very limited, if any stock of either Rev 1 or Rev 2 Fury X cards in the UK right now.

We feel the air cooled Fury cards offer more than the Fury X – the custom coolers from Sapphire and ASUS are excellent, and the performance, when overclocked is very close to the ‘out of the box’ Fury X. You can save a lot of money in the process too and we all like that.
Asus have cast away the ‘all in one’ liquid cooler and have incorporated their Direct CU III cooler onto the PCB. This cooler is quiet and proficient – holding temperatures when gaming between 70c and 73c at all times. It didn’t quite match the Sapphire Tri-X cooler in either noise emission or thermal tests, but it is very close indeed.

Asus have fitted their card with a substantial backplate and GPU Fortifier which helps flatten out the temperatures across the full length of the PCB, while enhancing rigidity. The only real hotspot is on the exposed PCB section at the rear of the Fiji core. It peaked at around 72 under full load, so well within safe parameters.

The lack of HDMI 2.0 support may not be critical for most gamers, but for those of us gaming with large 4K television sets in the UK – many of them have yet to incorporate a DisplayPort. HDMI 1.4a is limited to 30hz at the native resolution, unless you opt to pay more for a converter cable, which we haven’t tested ourselves yet. I fail to see why AMD didn’t try to work out a way to add native HDMI 2.0 support to their latest Fiji solutions.

Performance from the Fury card is not lacking, especially at 4K resolutions when the high bandwidth architecture shines – scaling to the highest resolutions is very impressive indeed. The direct comparison against the Asus GTX980 Strix (£420 at Amazon HERE) shows the Fury card winning all of the time at 3,840×2,160, and losing out only a couple of times in some game engines at 1440p.

We are a little surprised to see that the ASUS R9 Fury Strix DC3 is running at a reference 1,000mhz out of the box, with some retailers focusing on a 1,020mhz clock speed, which is only achievable by installed GPU Tweak 2 then manually selecting the OC mode. Asus should have set the BIOS speed directly to this speed, or greater – and without this reliance on proprietary software.

The AMD Fury is clearly designed to target and outperform the GTX980, and we intentionally selected an (almost) equally priced Asus GTX980 Strix for the comparison today. The problem for AMD is that Nvidia partners such as Palit have dropped their prices recently, and their Jetstream model is available for only £379.99 inc vat. The overclocked enhanced Palit model is only £10 more, at £389.99 inc vat. The excellent Gigabyte GTX980 Windforce model is also now £389.99 inc vat.

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You can buy the Asus Radeon R9 Fury Strix DC3 from Overclockers UK for £455.99 inc vat. We do feel Fury hardware needs a little price reduction to become more tempting against competitively priced GTX980’s – hopefully some deals will appear on big retailers in coming months.

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  • looks attractive.
  • high fan quality.
  • backplate helps reduce hot spots.
  • ASUS GPU Tweak 2.0 works well.
  • excellent 4K performance.


  • Its a reference 1,000mhz out of the box, only GPU Tweak 2.0 software takes it to 1,020mhz on OC setting.
  • no ability to overclock memory.
  • Lacks HDMI 2.0 support.
  • modest overclocking headroom.
  • Pricing could be slightly more competitive against some GTX980 cards.

Kitguru says: The Asus R9 Fury Strix DC3 is a great performer, and offers good value when compared against the Fury X. It is quiet, cool and is faster than the GTX980.

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Rating: 8.0.

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