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Powercolor PCS+ Radeon R9 380X Myst Edition 4GB

Rating: 8.0.

Today we analyse the third £200 R9 380X to hit our labs since launch – the Powercolor Radeon R9 380X ‘Myst Edition'. With so many driver updates in recent weeks, we went back to the drawing board and tested ALL the hardware today with the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers. We also finally managed to make the time to supplement our 1440p and 4K tests with results at 1080p. How does the Powercolor card fare against the competition?


As we said at launch – in today’s market there are surprisingly few current generation GPU options available at the £200 mark. Nvidia have had the GTX970 available for some time, but the prices for these cards are firmly in the £250 sector (HERE). Their less powerful GTX 960 is £100 less, available around £150 (HERE). AMD released their R9 380 earlier this year, and prices are competitive against the GTX960 (HERE). The R9 390 is AMD’s solution directly priced to compete against the GTX970 (HERE).

GPU R9 390X R9 290X R9 390 R9 290 R9 380X R9 380 R9 285 Fury X Fury
Launch June 2015 Oct 2013 June 2015 Nov 2013 Nov 2015 June 2015 Sep 2014 June 2015 June 2015
DX Support 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
Process (nm) 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28
Processors 2816 2816 2560 2560 2048 1792 1792 4096 3584
Texture Units 176 176 160 160 128 112 112 256 224
ROP’s 64 64 64 64 32 32 32 64 64
Boost CPU Clock 1050 1000 1000 947 970 970 918 1050 1000
Memory Clock 6000 5000 6000 5000 5700 5700 5500 500 500
Memory Bus (bits) 512 512 512 512 256 256 256 4096 4096
Max Bandwidth (GB/s) 384 320 384 320 182.4 182.4 176 512 512
Memory Size (MB) 8192 4096 8192 4096 4096 4096 2048 4096 4096
Transistors (mn) 6200 6200 6200 6200 5000 5000 5000 8900 8900
TDP (watts) 275 290 275 275 190 190 190 275 275

The R9 380X is quite similar in specification with the R9 380 – incorporating 32 ROPs, a 256 bit memory interface with core clocks and memory clocks both set to reference speeds of 970 mhz and 1425 mhz (5.7Gbps effective) respectively. There are however 128 texture units on the R9 380X, compared with the R9 380’s 112. The Stream Processor count has also been increased from 1792 to 2048.

The Powercolor Radeon R9 380X ‘Myst Edition' has enhanced clock speeds, and we will look at this in more detail on the next page of the review.

Maintaining our performance graphs has been a full time job in Q4 – Nvidia and AMD have been hard at work updating their drivers in recent weeks. In this review we test with AMD's Crimson 15.11.1 driver and the Nvidia 359.06 WHQL driver.

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  1. So, when choosing a 380X, would it really matter whether I take the Radeon NITRO or Powercolor? (Asus is so much more expensive, that it’s not worth considering)

  2. valgarlienheart .

    As much as I am an AMD fan I don’t think these offer good value considering you can get a 970 for £235 or a 390 for £250.

  3. Why not a 980 while you’re at it 😀 I don’t need a 970 with my gaming, but the 960 is not enough. Until that time that Nvidia makes a 960Ti, I’ll be considering a 380X. I can use that 35-50 for other fun things, such as games 😉

  4. Not really Lucas — both NITRO and this Powercolor card are excellent, just minor differences between them.

  5. At £195 this is nice, however just because 960’s are still so inflated, it shouldn’t be the counterbalance as to why this price is like it is.

    Actually when up against some “Uber 960” like the Palit GTX960 2Gb Super Jetstream that’s £176, or this 380X Myst Edition “4GB” for 11% more I call it the winner! Given it provides a person who might consider upgrading to 1440p at some time (5-8 months) before the next generation cards, for now it’s the better value.

    While you might consider a 390/970… in the case of a 970 those are starting £260, adding 32% is a big jump and rightfully so, but if just 1080p now and thinking a panel upgrade, a 3.5+.5Gb might seem a little dull once you have a 1440p. Especially with next gen-cards coming in right in such a time-frame. Even a 390 8Gb at £250 and only 1080p it’s a hard sell, I’d pocket the 30-32% now and see where it takes you if and when you have that new panel.

  6. Christopher Lennon

    The 390 is actually cheaper here in the states, and that fact the the 390 edges out the 970 in most 1080p benchmarks and pretty much all 1440p benchmarks, the 390 is probably the best price:performance card in the American market. Currently you can get one for $279 or £184.…wow, you guys pay a lot more in Britain

  7. Christopher Lennon

    What is this Pallit 970 that I’ve ONLY seen in Kitguru’s benchmarks? And why is it beating the 390 when in 99% of every other 390 benchmarks I’ve seen, the 390 is beating the 970 stock and with an overclocking? I’m just curious as to where Kitguru obtained the one 970 in the world that’s faster than every other 970 in every other professional review in the world?

  8. It all depends on the clock speeds, that is what is relevant – the GTX970 we use isn’t a reference card. all the clock speeds are listed. Same as the R9 390 – it will beat a R9 390X when you manually overclock it.