Today we’re looking at the first of AMD’s 300-series cards. We were looking for something with a bit more of a splash with R9 300 cards, and while AMD has moved in that direction with the Fury cards, the others occupy somewhat more familiar territory. The reason for this, surprise, is that most of the 300 series cards feature tweaks and updates to what we saw with the last of the 200 series lineup.
That said, we know that many gamers, if not most, simply cannot afford to keep the latest high-end hardware in their system. So for most of the marketplace, finding a sweet spot of a gaming card that comes in around the $200 – $250 range is the key, as it should provide suitable performance for most needs without breaking the bank. And that is indeed where the R9 380 comes into play.
More specifically, we’re looking at the MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G, a card that boasts a custom heatsink, improved power design, and a factory overclock, all for a modest premium of only an extra $25. Sounds pretty good so far. Factor in that AMD is bringing a few new features to the market with the R9 300 series launch, and we’re cautiously optimistic for strong gaming value.
Essentially the R9 380 is a rebranded R9 285. AMD took the Tonga core, spun an update and tweak, and renamed it to Antigua. The specs are still largely the same, with a 28nm process, and coming with 1792 stream processors, 32 ROPs, and 112 texture units.There’s support for DX12, both Mantle and Vulkan API, Freesync, and Virtual Super Resolution. The core speed is juiced faster than the R9 285, however, as is often the case we see with MSI cards; they do love the speed as much as we do.
So, that’s the quick background to set the stage. Now it’s time to delve deeper into the details and a closer look at the MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G to find out how it measures up.