The simple fact right up front here is that the AMD R9 380 is an evolution of what saw with Tonga. Mind-blowing performance isn’t what AMD is about these days, and this card is proof of that. Rather, it’s more about extending the shelf life and relevance of Tonga in the newly refreshed package of Antigua that offers strong gaming value for consumers. You also get updated support for DX12, Mantle and Vulkan APIs, and a few other tidbits that help push the value prospect. That is not a bad thing, regardless of how you look at it.
In terms of performance, the MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G comes with a healthy factory overclock out the box, as this new card essentially cannibalizes AMD’s lineup, effectively rendering the R9 285 as end-of-life. We suspect the 285 supply will dry up and likely see some clearance sales, so keep your eyes open for some deals, particularly if you already own one and want to go with CrossFire. That said, for anyone looking to jump up for an upgrade, the R9 380 is a strong option.
MSI has the R9 380 Gaming 4G retailing for $240, which is about $20 more than most other models for this card. We think that’s a reasonable value considering the high caliber components, low temperatures and noise levels, and factory overclock (not to mention potentially more OC headroom available). So against the AMD competition, MSI’s card is very well positioned. Good luck finding them in stock, however, as they’re not widely available quite yet. That will soon change, but if you want one now, they can be found, whereas competitor cards are tougher to find, making this a good value choice.
The MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G is a great mid-range performance option, showcasing a good combination of sleek styling, low temperatures and noise, strong features, and great performance for the price.
MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G