Radeon R9 390 is still considered a very powerful accelerator, and has an attractive price-performance ratio. A good reason to look closely to the product of one of the main partners of AMD-based specifications SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390.
The closest competitor to the Radeon R9 390 from NVIDIA team is the GeForce GTX 970. The latter, at the same price to R9 390, is inferior to it in size and capacity of RAM and shows lower performance in many gaming benchmarks. Also on the AMD side are results in homogeneous computing tasks, while GeForce GTX 970, as well as other GPU-based Maxwell architectures, may be effective in some applications, but have difficulty with another character of the load.
The only characteristic in which R9 390, frankly, is not competitive is energy efficiency. GeForce GTX 970 has a TDP of 145 watts, which allows producing graphic cards even for the body of Mini ITX size, and for Radeon R9 390 and 275 W is an optimistic estimate. This feature of accelerators based on GPU Hawaii (Grenada) places increased demands on the cooling system of graphic card.
SAPPHIRE offers two options of Radeon R9 390 with different clock frequency of GPU – 1040 and 1010 MHz (the reference rate, recall, is 1000 MHz). According to the memory configuration NITRO R9 390 does not deviate from the specifications of AMD: 8 GB GDDR5, operating at an effective frequency of 6 GHz.
The last time we picked up a card SAPPHIRE, it was the Radeon R9 Fury. At first glance, the two devices are similar: here and there is used huge cooler with three 90-mm fans. Black metal plate protects the back surface of the PCB. It’s thermo-bonded to the area in front of the GPU voltage converter.
Cooling system, contrary to the trend, is devoid of any illumination. The button with the logo of SAPPHIRE, which can be seen on the face of the board switches between two chips with firmware. Remarkably, both versions contain the same frequency tuning, but one supports system boot mode UEFI, and the other – BIOS.
Planck with video outputs carries three connectors DisplayPort 1.2, one HDMI 1.4 and one Dual-Link DVI-I.
The radiator of cooling system is impressive due to the quantity and, more importantly, the thickness of the used heat pipes (a total of five, with a diameter of 6 mm to 10 mm). In addition, for each memory chip is provided a projection on the radiator – a rare feature usually GDDR5 chips do without active cooling.
The power supply system of the board consists of eight phases (six for the GPU, one – for chip RAM, another – PLL). Voltage on the GPU manages the standard for products based on Hawaii (Grenada) controller International Rectifier IR3567B.