ASUS R9 Fury DCU3 Review
We said in our introduction about how the R9 290 proved itself to be a surprisingly good card and - relative to its price point - a lot closer to the R9 290X than we might have otherwise expected. With the release of the R9 390X and R9 Fury X coming so close together and the performance of the two cards being relatively in line with their placement in the AMD range we have to admit that we wondered quite which side of the coin the R9 Fury was going to fall.
Would it be close enough to the 390X to be pointless, or would it be close enough to the R9 Fury X to be bargain?
As with any review there are plenty of ifs and buts to be taken into account. However, if you purely want a pithy summation of our thoughts then yes, the R9 Fury is undoubtedly a stonking card, close enough to the Fury X to render it the wise choice of the Radeon range. Our first caveat is actually a star point, and it is that the ASUS Strix DC3 version of the R9 Fury is probably the best this GPU can ever be.
The build quality is staggering. You only need to take a close look at the photographs on page two to get a sense of the engineering here. The cooler is a magnificent three-fan affair which effortlessly combines a gentle-on-the-ears ease of use with low temperatures. It's a work of art bristling with heatpipes and fins. We love the looks of the backplate too. The Strix owl is large enough to be a brand identifier without dominating proceedings so much that those of you for whom the Strigiformes hold no appeal find themselves turned off. A full size PCB with a full size cooler unquestionably frees the HBM-equipped Fiji to perform at the heights it deserves. Credit has to go to ASUS for maximising its potential.
Pricing is a more thorny issue, one that definitely changes depending upon the angle from which you're viewing it. At around £455 the ASUS Fury is a bargain if you were planning to spend around £500 on your next purchase, or perhaps seriously looking at a Fury X. The performance gap between the regular Fury and the Fury X is so slight that you might as well save your money and get a lunatic Fury like this one. On the flip side anyone who has ever specced a system has played the "for an extra x I could get y more power/storage/performance" game. Those of us with tighter purse strings understand the point of diminishing returns and want to squeeze every last ounce from each pound. For those of you with desperately limited budgets we're not completely convinced that the Fury has enough extra power over a R9 390X to justify the extra expenditure. And the 390X is not massively better than a 290X. A great 290X (ASUS Matrix for example) is now so much cheaper you could almost Crossfire them for the same price as this Fury.
All of which is more a problem with AMDs quest to release too many new graphics cards with incrementally better performance in a very small period of time. As a performance generalisation the Fury on review today fits so exactly between the 390X and the Fury X that we might be tempted to suggest AMD have engineered it to be exactly this powerful and no more. We despise such boardroom level cynical marketing. That is a problem more specific to AMD though, and no reflection upon ASUS who are just doing what they do, make the best possible card from the components available to them, and if you're in the market for the AMD Fury then you wont find one more deserving of your purchase than this. GTX980 performance is impossible to dismiss and, coupled to the excellent build quality, awards the ASUS R9 Fury DC3 our OC3D Gold Award.