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Fight! Custom Radeon Fury, GTX 980 graphics cards brawl for PC gaming supremacy

Brad Chacos | Aug. 3, 2015
Why didn't you test the powerful Asus Strix Fury against a custom-designed GeForce GTX 980 graphics card?

Metro: Last Light Redux is another game that sports Nvidia's "the way it's meant to be played" splash page, but the test results show the way it's really meant to be played is on AMD hardware. The Fury holds a 4-plus fps advantage in most situations.

AMD's card simply rockets past Nvidia's in Sniper Elite III, a Radeon-branded title.

Alien Isolation is utterly terrifying, and utterly excellent at scaling across all hardware configurations. The EVGA 980 FTW's additional firepower help it draw even with the Fury here. We test with all graphics settings set to ultra.

The Radeon Fury dominates even EVGA's card in Bioshock Infinite, the obligatory Unreal Engine 3 title, but really any modern graphics card can achieve great frame rates with this game.

We also tested the cards with some well-respected synthetic benchmarks: 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Valley. Fire Strike Ultra is a grueling, 4K-focused sibling of Fire Strike.

To test power consumption and GPU temperature, we run the worst-case-scenario Furmark benchmark for 15 minutes, taking temperature information at the end using the tool's built-in temperature gauge and verifying it with SpeedFan. Power draw is measured during the run on a whole system basis, not the GPU individually, by plugging the computer into a Watts Up Pro meter rather than directly into the wall.

The sheer power efficiency of Nvidia's Maxwell GPU shines through here, though the overclocked EVGA 980 FTW sucks down far more watts than the stock 980, negating the advantage somewhat. While the Strix Fury is the most power-hungry by far, AMD still deserves some props here: the Fiji GPU's performance-per-watt numbers are far better than older Radeon GPUs, as evidenced in our Radeon R9 390X review.

EVGA's ACX 2.0 is right up there with the best vendor-designed custom cooling solutions, as evidenced by its low maximum temperature. (Temps for all cards tend to be a few degrees cooler in pure gaming scenarios than in this stress test.) It stays nice and quiet on the 980 FTW unless you overclock the card so hard that it has to ramp up fan speeds. It's not quite as silent as Asus' DirectCU III cooler on the Strix Fury, but the Strix Fury's noiselessness is paid for by its massive bulk; the EVGA GTX 980 FTW is a much more small, streamlined card overall.

Speaking of overclocking...


We don't normally dive into overclocking in our standard reviews, as overclocking capabilities can vary greatly from individual chip to individual chip, even if you're using the exact same product (i.e. an EVGA GTX 980 FTW). Given that Nvidia's power-efficient Maxwell architecture is known for its ample overclock chops, and Fiji is known for being a bit of an overclocking dud, it was worth seeing whether giving the 980 FTW some extra oomph could push it into the victor's circle.


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