Overclocking

Finally, no review of a high-end video card would be complete without a look at overclocking performance.

To get right to the point here, overclockers looking at out of the box overclocking performance are going to come away disappointed. While cooling and power delivery are overbuilt, in other respects the R9 Fury X is very locked down when it comes to overclocking. There is no voltage control at this time (even unofficial), there is no official HBM clockspeed control, and the card’s voltage profile has been finely tuned to avoid needing to supply the card with more voltage than is necessary. As a result the card has relatively little overclocking potential without voltage adjustments.

So what do we get for overclocking?

Radeon R9 Fury X Overclocking
  Stock Overclocked
Boost Clock 1050Mhz 1125MHz
Memory Clock 1Gbps (500MHz DDR) 1Gbps (500MHz DDR)
Max Voltage N/A N/A

Our efforts net us 75MHz, which is actually 25MHz less than what AMD published in their reviewer’s guide. Even 100MHz would lead to artifacting in some games, requiring that we step down to a 75MHz overclock to have a safe and sustainable overclock.

The end result is that the overclocked R9 Fury X runs at 1125MHz core and 1Gbps memory, a 75MHz (7%) increase in the GPU clockspeed and 0% increase in the memory clockspeed. This puts a very narrow window on expected performance gains, as we shouldn’t exceed a 7% gain in any game, and will almost certainly come in below 7% in most games.

OC: Battlefield 4 - 3840x2160 - Ultra Quality - 0x MSAA

Our gaming benchmarks find just that. A few percent performance improvement there, a 5% improvement there. Overall we wouldn’t go as far as saying there no reason to overclock, but with such limited gains it’s hardly worth the trouble right now.

True overclocking is going to have to involve BIOS modding, a riskier and warranty-voiding strategy, but one that should be far more rewarding. With more voltage I have little doubt that R9 Fury X could clock higher, though it’s impossible to guess by how much at this time. In any case the card is certainly built for it, as the oversized cooler, high power delivery capabilities, and dual BIOS switch provide all the components necessary for such an overclocking attempt.

Meanwhile HBM is a completely different bag, and while unofficial overclocking is looking promising, as a new technology it will take some time to get a good feel for it and understand just what kind of performance improvements it can deliver. The R9 Fury X is starting out with quite a bit of memory bandwidth right off the bat (512GB/sec), so it may not be bandwidth starved as often as other cards like the R9 290X was.

Power, Temperature, & Noise Final Words
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