Unfortunately, the lackluster Fury X performance at less than 4K resolution, the minimal 4GB framebuffer that depends on AMD drivers to manage that may not work well for CrossFireX at 4K, the hot running Fiji chip with little overclocking headroom, and the lack of quality control with a noisy pump, are negatives that still accumulate for a general non-recommendation at even $650 at more than 3 months after launch.
AMD has missed their target, and Fury X fell quite short of the performance of the GTX 980 Ti. At $649, the GTX 980 Ti is quite a bargain performance-wise compared with the $699 XFX Fury X. The GTX 980 Ti has a larger 6GB framebuffer which makes it suitable for SLI at 4K, whereas the 4GB Fury X is somewhat on the edge even as a single GPU.
We found little overclocking headroom with Fury X with our 3 retail samples from their reference 1050MHz core clock. We were only able to manage adding 25 to 50MHz offset to the core, and less than that for the memory. In contrast, our two GTX 980 Tis appear to have no difficulty overclocking from the reference 1000MHz core to near 1400MHz! And the Fury X pump noise lottery is still very worrisome after more than 3 months after launch.
Let’s sum it up:
XFX Fury X Pros
- The XFX Fury X is very impressive as an “Exotic Industrial Design”. It is heavy, solid, and looks great. The AIO cooling may appeal to some.
- At 4K the Fury X trades blows with the reference GTX 980 Ti.
- Fury X is a fast card and a good replacement for the 290X as AMD’s flagship. It is innovative and bold to chose HBM.
- FreeSync eliminates tearing and stuttering.
XFX Fury X Cons
- The price – $699. At even $650, Fury X performance is overall slower than the $650 reference GTX 980 Ti.
- The pump noise may still be a deal breaker for some.
- Even with watercooling, there is a lot of heat coming from the radiator.
- Overclocking of the memory and of the core are poor, and there are no voltage tools yet available.
- A 4GB of framebuffer is minimal for 4K, and there may be issues with Fury X CrossFire at 4K at high details/AA.
- Installing 1 large radiator may be difficult for some smaller cases; CrossFire may compound the issue with multiple radiator placement.
- Lack of HDMI 2.0 may turn off 4K TV gamers.
We have no trouble giving a recommendation to the reference GTX 980 Ti. At $649, it looks great, runs cool, overclocks well, and is reasonably quiet; and out of the box it is faster than the Fury X. We suspect that there may be downward pressure on Fury X pricing now that more stock has become recently available.
If you currently game on an older generation video card, you will do yourself a big favor by upgrading. The move to a GTX 980 Ti or Fury X will give you better visuals on the DX11 (and DX12 !) pathway, and you are no doubt thinking of multi-GPU if you want to get the most in gaming performance. Price is the only issue and if you are a bang-for-buck gamer, a pair of GTX 970s or R9 390s cost about the same or more, but they have all of the issues associated with multi-GPU gaming. And if you are looking for current DX11 gaming performance, the GTX 980 Ti is faster than the Fury X.
AMD offers their own great set of features including Eyefinity 2.0 and FreeSync. The XFX Fury X is a well-performing card that just appears to be priced a bit high compared with its competition. Ultimately, the XFX Fury X card simply cannot touch the raw power of the GTX 980 Ti – especially when overclocking is considered.
Stay tuned, there is a lot coming from us at BTR. Next week we will look at AMD’s latest Beta drivers and Nvidia’s latest WHQL drivers. And don’t forget to check BTR forums. Our tech discussions are among the best to be found anywhere!