Timid Fury

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The AMD Radeon Fury X isn’t exactly the $649 USD NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti killer that AMD hoped for.

The Radeon R9 Fury X is a big advance over the last-gen R9 290X, and it’s a close match overall for the GeForce GTX 980 Ti. However, the GeForce generally outperforms the Fury X across our suite of games—by under 10%, or four FPS, on average. That’s massive progress from the red team, and it’s a shame the Fury X’s measurably superior shader array and prodigious memory bandwidth don’t have a bigger payoff in today’s games.

If I were going to spend $649 USD on a video card, why would I spend it on a Fury X? For the water cooling unit? The LED lights? Why would I spend money on a video card that cannot deliver frames in a smooth manner?

Speaking of which, if you dig deeper using our frame-time-focused performance metrics—or just flip over to the 99th-percentile scatter plot above—you’ll find that the Fury X struggles to live up to its considerable potential. Unfortunate slowdowns in games like The Witcher 3 and Far Cry 4 drag the Fury X’s overall score below that of the less expensive GeForce GTX 980. What’s important to note in this context is that these scores aren’t just numbers. They mean that you’ll generally experience smoother gameplay in 4K with a $499 GeForce GTX 980 than with a $649 Fury X. Our seat-of-the-pants impressions while play-testing confirm it. The good news is that we’ve seen AMD fix problems like these in the past with driver updates, and I don’t doubt that’s a possibility in this case. There’s much work to be done, though.

I thought AMD was on the road to improving their drivers and yet to this day, they’re still struggling to get a handle on it. Again, why would I spend money on this?

I’m not content with this outcome because it just means that NVIDIA is running unopposed which isn’t good for consumers. We need healthy competition in the video card space.

Checkpoint: No Water Cooling Edition

Checkpoint - No Water Cooling Edition

I don’t tend to take risks when it comes to PC building these days. I try to keep things simple and minimize fuss down the road. I took a gamble with the Swiftech H220 water cooling kit for my brother’s PC build. I put in the research and looked at what folks like AnandTech had to say and pulled the trigger on the Swiftech.

My mistake was not mining the user reviews at sites like Newegg.ca. It went over to the U.S store, Newegg.com and thought I was in the clear but something must have changed with the manufacturing because the kits purchased in 2013 were plagued with noise issues.

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