PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ Review

f you are in the market for a powerful sub £300 graphics card AMD’s R9 390 still bears serious consideration. Right now there are some partner cards available at very competitive price points – the PowerColor R9 390 PCS+ that we look at today for instance, is currently available at only £250 inc vat. This card is supplied in an overclocked state and it ships with a proprietary triple fan, custom cooling solution. Is it worth a shortlist for a pre-Christmas upgrade?
We do like to see more graphics companies adopting high grade coolers because it can not only help reduce operating thermals, but it will ensure that overclocking potential is maximised. With the R9 390, we feel this is rather important. AMD’s R9 390 has been a great buy since launch as when pushed hard it can often keep up with the significantly more expensive R9 390X.
650px3
Bearing this in mind, today we test the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ at reference clocks and when pushed manually to the limits, via software.
GPUR9 390XR9 290XR9 390R9 290R9 380R9 285Fury XFury
LaunchJune 2015Oct 2013June 2015Nov 2013June 2015Sep 2014June 2015June 2015
DX Support1212121212121212
Process (nm)2828282828282828
Processors28162816256025601792179240963584
Texture Units176176160160112112256224
ROP’s6464646432326464
Boost CPU Clock10501000100094797091810501000
Memory Clock600050006000500057005500500500
Memory Bus (bits)51251251251225625640964096
Max Bandwidth (GB/s)384320384320182.4176512512
Memory Size (MB)81924096819240964096204840964096
Transistors (mn)62006200620062005000500089008900
TDP (watts)275290275275190190275275
650px1
For the last 10 days we have been retesting many graphics cards with the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers and have made the switch to the 64 bit Windows 10 operating system as well. We compare the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ against a myriad of high end solutions, including the AMD Fury X, Nvidia Titan X, Nvidia Titan Z, AMD R9 295X2, Nvidia GTX980 Ti, GTX980, GTX970, AMD R9 390X and AMD R9 390.
AS7V3576AS7V3578
The PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ arrives in a somewhat bland looking box with the ‘PCS+’ naming convention taking up most of the real estate. The graphics card itself is certainly worthy of some exposure, but perhaps the end user retail store market is so small now that it doesn’t matter.
AS7V3582
The bundle includes some literature on the product and a power converter cable. All you need are the latest graphics card drivers from the AMD website.
AS7V3588AS7V3590
The Card is well made, and heavy in the hand. The metal cooler and branded backplate are responsible for the extra weight. The card is roughly 29 cm in length, so while long should fit in the majority of ATX chassis.
AS7V3591
It draws power from a single 6 pin and a single 8 pin connector. There is full support for Bridgeless Crossfire.
AS7V3593
The I/O plate is home to a DVI-I and DVD-D port. R9 Series graphics cards can support up to three HDMI/DVI displays for use with AMD Eyefinity technology. A set of displays which support identical timings is required to enable this feature. The display clocks and timing for this feature are configured at boot time.
As such, display hot‐plugging is not supported for the third HDMI/DVI connection. A reboot is required to enable three HDMI/DVI displays. AMD still use HDMI 1.4 standard ports so you are unable to drive Ultra HD 4k resolutions with a 60hz refresh rate.
AS7V3615AS7V3617
The large cooler has a oversized mounting plate to actively cool the GDDR5 memory as well.
gpuz
An overview of the hardware in GPUz. The Hawaii core is built on the 28nm process and is overclocked to 1,010mhz. There are 64 ROPS, and 160 Texture Units, alongside 2560 unified shaders. The 8GB of Hynix GDDR5 memory runs at 1,500mhz (6Gbps effective) across a 512bit interface.
As we previously outlined, the R9 390, when overclocked will perform at a similar level to the much more expensive R9 390X. Many of our readers will be buying one to manually tweak to the limits for this very reason.
With this key point in mind, for our review today we include additional results from the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ – when overclocked to the limit. We used the latest version of MSI Afterburner to overclock, increasing core voltage and power delivery to application limits.
overclocking
The results were quite positive – with the core speed running at a stable 1,150mhz. Memory could be tweaked to 1,693mhz before artifacting would occur (6.8Gbps effective). This translates to a 13.9% and 12.8% increase for the core and memory respectively.
On this page we present some high resolution images of the product taken with a Canon 1DX and Canon 28-70mm F2.8 lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.
AS7V3576
AS7V3585AS7V3588
AS7V3590AS7V3597
AS7V3599AS7V3602
AS7V3615AS7V3617
We have been retesting a slew of graphics cards over previous weeks, focusing on the latest Nvidia and AMD drivers. We have also selected some new game sections to benchmark during our ‘real world runs’.
Additionally, even though it is not close to being finished, we wanted to include some findings from an early access build of the (Windows 10) Direct X 12 capable Ashes of The Singularity by Stardock (website HERE) – this uses the Nitrous game engine. We are confident this is not an indication of how the game will run when it reaches retail in the future, but still, it is interesting to showcase today. You can buy it from STEAM, over HERE.
If you want to read more about our test system, or are interested in buying the same Kitguru Test Rig, check out our article with links on this page. We are using an Asus PB287Q 4k and Apple 30 inch Cinema HD monitor for this review today.
650px2
Due to reader feedback we have changed the 1600p tests to 1440p. Anti Aliasing is also now disabled in our tests at Ultra HD 4K resolutions as readers have indicated they don’t need it at such a high resolution.
If you have other suggestions please email me directly at zardon(at)kitguru.net.
PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ (1,010 mhz core / 1,500 mhz memory) & (1,150 mhz core / 1,693 mhz memory).
gpuz
Comparison Cards on test:Sapphire R9 295X2 (1,018 mhz core / 1,250mhz memory)
gpuz
AMD Fury X
 (1,050 mhz core / 500 mhz memory)
furyx gpuz
Nvidia GTX Titan Z (706 mhz core / 1,753 mhz memory)
gpuz
Nvidia GTX Titan X (1,000 mhz core / 1,753 mhz memory)
gpuz
Asus GTX980 Strix (1,178 mhz core / 1,753 mhz memory)
gpuz
Nvidia GTX980 Ti (1000 mhz core / 1,753 mhz memory)
gpuz
Palit GTX970 (1,051 mhz core / 1,753 mhz memory)
gpuz
Sapphire R9 390X Tri-X 8GB (1,055 mhz core / 1,500 mhz memory)
gpuz
Sapphire R9 390 Nitro 8GB (1,010 mhz core / 1,500 mhz memory)
gpuz
Software:
Windows 10 64 bit
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
3DMark 11
3DMark
Fraps Professional
Steam Client
FurMark
Games:
Ashes Of the Singularity (early access build)
Grid AutoSport
Tomb Raider
Grand Theft Auto 5
Metro 2033 Redux
We perform under real world conditions, meaning KitGuru tests games across five closely matched runs and then average out the results to get an accurate median figure. If we use scripted benchmarks, they are mentioned on the relevant page.
Game descriptions edited with courtesy from Wikipedia.
3DMark 11 
is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.
3dmark113dmark113dmark11 oc
The PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ benefits from the substantial manual overclock, pushing past the GTX980 Strix, Sapphire 390x and even the reference clocked AMD Fury X.
3dmark 11 e3dmark11x3dmark11x oc
We can see that the R9 390 manages to outperform the R9 390X Tri-X by around 100 points after it is manually overclocked.
3DMark is an essential tool used by millions of gamers, hundreds of hardware review sites and many of the world’s leading manufacturers to measure PC gaming performance.
Futuremark say “Use it to test your PC’s limits and measure the impact of overclocking and tweaking your system. Search our massive results database and see how your PC compares or just admire the graphics and wonder why all PC games don’t look this good.
To get more out of your PC, put 3DMark in your PC.”
3dmark
3dmark3dmarkoc
We are beginning to see a pattern now – at the out of the box speeds, the R9 390 delivers solid, if unremarkable results. After manually overclocking however, the performance level exceeds the reference clocked GTX980 and R9 390X solutions.
3dmark ultra
3dmark ultra3dmark ulra oc
At Ultra HD 4K resolution, the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ is around 200 points behind the R9 390X. When overclocked to the limit it manages to slightly outperform the reference clocked R9 390X.
Unigine provides an interesting way to test hardware. It can be easily adapted to various projects due to its elaborated software design and flexible toolset. A lot of their customers claim that they have never seen such extremely-effective code, which is so easy to understand.
Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on advanced Unigine engine from Unigine Corp. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. Interactive mode provides emerging experience of exploring the intricate world of steampunk. Efficient and well-architected framework makes Unigine highly scalable:
  • Multiple API (DirectX 9 / DirectX 10 / DirectX 11 / OpenGL) render
  • Cross-platform: MS Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) / Linux
  • Full support of 32bit and 64bit systems
  • Multicore CPU support
  • Little / big endian support (ready for game consoles)
  • Powerful C++ API
  • Comprehensive performance profiling system
  • Flexible XML-based data structures
unigine heaven setts
We test at 2560×1440 with quality setting at ULTRA, Tessellation at NORMAL, and Anti-Aliasing at x2.
unigine heaven 1440pheaven 2015-11-11 13-35-47-98heaven 2015-11-11 13-03-02-35
Overall performance levels are as we would expect – in behind the GTX980.
Grid Autosport (styled as GRID Autosport) is a racing video game by Codemasters and is the sequel to 2008′s Race Driver: Grid and 2013′sGrid 2. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on June 24, 2014. (Wikipedia).
1440p1grid 2
We test at 2560×1440 with 8xMSAA and with the ‘ULTRA’ profile enabled.
grid autosport 1440p
Performance is really good at 1440p, averaging 83 frames per second and maintaining a 70+ frame rate at all times.Grid Autosport (styled asGRID Autosport) is a racing video game by Codemasters and is the sequel to 2008′s Race Driver: Grid and 2013′s Grid 2. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on June 24, 2014. (Wikipedia).
grid4k1grid 2
We test at 3840×2160 with 8xMSAA and with the ‘ULTRA’ profile enabled.
grid autosport 4k
An average of 56 frames per second at Ultra HD 4k is a good result. Manually overclocking the card to the limits increases the frame rate variable by 5 frames per second.
Tomb Raider received much acclaim from critics, who praised the graphics, the gameplay and Camilla Luddington’s performance as Lara with many critics agreeing that the game is a solid and much needed reboot of the franchise. Much criticism went to the addition of the multiplayer which many felt was unnecessary. Tomb Raider went on to sell one million copies in forty-eight hours of its release, and has sold 3.4 million copies worldwide so far. (Wikipedia).
trsetts1
We test at 1440p with the ‘ULTIMATE’ image quality profile selected.
tomb raider 1440p
Tomb Raider performs very smoothly with the AMD hardware on test today. The average frame rate holds at 64 frames per second and increases to 69 frames per second after being manually overclocked.Tomb Raider received much acclaim from critics, who praised the graphics, the gameplay and Camilla Luddington’s performance as Lara with many critics agreeing that the game is a solid and much needed reboot of the franchise. Much criticism went to the addition of the multiplayer which many felt was unnecessary. Tomb Raider went on to sell one million copies in forty-eight hours of its release, and has sold 3.4 million copies worldwide so far. (Wikipedia).
trsetts2
We test at 3840×2160 (4K) with the ‘ULTIMATE’ image profile selected. We normally reduce the image quality profile to ‘ULTRA’ at this resolution, but we decided to keep it at the highest image quality possible.
tomb raider 4k
If you want to play Tomb Raider with the eye candy maxed at Ultra HD 4K then you will likely want higher frame rates than the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ can deliver, even after manual overclocking. The Fury X and GTX980 Ti both perform very well at this resolution for instance. You could also reduce image quality, but that defeats the purpose of high resolution gaming.
Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure game played from either a first-person or third-person view. Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story.
Outside of missions, players can freely roam the open world. Composed of the San Andreas open countryside area and the fictional city of Los Santos, the world of Grand Theft Auto V is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series.
The world may be fully explored from the beginning of the game without restrictions, although story progress unlocks more gameplay content. (Wikipedia).
We maximised every slider – FXAA was enabled, although we left all other Anti Aliasing settings disabled – based on reader feedback from previous reviews. ‘Ignore Suggested Limits’ was turned ‘ON’.
GTA5 2015-07-01 12-04-03-00GTA5 2015-07-01 12-04-10-77
GTA5 2015-07-01 12-04-16-88GTA5 2015-07-01 12-04-23-80
We found some intensive sections of the Grand Theft Auto 5 world and tested each card multiple times to confirm accuracy. The game demanded around 3.5GB of GPU memory at 1440p and just over 4GB at 4K.
GTA5 1440p
A very demanding engine at the highest image quality settings. The frame rates are reasonably good, as long as you don’t expect a solid 60 frames per second at all times.Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure game played from either a first-person or third-person view. Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story.
Outside of missions, players can freely roam the open world. Composed of the San Andreas open countryside area and the fictional city of Los Santos, the world of Grand Theft Auto V is much larger in area than earlier entries in the series.
The world may be fully explored from the beginning of the game without restrictions, although story progress unlocks more gameplay content. (Wikipedia).
We maximised every slider – FXAA was enabled, although we left all other Anti Aliasing settings disabled – based on reader feedback from previous reviews. ‘Ignore Suggested Limits’ was turned ‘ON’.
GTA5 4K1GTA5 4k2
GTA5-3GTA5-4
We found some intensive sections of the Grand Theft Auto 5 world and tested each card multiple times to confirm accuracy. The game demanded around 3.5GB of GPU memory at 1440p and just over 4GB at 4K.
GTA5 4k
Grand Theft Auto V benefits from a good SLI or Crossfire configuration at Ultra HD 4K resolutions. The R9 390 struggles to maintain a solid 30 frames per second at these settings.Metro 2033 Redux is a remake of the original game, with enhanced graphics. We often test with Metro Last Light Redux, but decided to mix things around for this review today. We test at 2560×1440 with the following settings: Quality-Very High, SSAA-off, Texture Filtering-16x, Motion Blur-Normal, Tessellation-Normal, Advanced Physx-off.
metro 1440p
These settings indicate how beneficial the manual overclock can be. Minimum frame rates are increased from 25 fps to 30 fps after overclocking.
Metro 2033 Redux is a remake of the original game, with enhanced graphics. We often test with Metro Last Light Redux, but decided to mix things around for this review today. We test at 2560×1440 with the following settings: Quality-Very High, SSAA-off, Texture Filtering-16x, Motion Blur-Normal, Tessellation-Normal, Advanced Physx-off.
metro 4k
The R9 390 doesn’t successfully power the engine at these very high settings at Ultra HD 4K.
Ashes Of The Singularity is still in the early phases of development, although you can buy it from STEAM as an ‘early access’ game overHERE. This game has a Direct X 12 mode available, if you are using Windows 10. We don’t expect our results today will be indicative of the engine performance when the final game is released in the future, but it is interesting to include as an additional test.
4k-setts
We test at 3840×2160 with the ‘Crazy’ Profile enabled, but with Anti Aliasing disabled.
ashes of the singularity
ashes of the singularityashes oc
The manual overclock to 1,150mhz improves the batches avg score from 16.1 to 17.8.
The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 23c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this.Idle temperatures were measured after sitting at the desktop for 30 minutes. Load measurements were acquired by playing Crysis Warhead for 30 minutes and measuring the peak temperature. We also have included Furmark results, recording maximum temperatures throughout a 30 minute stress test. All fan settings were left on automatic.
temps
temps
The triple fan cooler performs exceptionally well, holding gaming temperatures at 58c under extended load.
We install the graphics card into our system and measure temperatures on the back of the PCB with our Fluke Visual IR Thermometer/Infrared Thermal Camera. This is a real world running environment playing Tomb Raider for extended periods of time.
Details shown below.
GPU hotspot 1
The backplate in most areas holds around 55-56c, however there is a small area shown above which rises to 60c after around 30 minutes of gaming. Great results for PowerColor.
We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with almost completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests.
We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation. Ambient noise in the room measures close to the limits of our sound meter at 28dBa. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum
noise
The PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ is a relatively quiet card, although the three fans do generate a little noise under load. The cooling results on the previous page however indicate the PowerColor design is very effective. The card exhibited no coil whine in our synthetic stress tests. Bonus points for that.
We measure power consumption from the whole system when idle and when gaming, excluding the monitor.
power consumption
The PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ consumes more power than the reference design, with the system demanding around 350 watts under load. By comparison the Sapphire R9 390 Nitro 8GB demands around 20 watts less.
In the real world, very few people have £500 available to burn on a new graphics card. The sub £300 market is where the action really heats up – with manufacturers vying to deliver the best performing product at the best possible price.
The PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ is a solution that deserves special mention due to the fantastic cooling system the company have incorporated. The triple fan cooler is one of the best we have tested, specifically in regards to thermal cooling efficiency. We analysed many game titles for multiple hours at a time, and the core temperature held at a steady 58c without any throttling. This is class leading.
650px4
Our testing has highlighted that PowerColor have opted for a slightly more aggressive fan profile under load, however it is still a relatively quiet card and any fan noise will likely be drowned out by case fans.
We have reviewed many R9 390 partner cards by this stage and we already know that the card is an excellent performer, especially at the latest aggressive price point. The PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ is available in the UK right now for £250, and when manually overclocked it will outperform the significantly more expensive R9 390x.
If you want to game at Ultra HD 4k, and have the monitor already and £500 to spend on graphics, then two PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ cards, overclocked to the limit would deliver great results. It is clearly significantly faster than the GTX970 and when overclocked to 1,150mhz the solution can even often outperform the standard GTX980.
overclockers logo 250pxYou can buy the PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ from Overclockers UK for £249.95 inc vat HERE.
Discuss on our Facebook page, over HERE.
Pros:
  • At £249.95 it is a tough one to beat.
  • looks fantastic.
  • triple fan solution is a cooling monster.
  • manually tweakable to give R9 390X performance.
  • no coil whine.
Cons:
  • not the quietest card we have tested in recent months.
  • high power demand.
Share on Google Plus

About Yomal Malinda

    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

0 comments:

Post a Comment

We value your comments... Whether it is Good or Bad they are the only thing which we can get from you guys...! :) :) Please be kind enough to stop by and comment something about this post....!

Powered by Blogger.