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The Radeon R9 Fury X card — continued

Fury X cards have one more bit of bling that's not apparent in the pictures above: die blikenlights. Specifically, the Radeon logo atop the cooler glows deep red. (The picture above lies. It's stoplight red, honest.) Also, a row of LEDs next to the power plugs serves as a GPU tachometer, indicating how busy the GPU happens to be.

These lights are red by default, but they can be adjusted via a pair of teeny-tiny DIP switches on the back of the card. The options are: red tach lights, blue tach lights, red and blue tach lights, and tach lights disabled. There's also a green LED that indicates when the card has dropped into ZeroCore power mode, the power-saving mode activated when the display goes to sleep.

Speaking of going to sleep, that's what I'm gonna do if we don't move on to the performance results. Let's do it.

Our testing methods
Most of the numbers you'll see on the following pages were captured with Fraps, a software tool that can record the rendering time for each frame of animation. We sometimes use a tool called FCAT to capture exactly when each frame was delivered to the display, but that's usually not necessary in order to get good data with single-GPU setups. We have, however, filtered our Fraps results using a three-frame moving average. This filter should account for the effect of the three-frame submission queue in Direct3D. If you see a frame time spike in our results, it's likely a delay that would affect when the frame reaches the display.

We didn't use Fraps with Civ: Beyond Earth or Battlefield 4. Instead, we captured frame times directly from the game engines using the games' built-in tools. We didn't use our low-pass filter on those results.

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Core i7-5960X
Motherboard Gigabyte X99-UD5 WiFi
Chipset Intel X99
Memory size 16GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance LPX
DDR4 SDRAM at 2133 MT/s
Memory timings 15-15-15-36 2T
Chipset drivers INF update
Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise
Audio Integrated X79/ALC898
with Realtek drivers
Hard drive Kingston SSDNow 310 960GB SATA
Power supply Corsair AX850
OS Windows 8.1 Pro

Driver revision GPU base
core clock
GPU boost
Asus Radeon R9 290X Catalyst 15.4/15.5 betas - 1050 1350 4096
Radeon R9 295 X2 Catalyst 15.4/15.5 betas - 1018 1250 8192
Radeon R9 Fury X Catalyst 15.15 beta - 1050 500 4096
GeForce GTX 780 Ti GeForce 352.90 876 928 1750 3072
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 GeForce 352.90 1228 1329 1753 4096
GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce 352.90 1002 1076 1753 6144
GeForce Titan X GeForce 352.90 1002 1076 1753 12288

Thanks to Intel, Corsair, Kingston, and Gigabyte for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. AMD, Nvidia, and the makers of the various products supplied the graphics cards for testing, as well.

Also, our FCAT video capture and analysis rig has some pretty demanding storage requirements. For it, Corsair has provided four 256GB Neutron SSDs, which we've assembled into a RAID 0 array for our primary capture storage device. When that array fills up, we copy the captured videos to our RAID 1 array, comprised of a pair of 4TB Black hard drives provided by WD.

Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.