MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8GB



1. Introduction

Micro-Star International Co., Ltd or MSI is a Taiwanese multinational information technology corporation founded in 1986, headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan. It designs, develops and provides computer hardware, related products and services, including laptops, motherboards, graphics cards, All-in-One PCs, servers, industrial computers, PC peripherals, car infotainment products, and so on.



Official product link:

2. Packaging and accessories

The Graphics Card is packaged in a box with a black background and red accents. The front side of the packaging presents the product using the MSI dragon, the symbol of the Gaming line, on the side we find printed both the model of the graphic card and the emblems of the manufacturers: AMD and MSI.
Also the black background of the packaging features an angular pattern which represents circuitry traces.


The back side of the packaging presents the graphic card and its features including the cooling system used and the card’s specifications.


On the sides of the packaging there are printed both the model of the product and the manufacturer’s logo.

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The product comes with the following accessories:
–    1x Manual
–    1x Driver CD
–    1x 8-Pin Power Adapter

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3. Specifications

Name: MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8GB
Model: R9 390X
Graphics Processor: Hawaii
Transistors: 6200M
Shader Units: 2816
Interface: PCI Express x16 3.0
Core Clock / Memory frequency:
1100 MHz / 6100 MHz (OC Mode)
1080 MHz / 6000 MHz (Gaming Mode)
1050 MHz / 6000 MHz (Silent Mode)
Memory Size (MB): 8192
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Interface: 512 bits
Memory Clock Speed (MHz): 6100 (OC Mode) / 6000
DVI Connectors: 2 (Dual-link DVI-D), Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600 @60 Hz.
HDMI Connectors: 1 (version 1.4a), Max Resolution: 4096×2160 @24 Hz (1.4a)
Display Port: 1 (version 1.2), Max Resolution: 4096×2160 @60 Hz
Maximum Displays: 3
HDCP Support: Yes
RAMDAC speed (MHz): 400
DirectX Version Support: 12
OpenGL Version Support: 4.4
Multi-GPU Technology: CrossFire™
Card Dimension (mm): 277 x 129 x 51
Card Weight (g): 1312
Power consumption (W): 275
Recommended PSU (W): 750
Power Connectors: 1x 6-Pin, 1x 8-Pin


–    TWIN FROZR V – COOLER, QUIETER, BETTER GAMING – With every new generation of GPUs comes more performance. With every new generation of MSI Twin Frozr we give you less noise and heat! We’ve listened to all your requests and the new Twin Frozr V is smaller, features stronger fans, generates less noise, keeps your graphics card and its components cooler and matches perfectly with your MSI GAMING motherboard including some funky LED lightning.
–    TORX Fan – Traditionanl Fan Blade Maximizes downwards airflow and air dispersion to the massive heat sink below them. The Dispersion Fan Blade intakes more airflow to maximize air dissipation to heat-sink.
–    ZERO FROZR – MSI’s Twin Frozr V Thermal Designs are equipped with ZeroFrozr technology which was first introduced by MSI back in 2008. ZeroFrozr technology eliminates fan noise in low-load situations by stopping the fans when they are not needed.
–    Catching the Vibe with Cool LED Effects – Featuring a premium LED illuminated MSI GAMING Dragon to lighten the mood. This brand new function allows you to choose from 5 unique modes to set the right ambience for your gaming moments with just one click.
–    Military Class components: MSI only uses MIL-STD-810G certified components for its Gaming cards because only these components have proven to be able to withstand the torturous circumstances of extreme gaming and overclocking.

4. Visual inspection

The Graphics Card uses the latest cooling system available: the Twin frozr V which ensures the cooling of the graphics card and maintains the Red-Black color combination of the Gaming line. Also the graphics card has a length of 277mm, width of 129mm and a thickness of 51mm.
The 390X model was launched on June 18th, 2015, being based on the previous generation GPUs (R9 290/ R9 290X).

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The Twin Frozr V cooling system featured on the MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8GB model uses 5 heatpipes of different sizes, these are made out of nickel-plated copper.

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In order to ensure the cooling of the Graphics Card the cooler features a solid heatsink consisted of aluminum fins, due to its construction the cooler takes up three PCIe slots and has a thickness of approximately 47mm.

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The airflow is generated by the two 100mm Torx fans, each fan using 14 blades with different shape and sizes. Due to the shape of the blades the air is directed towards the heatsink & heatpipes for a better cooling.
Also the fans spin independently of each other.

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On the side we find both the manufacturer logo and the MSI Dragon, the symbol of the Gaming line.

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The back of the graphics card is covered by a matte black backplate. On the right side the backplate is perforated using a honeycomb pattern.
On the left side we find the MSI dragon which has a glossy texture in contrast with the rest of the backplate that has a matte finish.

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Power delivery on the R9 390X Gaming 8GB model is done through two PCI-Express power connectors: one 8-Pin and one 6-Pin, they are positioned on the right corner of the graphics card.


On the rear of the graphic card we find the following ports:
–    2x DVI
–    1x HDMI version 1.4a
–    3 Display Port version 1.2


5. Testing

The following system was used to test the graphics card:
–    Processor: Intel i5 4690K @ 3.9 GHz
–    Motherboard: MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK
–    RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical
–    SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
–    HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB
–    PSU: Antec Edge 550W Gold + InWin GreenMe 700W Bronze
–    Display: AOC i2769VM
–    Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White

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To test the R9 390X Gaming 8GB model, the AMD Crimson Edition 16.2 driver was used, being the latest AMD driver available at the time of writing the review.

All the games used to test the graphics cards are set to their highest quality settings with the resolution 1920 x 1080. Both the games and benchmarks used were run three times.
The software used to measure the temperature and frames per second (FPS) are the following:
–    AIDA64 Extreme V5.60.3700
–    GPU-Z 0.8.7
–    MSI Afterburner 4.2.0

The overclocking has been done using the default fan settings.

Each graphic card overclocks differently, thus the results obtained in the review can differ.

In the case of the R9 390X Gaming 8GB model, it achieved a maximum overclock of 1165MHz Base Clock and 1700MHz Memory.



The test results are as follows:

Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0



Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0 Score



Grand Theft Auto V



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt



Tomb Raider 2013



Battlefield 3



GRID Autosport



Temp. Performance



The power consumption of the graphics card is measured at the wall socket, the graphic card is powered by a separated Power Supply. The PSU in question consumes 10W.
The Idle tests consists of the system left at the Desktop for 30 minutes, the power consumption is measured during the test.
Full Load: Represents the power consumption of the graphics card while playing a modern video game, in this case the benchmark of Tomb Raider 2013 with the following settings: 1920 x 1080, Ultra Preset, TressFX OFF, 4xAA.
Peak: Represents the power consumption of the graphics card during a synthetic benchmark, in this case FurMark 1.15.1.



The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 5 db.

Sound Performance: idle


Sound Performance: Full Load



6. Final thoughts

The MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8GB is a good Graphics Card which stands out due to its performance at resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) thanks to its 8GB of memory. At a normal resolution such as 1920 x 1080 the R9 390X model has a similar performance with the GTX 970 from Nvidia however at 1440p the performance is close to that of a GTX 980, this is possible thanks to its bigger memory.
The MSI proprietary Twin Frozr V cooler is good, the graphics card maintaining at a maximum temperature of 78 °C. Also the cooler is silent, the two 100mm fans remain off until the graphics card reaches 60 °C.
The main drawback of this graphics card is the large power consumption during use, the graphics card drawing up to 372W during a synthetic benchmark and approximately 312W during gaming.
The large power consumption of the board influences the entire system due to the hot air evacuated by its cooler.
In conclusion, the MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8GB model is a good graphics card from a performance and temperature point of view however at a common resolution such as 1920 x 1080 it is caught up by graphics cards such as the GTX 970 which is cheaper and more efficient from a power consumption and temperature point of view.



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