Product Listing

ASUS Strix Radeon R7 370 and R9 380 reviewed: New cards for the mainstream (Updated)

By Koh Wanzi - 18 Jun 2015
Launch SRP: S$399

ASUS Strix R9 380 DirectCU II OC 2G

The ASUS Strix Radeon R9 380 is a higher end card for gamers who want to game at resolutions surpassing 1080p. At its official announcement at E3, AMD singled out 1440p resolutions as the target for the Radeon R9 380.

The Radeon R9 380 is based on AMD’s Tonga GPU architecture, which first made an appearance on the Radeon R9 285 late last year. It appears that the Radeon R9 380 is actually a rebadge of this card with higher clock speeds.

The ASUS Strix Radeon R9 380 2GB ships with an out-of-the-box factory overclock of 990MHz, a notch up from the 975MHz on the reference card. But while the reference card supposedly comes with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, the version of the ASUS card we have with us has only 2GB of memory.

We find it a little strange that ASUS would choose to release a 2GB version of the card given that AMD explicitly stated that the Radeon R9 380 is designed to handle 1440p resolutions. As we’ll see in our results later, 2GB unfortunately isn’t really enough to handle gaming at resolutions above 1080p. Fortunately, there will in fact be a 4GB version released later on, but we don’t have many details on that as of now.

It has a 5500MHz memory clock and a 256-bit memory bus width, which translates into just 176GB/s of memory bandwidth, lower than that the 179.2GB/s on the ASUS Strix Radeon R7 370 which has 4GB of video memory.

A quick look at the specifications of the card.

As this is a custom card, it also features ASUS’ dual-slot DirectCU II cooler and a solid metal backplate that we really like. The brushed metal plate confers pleasant heft to the card and prevents the PCB from flexing.

The metal backplate protects the card in style.

The DirectCU II cooler utilizes the same wing-blade 0-dB fan technology to maximize air flow and ensure silent operation.

The ASUS Strix R9 380 DirectCU II sports the same aggressive Strix design as its R7 370 counterpart.

It is however longer than the ASUS Strix Radeon R7 370 (271mm vs 214mm), and ASUS has managed to pack an additional 10mm heatpipe, in addition to two 8pmm copper heatpipes. These are in direct contact with the GPU and help channel heat away from it. Given that this is a more powerful card than the Radeon R7 370, it’s probably a wise decision on ASUS’ part to beef up the cooler with the additional thicker heatpipe.

The card sports two 8mm heatpipes and an additional 10mm heatpipe running perpendicular to the camera.

Moving on to the back of the card, we see a standard array of display connectors including one DVI-I port, one DVI-D port, one HDMI output, and a DisplayPort connector.

The card has your expected array of ports, comprising one DVI-D port, one DVI-I port, one HDMI connector, and one DisplayPort output.

Power is delivered to the card via a single 8-pin connector, a change from the 2x 6-pin design on the reference card. And like on the R7 370, there is an LED light above the PCIe power connector that glows red when there’s a faulty connection or no power, and white when all is well.

The card is powered by a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.

The ASUS Strix Radeon R9 380 2GB commands a S$60 premium over the Strix Radeon R7 370 4GB at S$399, which places it above the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, but quite a bit below the GeForce GTX 970 and AMD Radeon R9 280X.

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