February 08, 2016

Unboxing & Review: ASUS STRIX R9 380

Aside of its owlish design, ASUS's STRIX graphic cards are known for its 0db fan design that is ideal for the silent system enthusiasts and is a mainstream product lineup which ASUS offers. 

The STRIX R9 380 arrived at our lab not long ago, another great thanks for ASUS Malaysia for supporting our reviews here today! The STRIX R9 380 is one of AMD's offering in the R9 Radeon 300 series, which AMD boasts to be on positioned in the same segment as its rival from the green camp, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX960, but performs better in overall. With no further adieu, let's find out just how good the STRIX R9 380 is!

(The ASUS STRIX R9 380 retails at RM1199 for the 4GB model, RM1059 for the 2GB model)



The retail packaging for the STRIX brand graphics card is now the head of the STRIX owl, which gives it a more distinctive appearance compared to the previous generation STRIX brand that still uses the notable ripped metal design. 

The accessories included will be a PCIe Y-splitter (in case if you don't have that extra 8-pin PCIe cable on you PSU), a reflective STRIX logo sticker, user's manual and a driver CD.

The red stickers represent the pupil with the fan blades represents the iris of the eye of an owl. Feature wise, 0 dB fan technology isn't what we're expecting for. Instead of fans that spins silently, ASUS's came up with a rather odd design where the fan remains stationary when the temperature is below 65°C and will only spin when the temperature hits above 65°C - a little impractical we'd say, but it'll do good for the silent enthusiasts who wants their system to be in a near silent state while on idle.

Powering up the ASUS STRIX R9 380 requires an 8pin PCIe connector, which should be available on most mainstream power supplies unless you're using the basic unit that came with your budget ATX chassis.

It comes installed with a metal backplate to give the card not only an aesthetic add-on but also granting the card with extra rigidity as protection against the infamous PCB sagging that affects countless graphics cards known to date.

While it's rather odd for the R9 380 to not support crossfire setup given the fact that the support is available on the previous generation R9 280. Still, you'll still get to enjoy the same display output i.e: DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D and DVI-I.  

Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Corsair H100i
I7 4790K @4.6 GHz
ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero
Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB @2400 MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120 GB
Power Supply
be quiet! Straight Power 10
Display Monitor
Dell U2312HM

We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark in our possession on 1080p with the highest achievable clock speed for the GPU that is stable enough to be able to complete each benchmark with the following values:
  • Maximum boost clock of 1120MHz from the stock 990MHz
  • Memory speed 6200MHz from the stock 5500MHz
  • 1.2V on the voltage for GPU

Performance, Overclocking
We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmarks in our possession on a selected settings, which is considered as high for much of our test as usual.The final result of each benchmark is presented in the form of the graph below:

We've run the burn-in test on the FurMark GPU stress test utility for 1 hour with the fan operate under normal mode and maximum fan speed mode and the temperature for both test is recorded and populated in the graph below.

The ASUS STRIX R9 380 did a pretty good job in overall in terms of performance, as well as proving itself to be better than the GTX 960 as what AMD claimed. Although its overclocking capability isn't as much as we hoped for, the ASUS STRIX R9 380 still managed to handle most of the games we've used for benchmarking at its highest settings with a pretty decent fps count that is deemed playable.

Overclocking wise, we resolved at 1120MHz on the GPU clock as we find it difficult to maintain a balanced and stable performance above the 130MHz gain from the stock 990MHz, but still, we managed to observe a decent performance gain across all the games that we've used for benchmarking. 

At the price of RM1199 for 4GB model and RM1059 for 2GB model each, the ASUS STRIX R9 380 is considered as a worthy contender in the mid-high end tier, especially if you're rooting for the red team.

  • Decent out of the box performance
  • Good appearance 
  • Decent cooling performance
  • Totally silent during idle
  • Limited overclocking headroom