Asus Strix R9 390x DirectCU III OC 8GB - User Review Introduction Hello again! Today I am here to show you the Asus Strix R9 390X 8GB DirectCU III. It’s big and powerful. The card is based on full AMD Hawaii core, featuring 2086 stream processors, attached to a 512-bit memory bus with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM attached for anything you can possibly throw at it. Originally the core featured in the R9 290X on release a couple of years back, but has now been refined to allow for a more power friendly design allowing for a little extra in base core clocks. Asus has completely redesigned the layout for the power delivery, and provided an upgraded cooling solution featuring its new DirectCU III cooler. Power delivery is through an 8-phase setup featuring Asus Super Alloy II components for smooth power delivery and minimal electrical noise. Seriously though, this card is massive. Compared to my EVGA 780 Ti SSC with ACS Cooler, it practically dwarfs it. It’s clean and appealing to the eye, and has no sharp edges to cut your hands on. The DirectCU III cooler used features the same 0dB setup as the previous generation DirectCU II heatsink, allowing for silent operation during normal PC use, such as internet browsing, general workstation use and video viewing. The sheer size of the cooler is enough to understand how this is possible. When you first look at it, the main thing that stands out is the Strix logo on the back plate, then the two (2) massive 10mm heat pipes entwined with 3 smaller 8mm heat pipes to take all of that volcanic heat from the copper heatsink core away to the aluminium fin array. Features are well in line with the current range of video cards on the market. The card itself features support for DirectX12, Mantle, OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.0 and AMD’s GCN 1.1 Stream processors. Specifications Features / Software AUTO-EXTREME TECHNOLOGY I mentioned this back in my GTX 960 Strix Review (found here : http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=1188878 ), so those who read through, you can probably skip over this sections. Asus have taken things a little further with a complete ground-up design based around Auto-Extreme Technology. This is a first for the industry. The one thing I find that stands out with Asus products is the persistence in being market leaders in not only design and performance, but also its manufacturing process. Basically, Asus has developed an automated system for the production of its products and have removed the ‘human error’ factor and increased quality control of the products. In the process they have saved the workers from all those harsh gases released with the use of flux. Don’t look at this the wrong way, it’s a win-win for all. We, the end users can purchase a product of a very high quality standard, and for the workers in the factory, they no longer will have their lives shortened from breathing the deadly fumes every day. The final product is a nice neat looking card with fantastic quality control and a more reliable unit. All pluses in my books. Here is a video to explain the process better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gRpuurPsuc GPU Tweak II Software Included with all Asus Graphics cards is their own GPU Tweak software. I mentioned it in my previous review of the Asus GTX 960 Strix 2GB (Link - http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=1188878) Initial setup was quick and simple. The layout is very easy to navigate and customise to suit what you want to see/use. The setup menu allows for keyboard shortcuts, and also to decide on start-up options. Another option is to unlock further settings past the limited clock, power, and memory settings for the more advanced users looking to push things further than most. Factory profiles are included for: Silent operation (a slightly under-clocked setting) Gaming (which is the default clock speeds) OC (a minor overclocked setting) Or User Profile, which can be setup and saved to suit yourself, or you can add extras to suit your own personal needs. Attached to the main tab is the monitoring graphs, which are customizable for layout and what you would like included. This can be docked to the main settings, or unlocks to place on your desktop wherever you choose. There is also a Game Booster option. This is supposed to be helpful to reduce the OS overhead to assist in increasing frame rates. Honestly, I gave this a go myself to see if it made a difference, but for me, there was no change. I can see that on some systems, where they are older or more bloated that it could have a measurable effect. I would say it didn’t an effect on mine as it was a clean install, with nothing needing optimizing. Photos / Comments The product comes well packaged in a cardboard box, with sufficient packing around to ensure there is little chance for it to be damaged. Inside the box we have the graphics card itself, power splitter cable, driver CD, manual and a cool Strix Sticker. The accessories are supplied in a nicely designed box for safety and adds that little bit of luxury to the packaging. The card is also neatly packed into a foam enclosure to add the feel that this card is a little more special than most. Moving onto the cooler, as alluded to earlier this is the “BIG” feature of this card. The three (3) fans measure 75mm. Two (2) huge 10mm heat pipes take most of the heat from the core, with an additional three (3) 8mm copper heat pipes aiding to transfer the heat from the GPU core. The GPU core makes direct contact with the copper core of the heat sink and extracted via the copper heat pipes to the aluminium fin array. There is also what appears to be a solid finned heat sink to cover and spread the heat of the VRM componentry. For those that love a little bling, the Strix logo located on the side is nicely lit using a white pulsing light and really brings it to life. Asus have also adopted a brushed black anodised aluminium back plate to aid in cooling the rear of the PCB. The added benefit is the support it gives the graphics card from excess sag like some due to its sheer size and weight. That, and it just looks damn cool with the grey Asus and Strix logos. Overall, the card measures 30cm in length and 15cm in width. The power delivery for the card is supplied through both an 8-pin and 6-pin connectors, located on the rear edge. Asus have used their Super Alloy Power II component for the power delivery, featuring an 8-phase setup for cleaner power supply and longevity. Above the power connectors, there is red indicator LED’s which change to white when the power is connected correctly. The connectors are also rotated 180° from the usual, with a little notch in the PCB. This makes removal of the power a lot easier than other cards. Asus recommends a minimum of 750W power supply. Crossfire no longer requires the bridge of old, with the drivers taking care of everything over the PCI-E lanes. There are plenty of rear connectors and the rear bracket includes a small exhaust vent to help remove a small amount of heat. It includes four (4) different connectors: 1 dual link DVI-D, 1 x HDMI 1.4a and 3 x display port 1.2 outputs.