Graphics card decision. R9 380?

TL;DR: Need a GFX card for 1080P around $230-250, considering R9 380 4GB, want input on which exact one. Want a card that will support future benefits of DX12-programmed games. nVidia/AMD, as long as return/customer support is good in case I have to return it.

Location: Illinois, USA

Hey everyone. I just made an account for this forum, although I have been meaning to make one for a long time. I love the show, and I'm sure we all have that in common. I am considering posting my question on Reddit, but sometimes I feel like I know more than most of the people there. This might be because the only hardware discussions I see are in /gaming or something similar. Anyway, here goes:

I am about to buy a graphics card. Finally! I am willing to spend ~$250 USD, and I have been eyeing the 4GB R9 380. I am a bit fuzzy on some things though; I haven't been keeping up too much with graphics hardware. Unless I am mistaken, I remember memory bandwidth being pretty much the most important aspect, and a pretty damn good indicator of overall performance. Recently, with the Fury especially, I learned that this isn't as deterministic as I thought. I hope some of you can help me make a decision, and also to learn a bit more than I know. I have been reading a lot lately and comparing cards, but I want to make this order tomorrow before shipping time. At the same time, I don't want to make the same mistake I have before when I bought a Zotac 560ti 448 too-largely on the way it looks and not enough based on reviews. That card ran insanely hot and died too early - it also had a unique board design that didn't allow for any aftermarket coolers. What a shame! It lasted years, but I have been using a 9800GT EE with a CPU fan rubber-banded onto it for nearly a year now.

Here are some of the things I am looking for:
Adequate / Great cooling (Very Important)
Low heat output if possible, 560 baked my room. (Not too important, I will suffer for performance)
Sturdy design
Possibility to replace the HSF with a common cooling solution, should it die. This isn't too important as long as the fans are good.
Ability to run Fallout 4 and GTA 5 @ 1080P. (I feel silly listing this for some reason.)
Full compatibility and ability to take advantage of DirectX 12 efficiency benefits, if this is possible to determine yet. (It won't be really available until new games are programmed specifically to take advantage of the speed-improving benefits, right?)

I know that 4GB may be overkill for 1080P, but one of the problems I ran in to with my 560Ti 448 was the size of the VRAM. It has 1.25GB, but I quickly used that up with Fallout / Skyrim mods. I also know that a R9 380 should get about 45+FPS on GTAV if the rest of the hardware allows for it.
Current system PCPartpicker with as much as I could find:

The rest of my system is:
Mobo: TH55B HD version 6.xx
CPU: Intel Core i3-540 @ 3.6Ghz ( Dual-core w/ HT - 1st generation, soon to be a i7 860 overclocked. 4/8 C/T)
HSF: Hyper 212
PSU: 550W OCZ ZT Series (Modular, 2x 6-pin PCI-e power cables - 45A on the 12v)
RAM: 7GB 1333Mhz (4GBx1, 1GBx3 - I know this is odd, but just the way I upgraded. Still comes up as dual-channel, must be asymmetric?)

Can anyone give me a review of their R9 380 or comparable card? Can anyone recommend I do or don't get a R9 380 of a specific brand and type? Thank you for reading all of this, or for answering at all.

Edit: I would appreciate any advice in general about this rig / hardware upgrades / websites to shop.

The Sapphire cards are fucking nice. Buddy of mine has the 2GB Dual-X and loves it, I'm not sure exactly where his personal frame rates sit, but I know that when he upgraded he instantly fell in love with it. He games at 1080P and has no problems at all, so I imagine the 4GB version would do just as well and with more of a buffer in memory.

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The 4gb should do well.

With 6GB of ram being the minimum for some games, maybe up it to 10GB by replacing a 1gb with a 4gb if at all possible.

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Not sure if your CPU will bottleneck newer cards or not. Are you 100% set on AMD? I've found in recent years there cards are pretty hot and loud. Perhaps a 4gb 960 or a used 970 would work well for your set up?

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4gb 960 or 280 ~ cant go wrong with either really, 960 wise there are the acx and superclocked versions , 280's there are the nice gigabyte soc's
- once you get that i7 you wont hold back either gpu.

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I would definitely consider the 380 over the 960. It's a faster card and the 4GIB model is the exact same price. BUT on a sidenote, see if you can find an R9-290. They are dirt cheap. I've seen a few for around $249 or $259.


I'd go with msi for the 380 their customer support is superb, avoid Asus you'll never be able to make a successful warranty claim, those bastards...

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I have a pair of Gigabyte R9 285s. (The predecessor to the R9 380.) They only have 2gb of VRAM, but they are pretty good. As long as I didn't utilize any anti-aliasing, I could play Metro: Last Light at max settings. Frame rates were around 45ish. If Ultra settings aren't your goal, then a single R9 380 should quite handedly play any game at 1080p - and you can probably feel free to play some games, using VSR, at 1440p.

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Thank you, everyone, for your input. I made a decision and will elaborate in a little bit.

Update: I went with this card through Newegg:

MSI Radeon R9 380 GAMING 4G

Along with everyone's input here, I read nothing but good things about MSI and loved the addition of the backplate. Also, I read a lot of good things about the Twin Frozr cooling. I was able to use a coupon code for $25 off, so I bumped the shipping to 3-day for a grand total of $222.86! I'm excited to see how this system will compare to when I had the 560Ti 448, and to have my first new AMD product. Thank you all, I got more help than I thought I ever would so quickly.

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I just finished installing the MSI R9 380 4G and putting it through its paces. It's fucking awesome! It keeps my CPU pinned @ 100% on GTA 5, but I don't have to run in windowed mode with a reduced resolution anymore. As soon as I get an i7-860 for ~$65 on eBay/Amazon, this entire PC will scream in gaming. After that will be RAM and a SSD, but even now this rig is amazing. The card stays really cool and very quiet. I feel perfect about this purchase.

Update: I definitely need to create my own temp:fan speed curves with MSI Afterburner, since this card likes to stay at 60°C, but besides that, this card is awesome. I am only able to push it to about 40-60% with this CPU, so the i7-860 should pair nicely with it. I have played Project CARS with it today, and it keeps the GPU at about 50% while my CPU is limiting me. It's awesome!


They are nice when you don't have to deal with RMA. They use a third party for RMA and it is athlon micro. If you search their site. It looks like it was built and never updated in the 90s