An Article for the Tech Savvy: Pros and Cons of Two Enthusiast Grade Graphics Cards


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By Noah Labrecque

In this article I’ll be comparing two enthusiast grade graphics cards. The MSI versions of the AMD Radeon R9 390 and the NVidia GTX 970. Both are great cards and are in the 450$ range. Being the MSI variants, both cards will run cooler than the stock versions, leaving a lot of room for overclocking and for quieter functioning.

The first thing to discuss is the video ram (vram) issue: The GTX 970 has 3.5 giga bytes (gbs) of working vram and another 0.5 gbs that’s a lot slower. Whereas the R9 390 has 8 fully working gigs. Both have GDDR5 memory, but GTX 970’s memory is clocked at 7010 mega hertz (mhz) and the R9 390’s memory is clocked at 6100 mhz. The GTX 970’s core clock is significantly higher at 1216 mhz with a boost clock speed of 1367 mhz, compared to R9 390’s base clock speed of 1060 mhz. AMD overtakes NVidia when it comes to processing cores with 2560 vs the 970’s 1664. Both cards take quite well to overclocking.

When it comes to gaming benchmarks, the cards just keep leap frogging. The R9 390 does slightly better in most games but the GTX 970 does better in some titles including The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto 5. When overclocked, it gets closer; the GTX 970 does a bit better in some cases, having a more power efficient and cooler architecture. The GTX 970 runs quite a bit cooler than the R9 390, and you don’t need an expensive power supply.

Both are great bang-for-your-buck cards and capable of running the latest games at high settings in 1080p. The cards are both capable of 4k resolution, but they can’t deliver a satisfactory gaming experience in higher resolutions due to low frame rates.


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