On a meta note this evening, over the last week I have received a number of questions about last week’s Radeon R9 Fury X review. Several of these questions were regarding the matter of pump noise, a matter which has been called into question for the original run of R9 Fury X cards.

As a quick reminder, here’s what the noise situation looks like on the R9 Fury X.

In short, the R9 Fury X has great overall noise performance under load. However the pump doesn’t idle all that well, and as a result its idle noise performance is second only to the R9 295X2, a card with two pumps. Compared to contemporary competitors like the GTX 980 Ti, the R9 295X2 ends up being just under 4dB(A) louder than the competition, a not insignificant amount when we’re talking about idle noise levels, and is why we don’t believe the R9 Fury X to be a good fit for HTPCs or other environments where idle noise is of great concern.

Meanwhile there is a secondary matter, which is the tone of that noise. Several of our colleagues, including Tom’s Hardware, PC Perspective, and The Tech Report, have reported that their samples are producing a whining noise. This was not an issue with our sample, and is the crux of the questions I have received on the matter.

So to get right to the point and to answer those questions sent my way, does the R9 Fury X whine? The fact that as many other empirical-minded sites are reporting issues and that AMD has issued a statement on the matter (more on this later) certainly points to a whining issue that needed to be addressed.

At the same time I’ve also had several people ask if our card is somehow different – why we aren’t experiencing whining – and the best answer there is due to variation in the production process leading to different amounts of noise from each card. Just like chip quality there will be minute variations in each card produced, and in this case our card would appear to have varied in such a way as to not suffer from vibrational issues to the same extent as some other cards, dampening enough to eliminate the whining (or at least make it unnoticeable). Which again, just like chip quality variations, doesn't mean our card is identical to all other cards, only that in our specific case we aren't experiencing whining, and is why we haven't had any whining to report on so far. Meanwhile I would also note that our testing is with a closed case, however the case is open for noise testing to more directly measure the video card.

In any case, for current Fury X owners and any prospective buyers, AMD has issued a statement earlier in the week, essentially addressing the issue and discussing how it is being resolved in latter batches.

We have received feedback that during open bench testing a small number of Fury X cards emit a sound from the high speed liquid cooling pump that, while not loud, is bothersome to some users. While the vast majority of initial Fury X owners report remarkably quiet operation, we take this feedback seriously, as AMD’s mission is to always deliver the best possible experience to our Radeon customers.

AMD Radeon R9 Fury X customers demand and deserve the best, so adjustments in the sound baffling adhesive compound were applied in the assembly of the high speed cooling pump to address the specific sound a few end users experienced as problematic. This improved the acoustic profile of the pump, and repeat testing shows the specific pitch/sound in question was largely reduced through adjustments to the sound-baffling adhesive compound in the pump.

AMD will work with its graphic card partners to ensure the satisfaction of the small number of initial customers who observed this specific sound and experienced it as bothersome. AMD is confident that on-going production of Radeon R9 Fury X product reduces the specific sound in question, but this is also a highly subjective matter with wide differences in PC case builds and room acoustics.

The AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury X radiator fan is near silent, and this makes any sound from the high-speed pump more noticeable to some end users, especially during open bench testing. Thus although the overall sound levels are remarkably low for an enthusiast product, AMD has worked to reduce the specific sound that some customers report as bothersome.

AMD for their part believes that the issue has been resolved going forward, and that is something that will need to be tested as the newer batches become available.

Finally, in the meantime there is the matter of the existing cards. AMD’s statement unfortunately doesn’t address the matter, though this is not unexpected since they aren’t directly selling the card to consumers. From what we’re hearing, the board partners are addressing this matter themselves, so any current Fury X owners experiencing pump whining would need to go to their board partner that sold their card for support.

The catch at the moment is that after the initial launch, new R9 Fury X cards remain sparse. A quick check on stock history for the card shows that while new shipments come in almost daily, they also sell out in under an hour, which indicates that cards are hard to come by. So depending on how many support requests are filed and how board partners address the issue, it may not be possible to replace every problematic card at once. Though to be clear, this is speculation on our part.

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  • Guwapo77 - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - link

    XFX rep told me that Cooler Master outsources their pumps supplied for the AMD cards.
  • mr_tawan - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    To my surprise, there are a lot of people complaining about the pump noise. At first I though it's a character of the AIO water cooler, as the one AIO I have also have the pump whine problem (it's Asetek-designer cooler, I believe. cannot remember the exact brand, but definely the bottom of the lineup.). I just lived with it for a long time before made a switch back to air cooler.

    But it does make some sense. In the case of CPU cooler, if ones not happy with the cooler, they just swap it with something else. For the GPU that's not the usual case as it comes with the card as one product.

    Anyway, I'd love to know what is the actual cause of the noise. Is it the size/power of the pump ? Or the pump is defective ?
  • Guwapo77 - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - link

    Cooler Master is the company used and the pump is outsourced to yet another unknown company. To answer your question, the pump is defective but works very well. It's just noisy as all hell.
  • FriendlyUser - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    Thanks for your feedback. Reading forums and other sites made me believe that 120% of cards were whining. I wonder what percentage of users are affected. Anyway, I rarely buy games or hardware at launch waiting for small (or big) issues to get ironed-out.
  • Reflex - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    I am not certain where to post this, so I'm putting it here. I usually do not complain about advertising, however in the past couple weeks Anandtech seems to have gone over the top. I do not know if this is due to the Purch acquisition.

    Right now when I load Anandtech about 75% of the screen is dedicated to advertising. I have a giant underwear ad about 3x the size of the Anandtech title bar across the top. I have a Fractal Design case ad running down about 30% of my space on each side. I have a large banner ad for Quickbooks to the right of the content. And before I could even see all that, I first had to click through a full screen Quickbooks ad to even get to the page.

    Furthermore, scrolling down revealed two more ads. The first batch I would call inconvenient and distracting, but these are more malicious. One advertises a economic forecast by "Dr Ron Paul" that leads to an online money scam. The other is a banner ad at the bottom advertising a driver updating app that is best categorized as malware/spyware.

    While I understand that Anandtech needs to make money, I believe that there needs to be some sort of guidelines for new advertising. At the bare minimum, ads that inhibit my ability to even reach the site (and its other advertising) should be strongly reconsidered as my first urge is to simply click away. More importantly, advertising that is linked to scams or malware should absolutely not be tolerated, that is a betrayal of your users.

    If this is the direction that ads continue to go, I will unfortunately stop checking this site daily as I have since 1998. I can't trust that an ad here is being vetted to ensure its not injecting a zero day exploit currently, and that really upsets me. I would strongly suggest looking at what Ars Technica has done with their advertising policies and guidelines as they seem to have achieved somewhat of a balance. Whether that is possible here or not I do not know, but I do know that my trust is being eroded and that makes me sad.

    -Reflex / David
  • MrbLOB9000 - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    the Ads are going crazy and will drive even more people to install Adblock and the like, lowering ad revenue even more, just so they don't get malware FROM A TECH SITE! There really needs to be a balance before you drive away the remaining people who leave ads on to support the pages they visit...
  • webdoctors - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    I always assumed it was to filter ppl that don't know about adblock :-)

    I find the anandtech website is great for reminding me I forgot to install adblock whenever I get a new machine or VM to work on. I come to anandtech and boom, huge full screen in your face ads screaming at you to turn on adblock. Its very effective also at testing your adblock.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    Hi Reflex, thank you for the feedback. I take such concerns very seriously and I have passed them along to our publisher, Purch.
  • Reflex - Friday, July 10, 2015 - link

    Thank you very much for the reply. I hope that leads to some concrete changes. I have always respected the staff here and I knew these decisions are likely out of your control, but I also didn't want to pile on the "OMG Purch is ruining Anandtech" bandwagon either. ;)

    I will be paying attention and I trust that you are serious about maintaining community trust.
  • Murloc - Sunday, July 12, 2015 - link

    Purch spent money on this, now they're going to monetize, and the writers can't do anything about except trying to convince them that the readers here are different and will throw adblock at their ads.

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