SAPPHIRE Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700XT – Top Tier Navi

By Keith May  / 

AMD's Radeon RX 5700 series is finally getting the much-awaited custom variants and SAPPHIRE is finally out with its new Nitro+ lineup designed for RDNA based graphics cards. Having launched in July, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 lineup introduced very competitive prices for mainstream tier graphics cards which would go against the NVIDIA GeForce RTX lineup. Now, AIBs are further expanding the lineup with their non-reference variants that offer better cooling performance and higher out of box clock speeds.

The Radeon RX 5700 series uplifted AMD by bringing a modern architecture design and moving away from its GCN design. This allows AMD to bring more streamlined graphics performance in modern workloads and gaming titles. AMD was already ahead of the curve in utilizing new tech such as HBM and smaller process nodes and Navi is no exception. Aside from the new graphics architecture, AMD has also introduced GDDR6 memory and a smaller 7nm process node for their mainstream lineup which is a big update from the 14nm process on Polaris and Vega series cards.

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 5700 XT NITRO+ Special Edition Appears Online

Compared to NVIDIA's RTX 20 SUPER lineup, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 is much cheaper. The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is $100 cheaper than the GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER while the Radeon RX 5700 is $50 US cheaper than the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER and costs the same as the GeForce RTX 2060 (non-SUPER). The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT costs closer to the RTX 2070 but that card has been replaced by the new SUPER option which means that the RX 5700 XT, while positioned against the GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER is priced at RTX 2060 SUPER level.

Well, in terms of performance the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is supposed to be 10% faster than the RTX 2070 on average and the Radeon RX 5700 is supposed to be 10% faster than the RTX 2060 on average. The SUPER cards are almost 15% faster than their predecessors on average and since the Radeon RX 5700 series is much lower-priced, the should offer slightly better value. The biggest take away is that Radeon RX 5700 series doesn't support extra RTX features such as Ray-Tracing, DLSS that do make the RTX series a more compelling option and future-proof for next-gen titles that are going to support these features.

So we can say that the AMD Radeon RX 5700 series is great for users who are purely eyeing raw performance in gaming at better prices. The Radeon RX 5700 series is a much-needed lineup and an upgrade from the older Polaris cards but we will find out if they hold up in our tests.

ASRock Unveils Custom Radeon RX 5700 Phantom Gaming Series Graphics Cards With Triple-Fan Cooling

So for this review, I will be taking a look at the SAPPHIRE Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700 XT. This card uses a brand new design which is built first for Navi GPUs. It comes with a 5 heat pipe design as well as a finned heatsink plate for VRAM and VRM cooling and uses triple fans.  The card will retail at $439 US which is a 10%  premium over the reference model.

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 Series Family

The Radeon RX 5700 series includes three graphics cards, the Radeon RX 5700 XT, Radeon RX 5700, and the Radeon RX 5700 XT Anniversary Edition. The Navi based Radeon RX 5700 series is also the first graphics lineup to feature PCIe 4.0 support which offers twice the bandwidth when compared to PCIe 3.0.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT Official Specifications ($399 US)

Starting with the specifications, the Radeon RX 5700 XT comes with 40 compute units in total and since AMD has already confirmed that the Compute unit design still features 64 stream processors, we will be getting 2560 stream processors in total. The AMD Navi GPU featured on the Radeon RX 5700 series comes with 160 Texture Mapping Units and 64 Raster Operation units.

The chip itself is clocked at 1605 MHz base clock but includes two additional clock speeds, a boost clock, and a game clock. The boost clock is rated at 1905 MHz while the game clock is rated at 1755 MHz. The difference between the three clock speeds is that the base clock is the target under full load (power virus), the game clock would be the traditional boost target under gaming while the boost clock is the maximum target that the card could achieve (based per chip).

With the said boost clock, AMD expects a maximum of 9.75 TFLOPs of single-precision Compute from the Radeon RX 5700 XT under its boost clock. The card also features 8 GB of GDDR6 memory which runs across a 256-bit wide bus interface. AMD will be using the latest 14 Gbps memory dies which put them on par with the Turing TU104 cards that offer bandwidth of up to 448 GB/s. The card also features two 8 pin connectors and has a total board power or TBP of 225W. The graphics card costs $399 US in reference flavors and a slight premium for the non-reference variants such as the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700XT which I am testing today.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 Official Specifications ($349 US)

The second card is the Radeon RX 5700 based on the Navi Pro GPU. The reason we are not getting a Radeon RX 5700 Pro naming scheme is that it would be harder to differentiate that with AMD's pro series cards which are aimed at content creators and workstation PCs.

This card has 2304 stream processors, 144 TMUs, 64 ROPs. The clocks are maintained at 1465 MHz base, 1725 MHz boost clock and 1625 MHz game clock. At peak boost clocks, the card will be able to deliver 7.95 TFLOPs of Compute performance. The card features an 8+6 pin connector config & it has a rated TBP of 180W.

Now based on the TBP numbers, this card should be put against the RTX 2070 which is a 175W TBP graphics card. It will be interesting to compare both cards in terms of efficiency since the NVIDIA Turing cards are based on 12nm FinFET while AMD is using the latest 7nm process node. The card costs $349 US for reference flavors. The SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 will retail with a $10 premium at $359 US.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary Edition Official Specifications ($449 US)

In addition to the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700, AMD also introduced a 50th Anniversary Edition variant of their Radeon RX 5700 XT featuring a black and gold shroud with frequencies of 1680 MHz base clock, 1830 MHz game clock and boost clocks of up to 1980 MHz. This variant would deliver a total Compute power of 10.14 TFLOPs and should be around 5-10% faster than the Radeon RX 5700 XT. The card will be rated at a 235W TBP.

The reference variant of the Radeon RX 5700 XT cards would feature an all-aluminum alloy shroud and backplate. Inside the card is an enhanced vapor chamber which is cooled off by a blower fan. The base of the vapor chamber makes use of graphite thermal interface material which is similar to the pads used on the Radeon VII graphics card. The PCB of the card offers a 7 phase digital VRM which AMD says is designed for overclocking. The Anniversary Edtion costs $449 US and comes in reference only flavors.

AMD Radeon RX 5000 '7nm Navi RDNA' GPU Lineup Specs:

Graphics CardRadeon RX 5700 XT 50th AnniversaryRadeon RX 5700 XTRadeon RX 5700Radeon RX 5500 XTRadeon RX 5500
GPU Architecture7nm Navi (RDNA 1st Gen)7nm Navi (RDNA 1st Gen)7nm Navi (RDNA 1st Gen)7nm Navi (RDNA 1st Gen)7nm Navi (RDNA 1st Gen)
Stream Processors2560 SPs2560 SPs2304 SPsTBD1408 SPs
TMUs / ROPs160 / 64160 / 64144 / 64TBD88 / 32
Base Clock1680 MHz1605 MHz1465 MHz1717 MHz1670 MHz
Boost Clock1980 MHz1905 MHz1725 MHzTBD1845 MHz
Game Clock1830 MHz1755 MHz1625 MHzTBD1717 MHz
Compute Power10.14 TFLOPs9.75 TFLOPs7.95 TFLOPsTBD5.19 TFLOPs
VRAM8 GB GDDR68 GB GDDR68 GB GDDR68 GB GDDR64 GB GDDR6
Bus Interface256-bit256-bit256-bit128-bit128-bit
Bandwidth448 GB/s448 GB/s448 GB/s224 GB/s224 GB/s
TBP235W225W180W110W110W
Price$449 US$399 US$349 US~$150 US~$130 US
Launch7th July 20197th July 20197th July 20197th October 20197th October 2019

Radeon RX 5700 "7nm Navi RDNA GPU" Feature Set and A Word on HW-Enabled Ray Tracing

While we would share a few tidbits of the RDNA architecture itself below, there are also some highlights we should mention for the Navi GPU. According to AMD themselves, the Navi 10 GPU will be 14% faster at the same power and should consume 23% lower power at the same clock speeds as Vega 64 GPU. The AMD Navi GPU has a die size of 251mm2 and delivers 2.3x perf per area over Vega 64. The chip packs 10.3 Billion transistors while the Vega 10 GPU packed 12.5 Billion transistors on almost twice the die space.

Also, when it comes to ray tracing, AMD is indeed developing its suite around it. According to their vision, current GCN and RDNA architecture will be able to perform ray tracing on shaders which will be used through ProRender for creators and Radeon Rays for developers. In next-gen RDNA which is supposed to launch in 2020 on 7nm+ node, AMD will be bringing hardware-enabled ray tracing with select lighting effects for real-time gaming. AMD will also enable full-scene ray tracing which would be leveraged through cloud computing.

Radeon Multimedia Engine – Seamless Streaming

Navi Stats

New Compute Unit Design
Great Compute Efficiency For Diverse Workloads

As you can tell, AMD is changing a lot in terms of architecture with RDNA (Radeon DNA) compared to GCN. There's a new Compute unity design, a more streamlined Graphics pipeline & a multi-level cache hierarchy. Aside from the GPU architecture, support for GDDR6 memory is another major change that brings AMD's graphics cards on par with NVIDIA in utilizing modern memory designs for higher bandwidth.


SAPPHIRE introduced their Nitro lineup a few generations ago with the Radeon 300 series and they have continued to keep that line clean, yet a more mature in style and features.  Monochrome, sharp lines, yet packing where it counts.

The SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX 5700XT comes in with an overclocked Base Block of 1770MHz, a Boost Clock of 2010MHz, and a Game Clock of 1905MHz.  In all our testing the card ran between 1925MHz and 1950MHz.  Memory is still 8GB of GDDR6 on a 256bit bus clocking in at an effective 14Gbps transfer rate.  So this card features an actual overclock rather than just a slightly bolstered boost clock

The shroud wraps the enormous heatsink effectively and has the usual Nitro+ colors of black, silver, and gray. The only complaint is that the shroud does have a bit of flex to it.   The backplate extends over the side of the card but has welcome cutouts for the BIOS Switch as well as exhaust and PCIe power connector cutouts. As an added bonus of functionality to the aluminum backplate SAPPHIRE has added thermal pads to help transfer additional heat from the VRM section of the back of the PCB to the backplate for extra cooling.  The cutouts on the area above the exposed heatsinks that allow air to flow from the fan through the heatsink and leave the card unrestricted is a good move, but there is quite a bit of blank space on the back of the PCB that makes me wonder if they couldn't have made the card itself smaller and allow for more of an opening like they did in the past with high-end Radeon cards. I/O of the card gets a bit of a shakeup and now features a pair of HDMI and a pair of DisplayPort 1.4 connections

The sides of the card expose the densely packed finned heatsink.  Peeking under the heatsink we can see that the VRAM and VRM heat dissipation plate is nicely adorned with fin stacks to help dissipate heat even better since it's independent of the GPU core heatsink.  The large section of the heatsink between the SAPPHIRE logo and the I/O of the card is actually connected to the VRAM cooling plate to allow for exceptional memory cooling.  The VRM is connected right into the massive cooling fin stack that also doubles to make the card more rigid.

We see a return of SAPPHIRE's Fan Check and removable fan design making for easy cleaning of the heatsink or replacing a dead or dying fan.  They are using an asymmetrical fan design here with two 95mm fans flanking a smaller 87mm that is spinning in the opposite direction in the middle, a very interesting approach and one that is pretty effective and keeping the full bore Navi core cool and quiet.  SAPPHIRE is also planning to offer replacement clear fans that feature addressable RGB in case the side color and backplate aren't quite enough for you.

Speaking of Addressable RGB, there's quite a bit on here for a SAPPHIRE card.  The diffused side light is much nicer than I expected it to be and the lights on the back of the card are almost as muted as the colors of the card itself, but it all comes together in a rather impressive package.  For those who don't want to use the TRIXX software to control the aRGB can actually use an aRGB header located on the card itself to control the lighting from the motherboard instead so that all your colors could be perfectly in sync.


All of the testings were done on our Intel Z370 test bench powered by a 5GHz Core i9-9900K. We ran all tests involving DX11 through 3 paces and averaged the results of all metrics to come to the final numbers. For DX12 and Vulkan we used the latest release of FrameView at the time.  I took the average of average frame rates as well as the 99th percentile results from the run.  I had been using 1% and .1% results but while working on an upcoming review, before starting this one, I had decided to move to a 99th percentile to represent the bottom end of the framerates for a more simple method of charting and reading for our readers.  For those uncertain of what the 99th percentile is representing is easily explained as showing only 1 frame out of 100 is slower than this frame rate. Put another way, 99% of the frames will achieve at least this frame rate. The representation of the 99th percentile is much more consistent in experience than the 1% and .1% lows, and this was ultimately done as a way to deliver better metrics to the audience.  I still have the results from the PULSE so they will be included for comparative purposes against the Nitro+ for those wanting to see the delta between the two.


Test System

ComponentsZ370
CPUIntel Core i9-9900k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3200
MotherboardEVGA Z370 Classified K
StorageKingston KC2000 1TB NVMe SSD
PSUCooler Master V1200 Platinum
Windows Version1903 with latest security patches

Graphics Cards Tested

GPUArchitectureCore Count
Clock SpeedMemory Capacity
Memory Speed
Nitro+ RX 5700XTNavi25601770/1905/20108GB GDDR614Gbps
Pulse RX 5700XTNavi25601670/1825/19258GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2070 SUPER FETuring25601605/17708GB GDDR614Gbps
AMD RX 5700XTNavi 25601605/1755/19058GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2060 SUPERTuring21761470/16508GB GDDR614Gbps
AMD RX 5700Navi 23041465/1625/17258GB GDDR614Gbps
NVIDIA RTX 2060 FETuring19041365/1686GB GDDR614Gbps

Drivers Used

Drivers 
Radeon Settings 19.9.2
GeForce436.30

Firestrike Extreme

Firestrike is running the DX11 API and is still a good measure of GPU scaling performance, in this test we ran the Extreme version of Firestrike which runs at 1440p and we recorded the Graphics Score only as the Physics and combined are not pertinent to this review.

Time Spy

Time Spy is running the DX12 API and we used it in the same manner as Firestrike Extreme where we only recorded the Graphics Score as the Physics score is recording the CPU performance and isn't important to the testing we are doing here.

Thermals

Thermals were measured from our open test bench after running the Time Spy graphics test 2 on loop for 30 minutes recording the highest temperatures reported. The room was climate controlled and kept at a constant 22c throughout the testing. The default fan curve for the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700XT was much more favorable than in the past where the sound level was prioritized, this time the target is thermals and allows the card to ramp up the fan to maintain the stock 73C thermal target.

Power Draw

Power draw numbers were taken from the total system power draw by measuring with a Kill-A-Watt. We ran Unigine Valley for 30 minutes and observed the highest sustained load. Something to keep in mind when observing total system power draw is that there are times where a GPU simply being faster and requiring more from the CPU can cause the total system power draw to increase with the like of the Core i9-9900K. That said, the total system power draw is still important as it is how much power it is taking to run the system.

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 carries on the open-world racing tradition of the Horizon series.  The latest DX12 powered entry is beautifully crafted and amazingly well executed and is a great showcase of DX12 games.  We use the benchmark run while having all of the settings set to non-dynamic with an uncapped framerate to gather these results.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, unlike its predecessor, does a good job putting DX12 to use and results in higher performance than the DX11 counterpart in this title and because of that we test this title in DX12.  I do use the second segment of the benchmark run to gather these numbers as it is more indicative of in-game scenarios where the foliage is heavy.

Rainbow 6 Siege

Rainbow 6 Siege has maintained a massive following since its launch and it consistently in Steams Top Ten highest player count game.  In a title where the higher the framerate the better in a tactical yet fast-paced competitive landscape is essential, we include this title despite its ludicrously high framerates.  We use the Ultra preset with the High Defenition Texture Pack as well and gather our results from the built-in benchmarking tool.

Far Cry New Dawn

Far Cry New Dawn brings the Dunia 2 engine back for another beating in Hope County.  We test this game using the Ultra Preset and follow the built-in benchmarking tool for consistency's sake.

Assassins Creed Odyssey

Assassins Creed Odyssey sees a return of the Anvil Next Engine and does a wonderful job beating the daylights out of modern hardware.  Because of this, we run the game at the High preset to reduce the impact that the Volumetric Clouds have on performance but it is still present to give an idea of overall gameplay performance.  We take our measurements from the built-in benchmarking tool

Total War Three Kingdoms

Total War Three Kingdoms pulled an interesting move by leaving out DX12 this go around so we take a look at their engine being powered by DX11, and it proves to still be quite the task. At the Ultra Preset, it is able to bring even the mightiest to their knees. We took our results from the Campain option under the built-in benchmark tool.

Metro Exodus

The Metro series is no stranger to being difficult to run and Metro Exodus is no different.  This time it was built with DX12 in mind first and foremost. We take our readings from the Volga mission from one side of where the train is stopped, make a stroll next to the train and down the opposite embankment as we started from.  We did disable all GameWorks features for this test but had Tesselation enabled.

The Division 2

The Division 2 returns with the Snowdrop Engine refined and tuned for DX12 and the performance of DX12 vs DX11 is proof positive of this.  We run the game at the Ultra Preset and use the built-in benchmarking tool for measuring.

Resident Evil 2

The Resident Evil 2 Remake was one of the most anticipated games of the year and it more than delivered.  While it does have DX12 support the DX11 implementation is far superior and because of that, we will be sticking to DX11 for this title.  We take our performance measurements from when Leo and Claire are first separated and as Leon, we have to make our way through the burning street, down an alleyway, and across to the Police Station gates.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein Youngblood gets us back into the alternate history world of the Wolfenstein series and sees a return of the id Tech 6 Engine on the Vulkan API.  We tested this game using the Ultra preset but ensured that all dynamic options were set to static and took our measurements from the entrance of Riverside and making a run through the streets to the first checkpoint at the keypad on the door.


Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 carries on the open-world racing tradition of the Horizon series.  The latest DX12 powered entry is beautifully crafted and amazingly well executed and is a great showcase of DX12 games.  We use the benchmark run while having all of the settings set to non-dynamic with an uncapped framerate to gather these results.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, unlike its predecessor, does a good job putting DX12 to use and results in higher performance than the DX11 counterpart in this title and because of that, we test this title in DX12.  I do use the second segment of the benchmark run to gather these numbers as it is more indicative of in-game scenarios where the foliage is heavy.

Rainbow 6: Siege

Rainbow 6 Siege has maintained a massive following since its launch and it consistently in Steams Top Ten highest player count game.  In a title where the higher the framerate the better in a tactical yet fast-paced competitive landscape is essential, we include this title despite its ludicrously high framerates.  We use the Ultra preset with the High Defenition Texture Pack as well and gather our results from the built-in benchmarking tool.

Far Cry New Dawn

Far Cry New Dawn brings the Dunia 2 engine back for another beating in Hope County.  We test this game using the Ultra Preset and follow the built-in benchmarking tool for consistency's sake.

Assassins Creed Odyssey

Assassins Creed Odyssey sees a return of the Anvil Next Engine and does a wonderful job beating the daylights out of modern hardware.  Because of this, we run the game at the High preset to reduce the impact that the Volumetric Clouds have on performance but it is still present to give an idea of overall gameplay performance.  We take our measurements from the built-in benchmarking tool

Total War Three Kingdoms

Total War Three Kingdoms pulled an interesting move by leaving out DX12 this go around so we take a look at their engine being powered by DX11, and it proves to still be quite the task. At the Ultra Preset, it is able to bring even the mightiest to their knees. We took our results from the Campain option under the built-in benchmark tool.

Metro Exodus

The Metro series is no stranger to being difficult to run and Metro Exodus is no different.  This time it was built with DX12 in mind first and foremost. We take our readings from the Volga mission from one side of where the train is stopped, make a stroll next to the train and down the opposite embankment as we started from.  We did disable all GameWorks features for this test but had Tesselation enabled.

The Division 2

The Division 2 returns with the Snowdrop Engine refined and tuned for DX12 and the performance of DX12 vs DX11 is proof positive of this.  We run the game at the Ultra Preset and use the built-in benchmarking tool for measuring.

Resident Evil 2

The Resident Evil 2 Remake was one of the most anticipated games of the year and it more than delivered.  While it does have DX12 support the DX11 implementation is far superior and because of that, we will be sticking to DX11 for this title.  We take our performance measurements from when Leo and Claire are first separated and as Leon, we have to make our way through the burning street, down an alleyway, and across to the Police Station gates.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein Youngblood gets us back into the alternate history world of the Wolfenstein series and sees a return of the id Tech 6 Engine on the Vulkan API.  We tested this game using the Ultra preset but ensured that all dynamic options were set to static and took our measurements from the entrance of Riverside and making a run through the streets to the first checkpoint at the keypad on the door.

Overclocking the SAPPHIRENitro+ RX 5700XT resulted in a bit better core frequency that I expected without resorting to modified drivers or power play tables to really tune things up.  The SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX 5700XT has an 8+1+2 Phase Power Delivery allowed me to push the GPU core to a stable target of 2150MHz, which was the limit of what Wattman would allow and resulted in a constant 2050MHz sustained clock speed under load.  The Memory was able to push to 900MHz which was welcome since the PULSE model we recently looked at wouldn't take any overclock..  Unlike the PULSE 5700XT where the fans hitting up to 94% put the card in uncomfortably loud territory the Nitro+ maintained a relatively quiet operating level while overclocked which was really welcome.

The SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX5700 features dual bios just like the PULSE model did but this time actually providing a third position that allows the user to select which BIOS they want the card to operate from within the new TRIXX software, eliminating the need to go into the system to manually flip the switch, a great addition. The SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX 5700XT has three clock settings including a Boost clock of up to 2010MHz and a Game clock of 1905MHz. The Secondary, or Silent setting reduces clock targets and raises target temps to allow for potentially quieter operation. In this mode, the card performs at a Boost clock of up to 1925MHz and a Game clock of up to 1925
MHz.

Firestrike Extreme

Firestrike is running the DX11 API and is still a good measure of GPU scaling performance, in this test we ran the Extreme version of Firestrike which runs at 1440p and we recorded the Graphics Score only as the Physics and combined are not pertinent to this review.

Time Spy

Time Spy is running the DX12 API and we used it in the same manner as Firestrike Extreme where we only recorded the Graphics Score as the Physics score is recording the CPU performance and isn't important to the testing we are doing here.

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 carries on the open-world racing tradition of the Horizon series.  The latest DX12 powered entry is beautifully crafted and amazingly well executed and is a great showcase of DX12 games.  We use the benchmark run while having all of the settings set to non-dynamic with an uncapped framerate to gather these results.

Rainbow 6 Siege

Rainbow 6 Siege has maintained a massive following since its launch and it consistently in Steams Top Ten highest player count game.  In a title where the higher the framerate the better in a tactical yet fast-paced competitive landscape is essential, we include this title despite its ludicrously high framerates.  We use the Ultra preset with the High Defenition Texture Pack as well and gather our results from the built-in benchmarking tool.

The Division 2

The Division 2 returns with the Snowdrop Engine refined and tuned for DX12 and the performance of DX12 vs DX11 is proof positive of this.  We run the game at the Ultra Preset and use the built-in benchmarking tool for measuring.

Thermals

Thermals were measured from our open test bench after running the Time Spy graphics test 2 on loop for 30 minutes recording the highest temperatures reported. The room was climate controlled and kept at a constant 22c throughout the testing. The default fan curve for the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700XT was much more favorable than in the past where the sound level was prioritized, this time the target is thermals and allows the card to ramp up the fan to maintain the stock 73C thermal target.  The catch there was once overclocked the fans would need to ramp to 94% to maintain a similar thermal margin for very little gains in performance.

Power Draw

Power draw numbers were taken from the total system power draw by measuring with a Kill-A-Watt. We ran Unigine Valley for 30 minutes and observed the highest sustained load. Something to keep in mind when observing total system power draw is that there are times where a GPU simply being faster and requiring more from the CPU can cause the total system power draw to increase with the like of the Core i9-9900K. That said, the total system power draw is still important as it is how much power it is taking to run the system.

When I reviewed the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700XT I mentioned how it was as premium feeling as the previous Nitro+ releases from SAPPHIRE and it left me wondering what they had in store for a Nitro+ lineup if that was coming.  I did not foresee what they released.  SAPPHIRE has created a grown-up version of Navi and delivered on every single front, even the addressable RGB that runs the side of the card and along the backplate feels well-executed and classy, missing that aggressive gamery vibe of others. The ability to control the lighting off of the motherboard is a very welcome addition as well.  If there's not enough RGB for you then SAPPHIRE will be selling a replacement fan kit that features aRGB lighting for another $29.99, but that puts the total cost absurdly close to the RTX 2070 SUPER.  And that is the real issue that you run into with 5700XT based cards that are flirting with the ~$450 mark, that's really close to the base models of the RTX 2070 Super, a card that is still faster than the 5700XT and has quite a bit of overclocking headroom that will only extend that lead for around 10% more than the cost of these cards.  Compared to the base models it is about $100 or 25% more but as these custom models creep up in price that gap closes, so anything more than what SAPPHIRE did here blurs the lines, they were smart to keep their price at $439 and not go higher.

Performance of the SAPPHIRE Nitro+ from frame rates to cooling is excellent and continues to reduce the reasons you would not go for an aftermarket design.  The only drawback is its length, the card is long, very long.  If length constraints are an issue the PULSE may be the better option.

Overclocking has never been Navi's strong point but this card can muster up a bit and extend it even further from the reference RX 5700xt's performance making it's 10% price premium feel a bit more worth it.  But more than that is the whisper that it operates at even while combating its higher power draw.  The SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX 5700XT is indeed top tier Navi and the aftermarket card that needs to be at the top of your list if the RX 5700XT is what you're wanting.

 

Contents

9.4

SAPPHIRE has designed a truly top tier variant of the RX 5700XT and provided you have the ability to fit it in your case I would have it at the top of your consideration list.

Performance9.5
Value9
Design & Aesthetics10
Features9

Pros

  • Actually overclocked core
  • Excellent lighting
  • Very quiet
  • Fantastic cooling
  • Fan check
  • RGB can be controlled by the motherboard
  • Performance is top tier for Navi
  • only $20 more than the PULSE model
  • vBIOS can be changed via software

Cons

  • No dedicated hardware for Ray Tracing
  • Not a lot of overclocking headroom left
  • Power consumption slightly on the high side
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