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Sapphire Launches Nitro+ RX 480 With Removable Fans

Just over a month ago at Computex, Sapphire took us to a back room and told us to put our cameras away. It showed us its Nitro+ RX 480 card, which was the first time we saw the Polaris-based RX 480 in the flesh. Up until now, however, we weren’t allowed to talk about it.

Today, Sapphire is announcing 4 GB and 8 GB variants of its Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 cards, which are identical aside from memory clocks, GPU clocks, and of course the memory size.

Sapphire redesigned the cooler on the Nitro+ RX 480 cards from the ground up, bringing it up to date with competing coolers and giving it a fresh new appearance. The two 95 mm fans each have dual-ball bearings, and they feature a new “Quick Connect” system that enables you to remove the fans easily for cleaning. That’s not the only benefit, however, as Sapphire recognizes that a common failure point for graphics cards is that the fans break: when one of the fans does go bad, as long as the card is still under warranty, Sapphire will simply send you a new fan rather than require you to send the entire graphics card in for repair.

Additionally, you can also check the fan operation through the upcoming Sapphire TriXX 3.0 software, and the fans will only spin up when the GPU temperature is above 52° C. You’ll also be able to control the cooler’s RGB lighting through both the software and the LED mode switch.

Sapphire delivers power to the card through an 8-pin PCI-Express power connector that sits at the back of the card. From there, the company filters power through a 5-phase VRM circuit made with Sapphire Black Diamond Chokes.

The card we expect to sell in higher volumes is the 4 GB variant, which has a 1306 MHz boost clock and an effective memory frequency of 7.0 Gb/s. The 8 GB variant lifts those numbers to a respectable 1342 MHz and 8.0 Gb/s. If you’re into overclocking, you’ll also be pleased to know that both cards have a dual-BIOS.

The 4 GB variant carries an MSRP of $219, whereas the 8 GB variant costs a little more at $269, and both will be available starting next week.

  • Calculatron
    Are you sure it is not a 6+2 phase VRM?
    Reply
  • elbert
    I would love to see some OC tests. Its said this card can OC to 1.5~1.6GHz to match AMD's Fury.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    Everyone's launching *hit, but not much is available (at least in Finland).
    Reply
  • Kourgath223
    18316028 said:
    Everyone's launching *hit, but not much is available (at least in Finland).
    They are supposed to be available starting next week so whatever and apparently "Launch" doesn't mean the same to these companies as it does to the consumer.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    Is it just me or does this card look a lot like the XFX Double Dissipation Edition models.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    18316143 said:
    18316028 said:
    Everyone's launching *hit, but not much is available (at least in Finland).
    They are supposed to be available starting next week so whatever and apparently "Launch" doesn't mean the same to these companies as it does to the consumer.

    Sure, these are supposed to available next week, but my statement holds true for even the reference 480, not mention 1060 and its AIB boards.
    Reply
  • elbert
    Wow the sapphire Nitro 480 4GB outperforms the 1060 in all 1060 dx12 benchmarks. Even the small bump in speed the custom Nitro offers is more than enough to beat the 1060. This with just a small 10 watt high draw than the stock rx480. Bumping the Nitro to 1405 and 15% memory OC flips a good number of dx11 results.
    Reply
  • JackNaylorPE
    Be nice to see the AIB cards from both camps actually selling for the MSRP or below. Right now the $199 reference 480 is still selling for $270...out of stock prices being meaningless if you can't buy them .... hopefully the presence of new AIB cards will drive these down.

    As for the overclocking performance, not going to find that here in THG.

    https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/RX_480_STRIX_OC/26.html

    Unfortunately, seems we are still looking at the same single digit performance increases from OC on AIB 4xx cards as we saw with 3xx and 2xx

    79.0 fps AIB OC / 74.5 fps stock reference = 6.2%

    Compared with the 1060 which gives ya 3 times that

    https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_1060/29.html
    https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_1060_Gaming_X/27.html

    101.1 AIB OC / 85.5 stock reference = 18.2%

    Relative performance if reference cards in TPUs test suite at 1080 p was 100% (1060) to 90% (480) So from what we have seen so far .... looking at the 1080p results at TPU

    https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_1060/29.html

    100% x 1.182 = 118.2%
    90% x 1.062 = 95.58%

    118.2% / 95.58% ... So... the 6GB AIB 1060 ($289) tested at TPU is 23.7% faster than the 8GB AIB 480 ($259*) tested at TPU.

    * Anticipated

    $289 / $259 = 11.6%

    At 23.6% performance increase for a 11.6% increase in price, I think most will take the performance. For the 1st time, we not seeing an x80 card being the obviously superior AIB choice over a xx60 card. OTOH, if folks can drop their attachment to having more VRAM than they can realistically use at 1080p and go with the 4 GB model then the price bump for the 4 GB 480 to the 6GB 1060 is only 20.9% which makes the 1080p competitive in this space. Of course, for those who are not inclined to OC, the superior overclock ability of nVidia's design and AIB improvements becomes a non-factor.

    There's till a blunder here on both sides..... at least from consumer perception PoV.

    On one hand, the lack of an SLI option on the 1060 will give many pause.... but when ya look back, two 960s were slower and more expensive than the 970 which rendered twin 960s a unsupportable choice. If those performance issues continued with the 1060s we'll never know but unless twin 1060s were > 30% faster than a 1070, it would not make a supportable choice.

    On AMDs side, they did maintain CF support, but when using two cards, presumably for resolutions larger than 1080p, you'd want 6 - 8GB. However, with performance falls short of the cheaper 1070, it's very hard to justify.

    In short.... I see the 4 GB AIB 480 as a viable choice for those staying at 1080p for the next couple of years tho I think a price cut must follow. The 8 GB version is hard to justify w/o a substantial price cut due to the 1060s superior out of the box performance and OC abilities. As for CF ... despite early claims about besting the 1080, twin 480s don't even catch the 1070

    Can't leave w/o complimenting Sapphire om the removable fans tho. No reasons why GFX cards had to have their shrouds removed to replace fans.



    Reply
  • elbert
    That is a link to an Asus which the OC isn't even as high as the factory speed of the Sapphire Nitro. The Nitro OC'ed over 1.4 in this reveiw. http://www.pcworld.com/article/3098825/components-graphics/sapphire-nitro-rx-480-review-polaris-rethought-and-refined.html?page=9
    Reply
  • madmatt30
    The nitro 4gb is on preorder price of £199 in the UK.
    The cheapest 1060 is at £239.

    Nuff said there , absolutely no competition at those pricepoints.
    Reply