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.