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Sapphire Nitro+ RX 5700 XT Review: Triple-Fan Cooling, Fast Clocks out of the Box

Sapphire's tri-fan Navi XT card is colorful, quiet, and speedy. But it's also pricier than most of its competition.

(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

 

AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 XT is a good mid-range card that delivers a strong 2560 x1440 gaming experience and high fps gaming at 1080p. While it isn’t quite a 4K UHD card, some titles are playable with all the eye-candy enabled while others will need some adjustment. 

Sapphire took the card to a different level by upgrading the PCB and power delivery along with using a more effective and quiet cooler than the reference models with the Tri-X cooling solution. The large and mismatched sized fans offer good air flow and do so without being the loudest item in your system. The Tri-X cooling solution managed to stay fairly quiet throughout our testing. Though audible, there wasn’t any appreciable whine or hum coming from the fans outside of the wind noise that it generated. 

Sapphire increased the clocks from reference speeds of 1605/1755/1905 (Base/Game/Boost, respectively) to 1670/1815/2010 on the Nitro+. This is a lot faster than the Gigabyte RX 5700 XT Gaming OC, though the latter is less expensive. The clocks are one of the fastest available (The ASRock Taichi OC+ holds that crown). 

To that end, the price for the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700 XT is currently $469.99 at Newegg with the Gigabyte we compared it to priced at $419.99. For the $50 difference, users get a faster card by a few percent on average, and a better cooling solution. If you need to save a few dollars, the PowerColor Red Devil sports the same clock speeds and solid cooling. With that said, I would like to see the Nitro+ priced just a bit lower. It was released at $440 but the price has gone up a little since that time. Surely a sale from any of the major etailers will bring it back down. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Overall the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700 XT performed well against the lower, reference clocked card as to be expected. In GPU-heavy titles, the higher clock speeds showed several percent difference, while in less demanding titles, that gap shrinks. Sapphire’s Tri-X cooling solution kept the card cool under load and did so without sounding like an airplane with propellers taking off. Priced at $469, it is one of the more expensive Radeon RX 5700 XT cards out there, trumped only by the new ASRock RX 5700 XT Taichi OC+. 

Besides price, the only concern with the card is the size. Because it is longer than t over 12-inches it won’t fit some cases. . Outside of that, performance was good as well as the cooling solution. If you need a quiet RX 5700 XT with robust cooling, premium styling and some of the fastest overclocks out of the box, the Sapphire Nitro+ falls on the shortlist of cards we’d want.

For those looking for something much more affordable, the AMD has also announced a Navi-based RX 5500 that the company says will come in desktop form and compete with the GTX 1650 and 1660. And if you're looking for a card that can better handle 4K, recent mentions of Navi 22 and Navi 23 in a recent Linux driver (first spotted by 3DCenter forum veteran Berniyh) may (or may not) be our first glimpse of higher-end AMD GPUs that could compete with Nvidia's RTX 2080 Super and 2080 Ti.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

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  • HideOut
    They specs chart shows the same memory bandwidth as the stocker but with the factory OC it should be higher, much like the TFlops calculation. Sounds like a nice card, but paying a huge premium for what, 3-5% more speed? Doesn't sound like a great buy though.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Well, you're paying for more than just the extra speed - also for a very well engineered, quiet cooling solution, as well as better regulation, etc.

    Though, I do have to agree - I like quiet, and will pay extra for it, but I'm not sure I'd pay that much of premium for it. I might, but then it was mentioned that the Power Color variant has a good cooler and a bit lower of a price.

    A nice card, but, not sure it justifies the premium.
    Reply
  • Loadedaxe
    Once you pass this price point there is no need to go AMD. Might as well get a 2070

    I have been waiting for the custom aibs for the 5700, and minus the PC Red Devil, I am completely disappointed. However, I wont buy a Power Color, I have been burnt by them twice.

    Lets see what the MSI Gaming X looks like when it lands price wise. I may just jump ship this round.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Loadedaxe said:
    Once you pass this price point there is no need to go AMD. Might as well get a 2070

    The 2070 non-super generally performs less than the 5700XT, so why, if the prices were about the same, would anyone choose the lesser performing card?
    Reply
  • waltc3
    My Built-by-AMD 50th Ann 5700XT sports significantly higher boost clocks, and costs $20 less....I have zero problems with it.
    Reply
  • Loadedaxe
    King_V said:
    The 2070 non-super generally performs less than the 5700XT, so why, if the prices were about the same, would anyone choose the lesser performing card?
    I was referring to the super. Its $40 more.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Gotcha. Not sure I'd go to the 2070 Super over the Sapphire, not enough performance gain to justify the $499 price of entry.

    Then again, I'm thinking the premium for the Nitro+ is also probably more than I'd be willing to pay for it. I'm 2 for 2 on PowerColor success, though, so that brand wouldn't make me hesitant.

    Come to think of it, I haven't ever having a new video card I've bought fail on me. Used ones, either, with only 3 exceptions - two dead when I got them (both Nvidia), and one that worked, but had slightly blurry output (back when CRTs and VGA output was still fairly common), also Nvidia. Still, given the number of used cards I'd come across, and the "who knows what the heck the previous owner did" state of the ones that did fail, I'm confident in all video cards in general.
    Reply
  • Regulus Star*
    In the last few days we have now started to see prices fall at a few retailers with the lowest price I've seen being £429.99 these new lower prices should start to tip the scales even more when comparing against alternative brands & architecture. And not to mention the price to performance ratio.
    Reply