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Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64 Nitro+ Review

Results: Ashes, BF1 & Destiny 2

In some games, we noticed that Sapphire's Radeon RX Vega 64 Nitro+ was actually slower than AMD's reference Vega 64 card, even though its clock rates are higher. This is not a testing error, nor a specific problem with the model we're testing. Other partner cards have been observed to suffer the same issue, with performance varying based on driver version.

Since this did not occur in all games, or to the same extent, we are guessing that optimizations made in AMD's driver since Vega 64's launch do not apply to third-party cards, since they're not explicitly treated as RX Vega in the driver. It's almost like there's a Radeon fall-back mode. Hopefully the company solves this issue sooner than later. Until then, just know our test results are correct, and there are times when Sapphire's Nitro+ board under-performs the AMD model.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation (DirectX 12) @ 2560x1440

Case in point. The Radeon RX Vega 64 Nitro+ with AMD's new Adrenalin Edition driver lands well behind our reference board running 17.10.3, despite a higher GPU frequency and lower temperature.

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation (DirectX 12) @ 3840x2160

Radeon RX Vega 64 enjoys a major memory bandwidth advantage, which undoubtedly helps carve out a small lead over GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and 1080 at 3840x2160. After all, those Nvidia cards achieve similar frame rates, despite their dissimilar memory technologies. Unfortunately, Sapphire's card trails both, losing big to AMD's reference Radeon RX Vega 64.

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Battlefield 1 (DirectX 12) @ 2560x1440

The performance picture looks a lot better in Battlefield 1, where Sapphire's card benefits from a higher clock rate than AMD's reference Radeon RX Vega 64, just as we'd expect.

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Battlefield 1 (DirectX 12) @ 3840x2160

The same goes for 3840x2160, where the Radeon RX Vega 64 Nitro+ lands closer to GeForce GTX 1080 Ti than Nvidia's vanilla GeForce GTX 1080.

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Destiny 2 (DirectX 11) @ 2560x1440

Sapphire also carves out a nice win against AMD's Radeon RX Vega 64 reference card in Destiny 2.

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Destiny 2 (DirectX 11) @ 3840x2160

Sapphire keeps its momentum going at 4K, where the Nitro+ card beats the reference Radeon RX Vega 64.

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  • docswag
    What mosfets is sapphire using for VDDC
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    Even though Vega 64 is rough around the edges, I appreciate that you gave the Sapphire Nitro an Editor's Choice award for it's technical prowess.

    There is so much hardware out there with cut corners that it's nice to see something work so well.
    Reply
  • FormatC
    What mosfets is sapphire using for VDDC
    Plase take a look at page Two. You will get the full info, pictures included. ;)

    I wrote on page Two:
    ...This so-called doubling is achieved through a total of seven IR3598s located on the back of the board. Voltage conversion for the 14 circuits is handled by one IRF6811 (on the high side) and one IRF6894 (on the low-side) for each circuit. The latter also include the necessary Schottky diode.
    Reply
  • docswag
    20485887 said:
    What mosfets is sapphire using for VDDC
    Plase take a look at page Two. You will get the full info, pictures included. ;)

    I wrote on page Two:
    ...This so-called doubling is achieved through a total of seven IR3598s located on the back of the board. Voltage conversion for the 14 circuits is handled by one IRF6811 (on the high side) and one IRF6894 (on the low-side) for each circuit. The latter also include the necessary Schottky diode.

    My bad, I must have skimmed over that part. Thanks!
    Reply
  • Cryio
    So once the drivers will actually apply to 3rd party OEMs as well given the reference with slower clocks is sometimes faster, will basically make Vega64 universally and sometimes significantly faster than the 1080 and guaranteed substantially faster in DX12/Vulkan games.

    So ... with some underclocking and undervolting, this should perform on the level of the 1080 while being more future proof. Got it.

    Wonderful work AMD! Too bad miners skyrocketed the price.
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    Is this ever going to be sold to people, though?

    And will there be a Vega 56 version?
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    Thanks for the bench work. Interesting boost in minimums in some titles considering struggles with 'optimizations'

    What's the verdict on the previously reported 'elevation difference' between the memory stacks and processor?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    This is randomly the molded version. That means, no difference. :)

    Powercolor got unmolded and the result is well-known. But I also know from others, that Sapphire is using also both packages. The 3rd package version is Vega56 only.
    Reply
  • Cryio
    While also being more efficient or as efficient as the 1080 I might add.
    Reply
  • FormatC
    It depends at your preferences, what you need in your rig. Only the price is currently a big con. Too bad.
    Reply