After my first take at AMD’s freshly released RX 580 series trough MSI’s offering and their Gaming X model, you can check out that review in the right top corner at card link, today I will be checking out what Sapphire did with their RX 580 Nitro+ model.
The product box of the Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ has changed up a bit color scheme wise, although we still have this skyscraper-like box, surrounded with the Nitro mascot, main features and a small picture of the card itself on the back. For the bundle, you’ll only get a quick start guide, some promotional material and optical disc with drivers and software, and of course here’s the graphics card itself.
Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ is redeeming the last generation’s mistakes
As you can notice the overall cooler design pretty much remained the same from the outside, but in fact, Sapphire redid the cooling components found underneath that outer shell, which is praiseworthy, especially since the price of this model basically raimined the same compared to the last generation, so, more for less, maybe a way of saying sorry for the cooler on te last generation? Who knows! As they claim, they’ve doubled the surface area for their famous free-flow Dual-X cooler design, you can actually see that the aluminum block is quite big, tall and almost as long as the graphics card itself – 290 mm, while they also used two 8 and two 6 mm heat-pipes going through it. Its power design, VRM’s and MOSFET’s are also getting appropriate and upgraded cooling, while Sapphire puts high-quality components throughout their custom PCB design, like their Black Diamond 4 chokes. Cooling all of this we have two easily detachable Sapphire’s Quick-Connect 95 mm two-ball bearing fans which have a 0 RPM / 0 dB working mode if the GPU temperature is under 51°C.
All of that is topped off with this pretty sleek looking design, with its dotted pattern and rubber-like surface, and of course the cool looking silver back-plate, cutouts and its graphics, which was also present on the previous generation and the RX 400 series. One thing is different though, and that’s that on the back we don’t have that LED switch mode button which was used for toggling between different lighting modes for the RGB LED lit Sapphire logo on the side, at least until the software update of the Trixx utility which enabled software control of it, as at the initial launch it wasn’t available. Since we now have that right out the box it basically rendered that dedicated switch useless, which is probably why we don’t see it with the RX 500 generation.
Interestingly enough, the RX 580 Nitro+ version uses two additional PCI-express power connector, one 8-pin, and 6-pin, which is not that common sight when it comes RX 580 series, but I don’t mind the extra room on the power delivery side. Lastly, on the front, you will find a video output array consisting out of two DisplayPort, two HDMI’s and a DVI-D port.
Performance and overclocking potential of Sapphire RX 580
Taking it out for a spin with my usual GPU benchmark test routine, clocking at 1411 MHz, the RX 580 Nitro+ should be on par performance wise with MSI’s, Asus and Gigabyte’s RX 580 offering. Although it doesn’t utilize that factory preset OC or Gaming profiles through software, but rather through a dedicated physical switch and two different BIOS profiles, it manages to be competitive in terms of the out of the box factory overclock. Beside this Nitro+ version we also have the RX 580 Nitro+ Limited Edition version. That model also comes in with two preloaded BIOS, the default one, the so-called “Boost mode” profile, is sitting at higher 1450 MHz, while the other second BIOS holds the Quiet mode profile which is set at 1411 MHz. The regular Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ version which I have here is set at 1411 MHz for that default BIOS profile at that’s its maximal out of the box value, I’m not sure if they’re also calling it Boost mode profile like on the Limited Edition version, while the second BIOS profile is their quiet mode profile mode, which lowers down the GPU clock and uses less aggressive fan profile, but I doubt that anyone will actually use that mode at all.
Putting those factory profiles on the side, the best thing you can do in terms of squeezing out some extra free performance from your sample is of course manual overclocking. Unfortunately, at the time of my review Sapphire’s Trixx software was acting a bit buggy, showing off some weird voltage numbers as you can see it here, so I instead of it decided to use everyone’s trusty overclocking companion – MSI’s afterburner. This model turned out to be more than a decent overclocker, reaching 1470 MHz on the GPU and almost maximal available slider value for the memory and reaching 2240 MHz, and surprising the MSI’s Gaming X version in overclocking potential.
Looking at the results, shown in the video above, you’ll be getting pretty much similar performance output compared to other RX 580 models out there, down to a difference in measurement error, while in terms of the performance using overclocking settings, the RX 580 Nitro+ comes just a bit ahead of the MSI Gaming X model thanks to the better overclocking potential on the GPU and memory, at least with this samples, as that’s generally speaking a silicon lottery, just like with the CPU’s. Bottom line, this model and the RX 580 series, in general, is on point in regards to gaming at 1440p or 1080p at high frame-rates on a high refresh rate monitor.
Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ much better temperature results
When it comes to temperatures, at idle GPU was sitting at pretty low 36°C with fans turned off and on an open benchmarking configuration, with an ambient temperature of around 23-24°C. As for the load, depending on the use case scenario, I was seeing temperatures anywhere from 70-72°C in games like in Battlefield one in my example, and up to 75-76°C in Furmark stress testing. The fan speed also varies, in the case of playing games it was mostly around 1000-1100 RPM, while under Furmark it goes up to 1400 RPM. In that last case, it can get a bit louder, especially compared to MSI’s Gaming X version, while generally speaking closed off in a chassis this won’t be a problem, especially since the fan speed is lower during games.
Putting the cherry on the top, as I mentioned, this generation also comes in with an RGB LED Sapphire logo on the side, but it also seems that most of the other Sapphire RX 580 models have it. They really did a good job on it, I like how it’s sort of engraved into the shell and not just a plastic logo overlay with some back-lighting. It’s evenly lit, without any light bleed, glowing brightly, while the software control through Sapphire’s Trixx utility is very user-friendly, direct and simple, and one of the fastest to respond to a change in the settings. You can choose between different presets like random rainbow colors, color change by temperature or fan speed, or use a custom color, while you can also change the brightness or just completely turn it off.
Should you consider RX 580 Nitro+ for gaming?
I would, yes. It ticks all the boxes, although the competition among RX 580 cards is really strong. Each model and brand has their own cons and pros, balancing between features and capabilities, but If you’re really looking for one, I would put this series of Sapphire RX 580 on a short list as a final buy choice, among top 3 for sure in terms of value for your money. Especially now since the crypto craze toned down, the prices are getting really low now, plus Sapphire usually has a bit lower price than the rest of the contenders.
When it comes to performance, even after all these years and different iterations, the RX 580 it’s still roaming around that sweet spot best buy mark, especially for high frame-rate gaming at 1080p. Of course, it’s nowhere near the likes of Turing cards, like the RTX 2080 Ti or the ones that are around the corner, but still, it gets credit where it’s deserved. Yes, these two cards are not comparable in any way, but I just wanted to steer a bit for a moment to da fact that AMD is struggling for some time in this high-end department, they’re basically nowhere to be seen (some Vega here and there, but I feel like there’s no more serious presence of them). I’m hoping that AMD will pull out “a Ryzen” on their GPU segment and unsettle Nvidia just like they’re now doing with Intel, just for the sake of us consumers. Competition is always a good thing!