SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 480

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 480The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 is an enthusiast video card for high performance gaming. The new Polaris 10 is the first generation of new 14nm FinFet video cards from AMD. The 8GB version of this card launched at $269,

  • 14nm FinFet
  • Polaris 10
  • GCN 4th gen
  • 2304 stream processors
  • 1342 MHz
  • 8GB GDDR5
  • 2000 MHz
  • 256-bit memory
  • 5.5 TFLOPS
  • 175W 1x 8-pin PCI Express Power
  • AMD FreeSync

Sapphire’s acclaimed Dual-X Cooling is powered by two massive yet silent fans and state-of-the-art radiator design. The new form of Sapphire’s 95 mm blades means greater airflow and superior heat sink coverage at lower noise compared to standard cooling designs. With Nitro Free Flow, Sapphire has redesigned the airflow of the entire card and board, so that the hot air is expelled through the system fan instead, rapidly dissipating heat.

Our EVGA GTX 660 Ti and the Sapphire Nitro RX 480 both dump sme of the warm air via the backplate. Modern chassis like our Carbide 300R have rear and top fans which can easily dispose of the heat from video cards and processors,

Sapphire has a quick connect fan solution that is very convenient. If one of the fans fail, they snap out and a replacement can be installed easily. Only one screw is needed for Sapphire’s cooling fans. Sapphire’s fans are fully controllable so that the AMD Zero Power can be implemented when idle. The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 has a full size backplate to help dissipate heat.

The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 is full color LED lighting to provide some accent to a machine. The standard dual slot card is short enough to fit most ATX chassis fine, The card is 10½ inches long which is the same as our old GTX 260 cards.

The RX 480 is ready for HDR high resolution panels. Now that better panels are available the higher performance is needed to be able to keep up.

CFX

AMD now uses the PCI Express bus for CrossFireX setups. This makes it much easier to install a pair of RX 480 cards into a machine. All that is needed are PCI Express power cables.

DIRECTX 12

A a games developer conference in early 2014, Microsoft announced DirectX 12 which will ship with the next Windows release. DX12 is a refinement intended to take better advantage of the multithreaded capability of DX11 cards. In general any gaming grade DX11 card will run DX12 fine.

The RX 480 is designed for shader model 5.1 however the Windows 10 Anniversary edition delivered shader model 6. Its likely AMD will upgrade drivers soon.

AS TESTED

CHASSIS Corsair Carbide 300R
MB MSI 970A-G43
CPU AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHz
HSF OEM
RAM 12288MB DDR3-1600 dual channel
PSU Corsair TX850V2
MON Asus PA238QR (1920×1080 60Hz)
HD Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST2000DM001
OS Windows 10 x64 Professional

The RX 480 can run all games cranked up easily at 1920×1080 where this card really delivers a big boost to gaming. With 8GB of VRAM AA and MSAA can be cranked up too. The card does run warm so it’s important to have large chassis fans.

The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 is definitely the best version of the Polaris 10 cards available.

COMPARATIVE GPU PERFORMANCE CHART

See the page that features a graph of the relative performance of video cards.

Reference RX 480