This morning SAPPHIRE is announcing their latest card in the NITRO+ family, the NITRO+ Radeon RX 480. Some key features of SAPPHIRE’s new NITRO+ RX 480 cards include higher clock speeds, an improved cooler with a back plate included, and software fan health monitoring. Along with this we’ll also get RGB lighting and power delivery that is improved over what we saw on the reference RX 480.

The cooler is improved from SAPPHIREs last generation with two 95mm dual-ball bearing fans. Meaning longer fan life and potentially quieter operation. In fact, SAPPHIRE isn’t content simply improving the quality of their fans. They also are including a feature called “Fan Check” in their upcoming SAPPHIRE TriXX 3.0. Fan Check allows users to check the health of their fans and if an issue is detected they can contact customer support for a replacement fan. Thanks to quick swap fans the user can replace just the fan with a single screw, no more need to return a whole card for a dead fan, and no more need to disassemble a card to remove the fan. I think this sounds like a neat feature, but considering the use of dual ball bearing fans and that the fans shut off when temperatures are under 52 degrees Celsius, I won’t be surprised if the number of users needing replacements is rather low.

It has occured to me that you can’t throw a dart without hitting an RGB LED card anymore. Regardless it does come in handy when color coordinating a build. Along with having the usual option to control the RGB lighting through SAPPHIRE’s utility, there is also a hardware controlled red button on the back of the card which will let one work through the various included modes such as fan speed or GPU temperature modes.

Radeon RX 480 Specification Comparison
  SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 480 8GB SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 480 4GB AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
Boost Clock 1342MHz 1306MHz 1266MHz
Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 7Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5 7Gbps GDDR5
Launch Date Next Week 6/29/2016
Launch Price $269 $219 $239 $199

We will be seeing factory overclocks from both the 8GB and 4GB versions of this card. While base clocks are presumably higher they were not shared, though the boost clocks come out to 6% and about 3% over AMD's reference cards respectively. The memory clocks are right in line with the reference Radeon RX 480 8GB and 4GB cards.

For those that enjoy running on overclocked hardware the NITRO+ Radeon RX 480 includes a NITRO Boost dual bios switch that further increases the boost clock and power limit for some extra performance. To help feed overclocking endeavors the card also comes with an 8-pin power connector and a new model of their own Black Diamond Chokes which they profess drop coil temperatures by another 15%.

Amusingly, with the increasing growth in VR this generation having multiple HDMI outputs is becoming a highlighted feature all around. Following suit, we can find dual HDMI on the business end of the NITRO+ Radeon RX 480 sharing space with two DisplayPort connectors and a DVI-D port.

Finally, for pricing the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 480 will be listed at $269 for the 8GB card and $219 for the 4GB model, a $30 and $20 premium over the reference models, respectively. So far the NITRO+ RX 480 appears to be a robustly built card with all the bells and whistles we’re seeing this generation including RGB lighting, fan shutoff, and warranty fan replacement while they were at it. Exact release dates have not yet been revealed, but those interested in these cards will find them available from etailers next week.

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  • smilingcrow - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    Neither do AMD on a 1xnm process.
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    For both it's just a question of when they start selling down binned parts. The RX470 has been announced and the 3GB GP106 (with 1 of 10 clusters disabled) has been widely leaked, although with a bit of dispute about if it's going to be branded as a cheaper 1060 or 1050.

    AMD has the lower speced RX460 based on Polaris 11 lurking below that. NVidia has GP107/108 also circulating in the rumor mills but with much less detail attached.
  • Einy0 - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    Have you read the reviews? The 1060 is a lower performance part than the RX480 in most benchmarks and games.
  • Einy0 - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    I meant to say lower in DX12 and Vulkan. DX11 will be legacy only very quickly...
  • squngy - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    It usually takes about a year for majority of games to switch to new DX version.

    It might go faster for DX12 though.
  • ianmills - Sunday, July 24, 2016 - link

    According to which site? 1060 has a decent advantage in dx11 while the rx480 has a smaller advantage in dx12 titles
  • Eden-K121D - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    I think that Glo-Fo's 14nm process is horse shit compared to TSMC. How is this polaris part 2.8 times more efficient than GCN 1.1
  • DrKlahn - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    The 480 competes very well under DX11 with the 1060, is slightly faster overall in DX12/Vulkan and is priced attractively. They appear to be selling all they can make. And reports indicate they have made quite a few. I only see the 480 improving as developers use more low level API's and the drivers mature.
  • RaichuPls - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    ...where do you find sources saying Polaris improves in DX12? The only benchmark showing that is AotS, and that's heavily AMD biased.
  • Vesperan - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    There is also Doom and Hitman for certain (try the HardOCP review of the 1060 for example).

    But at the moment it looks like there are DX12/Vulkan implementations, and then there are DX12/Vulkan implementations. Some DX12 versions of games dont appear to do much of anything for performance.

    The upshot (performance only) is currently the 1060 is overall better than the 480, save for Doom/Hitman (and maybe 1-2 others under some conditions). In the future it is possible that this tilts toward the 480 on the basis of DX12/Vulkan roll out and driver improvements for AMD.


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