Just a few days ago, Sapphire released the Radeon RX 5700 XT Nitro+ Special Edition, a premium variant that crowns the company's RX 5700-series "Navi" family of graphics cards. Positioned above the RX 5700 XT Nitro+, the Special Edition adds better aesthetics and higher factory-overclocked speeds out of the box, including overclocked memory. This makes the Nitro+ Special Edition the fastest air-cooled Radeon RX 5700 XT on the market. Besides the higher clock frequencies, Sapphire is including their $30 ARGB fan kit pre-installed with the card, which makes for an impressive RGB light show. Sapphire is pricing the card at $480, which is a $30 increase over the RX 5700 XT Nitro+.
The Radeon RX 5700 XT is AMD's first true performance-segment graphics card in over two years since the RX Vega series. It's based on the brand new "Navi" architecture that leverages the 7 nm silicon fabrication process and has brand new number-crunching machinery AMD calls RDNA compute units. These constitute the biggest update to AMD's GPU design since the very first Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture circa 2013. Together with clock speeds, RDNA is designed to bring about massive IPC improvements over GCN. The silicon also has a number of architectural changes. An interesting series of price adjustments and product launches ensure that even at its starting price of $399, it offers a bit more price-performance than NVIDIA.
AMD had originally planned to launch the Radeon RX 5700 XT at $449 and the RX 5700 at $399, with the two cards beating the $499 NVIDIA RTX 2070 and $349 RTX 2060 respectively. This forced NVIDIA to refresh its lineup with the new RTX 2070 Super at $499 and the RTX 2060 Super at $399. The RTX 2060 Super in particular was carefully crafted not to cannibalize the RTX 2070. AMD seeped into this imbroglio of NVIDIA and slotted the RX 5700 XT at $399 and the RX 5700 at $349, at which prices they outclass the RTX 2060 Super and original RTX 2060 respectively. NVIDIA didn't adjust prices of its RTX 2060 Super or RTX 2070 Super any further, and we hence have a fair bit of headroom between the RTX 2060 Super and RTX 2070 Super in which AMD's board partners can launch custom-design RX 5700 XT cards with factory-overclocked speeds and other goodies, such as quieter coolers.
At the heart of the Radeon RX 5700 XT is the 7 nm "Navi 10" silicon with an impressive 10.3 billion transistors crammed into a 251 mm² die. Unlike the "Vega 20", Navi is a more traditional GPU in that the package only has the GPU die and is surrounded by memory chips. AMD opted for cost-effective 256-bit GDDR6 memory over exotic design choices such as HBM2. At a memory frequency of 14 Gbps, Navi enjoys a healthy memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s. It also features the latest-generation PCI-Express gen 4.0 x16 host interface with full backwards compatibility for older generations of PCIe, so you can pair it with AMD's new Ryzen 3000 processors on an X570 chipset motherboard. The buzz-words "7 nm" and "PCIe gen 4.0" are extensively used in AMD's marketing, as if to suggest that Navi is a generation ahead of NVIDIA's Turing, which is built on 12 nm and has PCIe gen 3.0.
As mentioned earlier, the Sapphire Radeon RX 5700 XT Nitro+ Special Edition ships with the company's highest factory-overclocked speeds for this SKU, with 2035 MHz maximum boost clock speeds for the GPU (up from 2010 MHz on the vanilla Nitro+), and memory overclocked to 14.4 Gbps (GDDR6-effective), up from 14 Gbps standard. Sapphire also uplifted the card's aesthetics by giving it RGB LED-illuminated fans in place of opaque ones on the original Nitro+. In this review, we take the Nitro+ Special Edition for a spin through our test suite.
|GTX 1070 Ti||$450||2432||64||1607 MHz||1683 MHz||2000 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RTX 2060||$340||1920||48||1365 MHz||1680 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|RX 5700||$330||2304||64||1465 MHz||1625 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|GTX 1080||$500||2560||64||1607 MHz||1733 MHz||1251 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5X, 256-bit|
|RTX 2060 Super||$400||2176||64||1470 MHz||1650 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX Vega 64||$490||4096||64||1247 MHz||1546 MHz||953 MHz||Vega 10||12500M||8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit|
|GTX 1080 Ti||$700||3584||88||1481 MHz||1582 MHz||1376 MHz||GP102||12000M||11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit|
|RX 5700 XT||$400||2560||64||1605 MHz||1755 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|Sapphire RX |
5700 XT Nitro+
|$480||2560||64||1840 MHz||2035 MHz||1800 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2070||$470||2304||64||1410 MHz||1620 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2070 Super||$500||2560||64||1605 MHz||1770 MHz||1750 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|Radeon VII||$700||3840||64||1802 MHz||N/A||1000 MHz||Vega 20||13230M||16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit|
|RTX 2080||$650||2944||64||1515 MHz||1710 MHz||1750 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2080 Super||$700||3072||64||1650 MHz||1815 MHz||1940 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2080 Ti||$1100||4352||64||1350 MHz||1545 MHz||1750 MHz||TU102||18600M||11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit|