The Sapphire Radeon RX 5700 XT Nitro+ is the company's flagship custom-design graphics card based on the new 7 nm AMD RX 5700 XT Navi graphics processor. This card arrives hot on the heels of AMD's add-in board partners launching custom-design Radeon RX 5700-series graphics cards a little over two months following the July 7th launch of Navi. With the Nitro+, Sapphire went all-out, including a very large triple-slot, triple-fan cooler, plenty of RGB functionality, a software-controlled dual BIOS switch, optional ARGB fans and of course higher clocks out of the box. It is priced at $440, right in the middle of NVIDIA's RTX 2060 Super and RX 2070 Super.
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 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 CoreNext (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 the 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.
|GTX 1070 Ti||$450||2432||64||1607 MHz||1683 MHz||2000 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RTX 2060||$290||1920||48||1365 MHz||1680 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|RX 5700||$350||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||$400||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 |
|$440||2560||64||1770 MHz||1905 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2070||$440||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||$680||3840||64||1802 MHz||N/A||1000 MHz||Vega 20||13230M||16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit|
|RTX 2080||$630||2944||64||1515 MHz||1710 MHz||1750 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
Packaging and Contents
You will receive:
- Graphics card
Sapphire came up with a completely fresh look for this generation's Nitro Series. The front of the cooler is dominated by black with some silver highlights. On the back you'll find a high-quality metal backplate in a matching color theme. Dimensions of the card are 31.0 x 13.5 cm.
Installation requires three slots in your system.
Display connectivity options include two standard DisplayPort 1.4a and two HDMI 2.0b ports.
AMD took the opportunity to update the display controllers handling these outputs by leveraging DSC 1.2a (display stream compression), which unlocks very high resolution and refresh-rate combinations over a single cable. Among the single-cable display modes supported are 8K 60 Hz (which took two DP 1.3 cables until now), 4K 240 Hz, and 1080p as high as 360 Hz. On top of these, the outputs support HDR and 30 bpc color-depth for better color accuracy in creative applications.
The board uses two 8-pin power connectors. This input configuration is specified for up to 375 watts of power draw.
If you are the RGB type, this header will come in handy. It lets you synchronize the graphics card with your motherboard's RGB lighting. Simply connect a cable and select "external RGB" mode in TRIXX.
AMD's Navi generation of GPUs no longer supports CrossFire. DirectX 12 does include its own set of multi-GPU capabilities, but implementation requires game developers to put serious development time into a feature only a tiny fraction of their customers might ever use.
Sapphire made good use of that area by positioning their BIOS switch feature here. The second BIOS runs at reduced fan speed for a quieter experience. Please note that the BIOS switch supports three positions. From left to right, these are "default", "quiet" and "performance". With the default setting active, you are able to change the BIOS selection using Sapphire's TRIXX software. While the switch itself is instant, a reboot is required for the new BIOS to activate as the BIOS/driver only reads the BIOS during startup.
Sapphire is using five heatpipes and a copper base on their cooler. This piece of the cooler also provides cooling for the VRM circuitry.
Once the main heatsink is removed, a second heatsink that takes care of cooling the memory chips and some parts of the VRM circuitry becomes visible.
The RGB-illuminated backplate is made out of metal and protects the card against damage during installation and handling.
On the next page, we dive deep into the PCB layout and VRM configuration.
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