Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT Nitro+ Review 79

Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT Nitro+ Review

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The Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT NITRO+ is the company's flagship air-cooled custom-design RX 6800 XT "Big Navi" graphics card. It launches today alongside the slightly more value-oriented RX 6800 XT Pulse and numerous other custom RX 6800 series graphics cards by AMD's board partners. The NITRO+ represents Sapphire's highest grade of custom engineering, with the most capable cooling solution, best aesthetics, and fastest factory-overclocked speeds. AMD debuted the RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 earlier this month, marking the advent of the RDNA2 graphics architecture to the PC. It meets all requirements for DirectX 12 Ultimate features, including raytracing, and shares its DNA with popular next-gen game consoles, such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

Real-time raytracing is the next frontier for consumer 3D graphics, and as NVIDIA's "Turing" and "Ampere" architectures have shown, it takes enormous amounts of compute power and fixed-function hardware. The RDNA2 architecture also calls for a doubling in SIMD power over the previous-generation RDNA architecture and introduces hardware to accelerate certain stages of the GPU's raytracing processing. Enormous amounts of raster 3D performance make for the obvious dividend in chasing down raytracing goals, and this is where AMD claims to have caught up with NVIDIA's fastest, stating that the RX 6800 XT plays in the same league as the flagship RTX 3080, and that it has the RTX 2080 Ti, effectively the RTX 3070, beat with the RX 6800.

The Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT Nitro+ is based on the 7 nm "Navi 21" RDNA2 silicon and comes with an 80% increase in compute units over the RX 5700 XT, each with Ray Accelerators. The memory amount is doubled to 16 GB, and AMD is using the fastest JEDEC-standard GDDR6 memory running at 16 Gbps. The memory bus width, however, is unchanged from 256-bit. To make up ground, AMD devised an ingenious solution it calls Infinity Cache, which is a 128 MB on-die level 3 cache that runs at an astounding 2 TB/s, accelerating most workloads that aren't too data-intensive. Our RX 6800 XT reference-design review goes into the details on the RDNA2 architecture as implemented on the RX 6800 series.

The Sapphire RX 6800 XT NITRO+ builds on the solid thermal and noise foundations laid down by the reference design, giving the chip a large triple-slot cooling solution with multiple aluminium fin-stack heatsinks that use both heat pipes and a vapor-chamber base-plate, a trio of fans, and a design that ensures much of the airflow from the third fan flows through. As Sapphire's premium custom-design RX 6800 XT offering, the NITRO+ also features lavish use of RGB LED embellishments, a dual-BIOS, external RGB headers, and a factory-overclock that boosts the GPU up to 2360 MHz, compared to the 2250 MHz reference. Sapphire is pricing the RX 6800 XT NITRO+ at $770, a $120 premium over the $650 baseline price for the RX 6800 XT. There's also the $800 Special Edition, which adds RGB fans, and the RX 6800 non-XT Nitro+ costs $640.

Radeon RX 6800 XT Market Segment Analysis
RX Vega 64$400 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1080 Ti$6503584881481 MHz1582 MHz1376 MHzGP10212000M11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RX 5700 XT$3702560641605 MHz1755 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070$3402304641410 MHz1620 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070 Super$4502560641605 MHz1770 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
Radeon VII$6803840641802 MHzN/A1000 MHzVega 2013230M16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit
RTX 2080$6002944641515 MHz1710 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Super$6903072641650 MHz1815 MHz1940 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Ti$10004352881350 MHz1545 MHz1750 MHzTU10218600M11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit
RTX 3070$5005888961500 MHz1725 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6800$5803840961815 MHz2105 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6800 XT$65046081282015 MHz2250 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
Sapphire RX 6800
XT Nitro+
$77046081282015 MHz2360 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3080$7008704961440 MHz1710 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit
RTX 3090$1500104961121395 MHz1695 MHz1219 MHzGA10228000M24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit
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