Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT Review: Beastly Big Navi

Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT: All-Custom RDNA2 "Big Navi"

sapphire nitro 6800xt style
Although the situation is improving, it is still extremely difficult to score some of the latest graphics cards at prices even approaching their MSRPs. With that in mind, we’ve held off on covering some of the hottest GPUs to come through the lab for a while, because the coverage was inevitably (and understandably) met with groans and frustration by some of you. We get it, but the beat goes on, and GPUs are some of our favorite things to cover around here, especially models like the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT we’ll be showing you today.

We’re going to go ahead and spoil this review right out of the gate and say the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT is one of the best “Big Navi” cards out there. This custom Radeon RX 6800 XT takes all of the good things about AMD’s latest high-end GPUs and builds upon them with beefier cooling, distinctive aesthetics, additional features, and ultimately higher performance.

Take a look at the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT’s main features and specifications below and then we’ll dig in a little deeper, and see how she performs and overlocks on the pages ahead...
sapphire nitro 6800xt box
Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT
Specifications & Features
GPU AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (7nm(
Engine Clock
Boost Clock: Up to 2360 MHz, Game Clock: Up to 2110 MHz
Cores
4608
Infinity Cache
128M
Ray Accelerators
72
Memory Size/Bus
16GB GDDR6
Memory Clock
16 Gbps Effective
Displays
Maximum 4 Displays
Resolution
HDMI: 7680×4320, DisplayPort1.4: 7680×4320
Interface
PCI-Express 4.0
Output
1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
BIOS Support
Dual UEFI
Cooling
3 Fans
Form Factor
2.7 slot, ATX, Dimension: 310(L)X 134.3(W)X 55.3 (H)mm
Board Power
350W
System Requirement
Minimum 850 Watt Power Supply, 2 x 8-pin Power Connector.

Right out the gate, it’s obvious that Sapphire’s done a bit of work to AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT reference design. The Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT has a more aggressive look in our opinion, and features a larger, more elaborate cooler, more lighting, and a much more stylized shroud and backplate.
sapphire nitro 6800xt front
Underneath all of that hardware lies a Radeon RX 6800 XT GPU, with identical core counts and a 16GB GDDR6 memory complement that’s right in-line with AMD’s own reference design. Sapphire, however, has bumped up the expected base and boost clocks, which the card is running in its performance mode. Whereas an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT has GPU base boost clocks of 2,015MHz and 2,250MHz, respectively, the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT comes in at 2,110MHz (base) and 2,360MHz (boost) and its beefier cooler should allow it to maintain higher clocks, over longer durations as well.
sapphire nitro 6800xt top
Sapphire’s done quite a bit of work optimizing the cooler on this card as well. The 2.7-slot wide Nitro+ cooler offers similar performance to the ones used on previous-gen Vega-based cards in terms of thermal dissipation, with the GPUs running at similar power levels, but this new model does so at roughly half the weight. Sapphire achieves this in a number of ways. First, the cooler is outfitted with three hybrid fans, which mostly looks like traditional axial-type fans, bit with some aspects similar to blower-style fans – if you look close, you’ll notice the notched ring around the fan blades. These hybrid fans can move much more air than Sapphire’s older axial fan designs.
sapphire nitro 6800xt back
The wavy design of the heatsink’s fins (dubbed wave fin) also reduces wind resistance and maximizes surface area, to further improve the cooler’s performance. And a ‘V’ shaped fin stack directly over the center of the GPU helps direct air-flow exactly where it’s needed to best cool the chip.

Sapphire also incorporates a discrete set of heatsinks and heat-pipes dedicated to the memory, VRM and chokes on the card. And on that heatsink assembly, Sapphire employs thermal pads on the memory / VRM that reportedly have a higher thermal conductivity than previous-gen offerings. All of that culminates in a higher performing, quieter, lighter-weight cooler.
sapphire nitro 6800xt ports
Other features on the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT included addressable RGB lighting, dual BIOS chips, and a BIOS switch that gives users the ability to toggle between silent, performance, and “software switch” modes. The first two are self-explanatory; the software switch mode essentially allows users to toggle between silent and performance using Sapphire’s TRIXX GPU monitoring and tweaking utility.
sapphire nitro 6800xt bundle
Outputs on the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT include triple, full-sized DisplayPorts and a single HDMI output – all four of which can be used simultaneously. As for power, the card features a pair of standard 8-pin PCI Express connectors and Sapphire recommend a minimum of an 850w PSU. The Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT actually has a 350W TDP, which is 50W higher than reference designs. That additional power headroom should help performance and / or overclocking as well.

Now that we’ve got all of those particulars out of the way, it’s time to fire the Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT and see how she performs...


Related content

Comments