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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  • WinterCharm - Sunday, July 24, 2016 - link

  • komplik - Thursday, July 28, 2016 - link

    DX12 and multi GPU is right way and works with GTX1060, but there is no reason for doing sli with slow cards as 1060. You can buy GTX1070 for same price as 2xRX480, you have same average performance - some titles are better on 2xRX480, some are worse as not scaling well, but you have absolutely better perf in games which do not scaling and no negatives of multigpu. And at half consumption, less heat, less noise...
  • yannigr2 - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    Vulkan and DirectX 12 says Hi.
  • kuttan - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    Back in the days when GTX 680 and HD 7970 launched, GTX 680 was faster more efficient card of the two. Now HD7970 (R9 280X) is on par or beats higher end GTX 780 in most new games and the GTX680/770 become an irrelevant abandoned card. This new RX 480 vs GTX 1060 comparison same old story repeat ^ ^
  • SunnyNW - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    I feel really bad for AMD...At least last generation they had competing performance at all tiers. This generation it looks like they wont even have that, and with mainstream adoption of DX12 and such still at little ways out I'm not sure where AMD finds the cash to be competitive in the future (R&D money).
    AMD might have the $200 and below market but ONLY at Nvidia's discretion.
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    It might be a bit early to feel that way. AMD's approach to the GPU market in the 14/16nm generation is to appeal to the mainstream first. Because NV was expected to release higher end products first, that would ideally give AMD a means to avoid direct competition for a little while and a price war that would drive sales volume and margins downward. Without numbers, its difficult to say if the business strategy is effective so far. Meanwhile AMD is still planning to release low-volume halo products later.
  • squngy - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    The thing is, 1060 might not be faster than rx480 in dx12, but it is MUCH smaller and cooler.

    Effectively, Nvidia almost certainly has more head room in both pricing and frequencies.
    Right now they choose to sell 1060s for $50 more, but they probably cost them less to make then rx480 cost AMD.
  • jospoortvliet - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    Hard to say without knowing the yields. Yes, all things equal, the RX480's gpu is larger which suggests higher costs. But glofo is using Samsung process tech which is already quite mature so who knows...
  • systemBuilder - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    Yeah duh, it probably costs less to make because it's an inferior card that loses in Vulkan benchmarks and puts out 1 TFLOPs less performance, yet it costs _more_ and does _less_ (no SLI support, less RAM, etc.) I wonder _why_ would anyone buy it?
  • zodiacfml - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    It is probably a strategy employed by both companies so that they don't step too much on each other's toes. See, Nvidia doesn't have a card yet with performance lower than the 480

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