GPUs Graphics Reviews

Sapphire RX 5700 XT Nitro Plus in test – sprinting better with less weight and the best Navi card (so far)

There’s one thing you really have to admit to Sapphire: when it comes to cooling, hardly anybody can fool them when it comes to AMD cards. Provided you are willing to pay a certain surcharge for this service compared to their normal cards like Pulse. The Sapphire RX 5700 XT Nitro Plus tested today shows one thing very clearly: weight and cooler surface alone do not make a test winner. Known how and where on the other hand. But enough with the spoiler, because I don’t want to anticipate the rest unnecessarily. So please read everything well.

The card stands out due to its three fans (2x 9.5 cm, 1x 8.5 cm), which also feature different sizes and directions of rotation, but more about this later in the tear-down and cooler description. We know this fan design from older models of the MSI Lightning (e.g. R9 290X) and some Palit and Gigabyte models. But it catches the eye.

In order to make the whole thing a little clearer and to get to the point a little bit more, I have kept the structure of the articles to a large extent, but also this time I rely more on tables with clear representation of the result values and specifications, which later also guarantee a better comparison of the cards among themselves.

Technical data and picture gallery

At first glance, the three-fan design is not extremely conspicuous, but rather timeless, which can be quite pleasing. The matt black ABS lid with the honeycomb pattern is flanked by the same material in a metallic look. So far, so unagitated. Life comes into the booth when the electricity is supplied. Then you awaken the many SMD LEDs soldered onto the back of the board to their true RGB splendour. Of course you can also switch it off, it’s not Christmas yet. You can control this with Sapphire’s own TriXX software, which also subordinates itself to the motherboard in the case if you want to light the LED externally.

Matching the promised overview of the most important features:

Length (outer edge of slot bracket to end of card) 30.8 cm
Installation height (upper edge of PCIe slot to upper side of card) 12.6 cm
Front mounting depth (cooler body to underside of circuit board) 4.4 cm
Rear mounting depth (board to outside of backplate) 0.5 cm
Weight 1143 g
Shroud Anthracite, Metallic
ABS injection moulding
LED (logo, light strip)
Connectors 2x DisplayPort 1.4
2x HDMI 2.0
Other Features
Dual-BIOS , optional Software-Switch

GPU-Z provides us with an initial overview of the other technical data:

TriXX Software and the good old Power Play Tables

Sapphire offers two BIOS versions, the details of which I would like to compare. The default BIOS allows up to 220 watts of GPU power, which is also heavily exploited. In addition there is a somewhat slowed down BIOS, which is still above the data of the reference. Let’s first look at the power consumption and the current flow to the GPU. The default BIOS 1 is 220 watts for the GPU, while BIOS 2 is “only” 195 watts. Similarly, the maximum current flow drops from 189 to 171 amps, which is roughly the level of the reference card.

The fan curves also differ considerably and it remains to be assumed that the Greta mode could be more economical and quieter, but slightly hotter. We’ll see…

The default BIOS switch position (i.e. position 1 in the direction of the slot bracket) permits the so-called software switch, which allows switching between primary (switch 3, maximum power) and secondary BIOS (switch 2, less power) without mechanically actuating the BIOS switch. You only have to reboot after changing the software. Here the TriXX software uses the same approach as our MorePowerTool, because instead of a complete BIOS load only the Soft Power Play Tables in the registry are overwritten. The statement of the message box is actually wrong, because it is based on the standard BIOS with the deviating specifications via soft mod:

The following gallery shows some screenshots of the TriXX software and the Boost feature with the virtual resolution:

In addition there is of course the obligatory GPU-Z screenshot:

The table gives a nice overview of the remaining technical data of the current and older comparison models:

Data AMD Radeon
RX 5700 XT
Sapphire
RX 5700 XT
Nitro+
AMD Radeon
Vega 64
AMD Radeon
RX 5700
AMD Radeon
Vega 56
Architecture (GPU) Navi 10 Navi 10 Vega 10 Navi 10 Vega 10
CUDA Cores / SP 2560 2560 4096 2304 3584
(40 CU) (40 CU) (64 CU) (36 CU) (56 CU)
Texture Units
160 160 256 144 224
Texture Fillrate (Gtexels/s) 304.8 326.2 395,8 248,4 330
Base Clock Rate (MHz) 1605 1432 1274 1465 1156
Boost Clock Rate (MHz) 1755 (typisch)
1905 (max.)
2064 (max.) 1546 1625 (typisch)
1725 (max.)
1471
Memory 8 GB GDDR6
14 Gbps
8 GB GDDR6
14 Gbps
8 GB HBM 8 GB GDDR6
14 Gbps
8 GB HBM
Bus (Bit) 256 256 2048 256 2048
Bandwidth (GB/s) 448 448 483,8 448 410
ROPs 64 64 64 64 64
L2 Cache 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB
TGP/TBP 225 W 260 W 295 W 185 W 210 W
Mrd. Transistors 10,3 10,3 12,5 10,3 12,5
Die (mm²) 251 251 495 251 486
Node 7 nm 7 nm 14 nm 7 nm 14 nm
MultiGPU DX12/Vulkan DX12/Vulkan CF DX12/Vulkan CF

 

Test system and measurement methods

The test system and methodology are well known, but since I now test independently here in Germany, the test system has also been upgraded again without having to consider the former US colleagues.

The summary in tabular form offers interested parties a quick overview:

Test System and Equipment
Hardware:
Intel Core i9-9900 KF
MSI MEG Z390 ACE
2x 8GB KFA2 HoF DDR4 4000
1x 1 TByte Patriot Viper (NVMe System SSD)
1x Seagate FastSSD Portable USB-C
Seasonic Prime 1200 Watt Titanium PSU
Cooling:
Alphacool Eisblock XPX
5x Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM (Closed Case Simulation)
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Case:
Lian Li PC-T70
Modi: Open Benchtable, Closed Case
Monitor: Eizo EV3237-BK
Power Consumption:

Non-contact direct current measurement on PCIe slot (riser card)
Non-contact direct current measurement at the external PCIe power supply
Direct voltage measurement at the respective connectors and at the power supply unit
2x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500 MHz multichannel oscilloscope with memory function
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50, current clamp adapter (1 mA to 30 A, 100 KHz, DC)
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355, probe (10:1, 500 MHz)
1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012, digital multimeter with memory function

Thermografie:
1x Optris PI640, 2x Xi400 Thermal Imagers
Pix Connect Software
Akustik:
NTI Audio M2211 (with calibration file)
Steinberg UR12 (with phantom power for the microphones)
Creative X7, Smaart v.7
own anechoic chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2 m (LxTxH)
Axial measurements, perpendicular to the centre of the sound source(s), measuring distance 50 cm
Noise emission in dBA (slow) as RTA measurement
Frequency spectrum as graphic
Betriebssystem Windows 10 Pro (1903, all Updates)

 

 

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