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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  • gitd - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    1060 dont have sli. Because 2x 1060 is cheaper than a 1080... amd did their homework
  • powerarmour - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    Amen, you're preaching to the choir brother.
  • D. Lister - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link


    Wow, moral objections... telltale sign of a wise consumer.

    I completely agree that Nvidia should reduce the number of sponsored titles. Or why not stop altogether? Instead, like the benevolent and moral AMD, they should mainly sponsor benchmarks that are more suited to their own architecture.

    Also, Nvidia should totally run public polls for everything, like release schedules, organizational timetables, and how many times that Korean guy can use the men's room everyday.

    ...and don't get me started on price. This time around, I emailed Nvidia that either they give me a Titan X for free, or I'll go and buy an RX 480. They haven't responded yet, but you can bet there is all sorts of chaos at their HQ. Nvidia employees must be gathering outside the chairman's office right about now, to DEMAND a free TX on my behalf. Me? I'm excited! I'll soon be getting a free Titan X, booyah! Next, I'll ask them to give EVERYONE a free TX, mwahaha.

    See? Anyone can write unmitigated drivel.
  • nunya112 - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    I have no idea why a company like Sapphire etc. don't throw 2 480 chips and a PLX. ppl will jump at that !
  • prisonerX - Sunday, July 24, 2016 - link

    Probably more complex to engineer than it looks with a limited market. AMD would have to design it for it to make sense, and it probably doesn't fit in with their plans.
  • versesuvius - Thursday, July 28, 2016 - link

    All the dual GPU cards have been designed by AMD before and this one is no exception. Though it would be sad if a dual RX 480 card is faster or equal to the upcoming Vega.

    The only thing that 1060 has got going for it is the lower TDP which is not going to make a lot of difference given the superior design of RX 480 with the added benefit of Saphire's Nitro.Surprisingly it is safe to say now that Nvidia lost this round. Smirk is off the face of the leather clad chief already. Let's just hope that the RX 480s will be abundantly available because a lot of people will want to buy two of them.
  • gereks - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    Not found in B & H / bestbuy yet :/

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