Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 OC 8GB Graphics Card Review
John Williamson / 8 months ago
The RX 480 is AMD’s flagship product in the Polaris range and designed to make premium VR gaming more accessible to a mainstream audience. While a great deal of media publicity surrounds higher-end products like the GTX 1080, it’s important to remember that this is a niche section of the market. According to AMD’s internal research, a staggering 84% opt for a graphics card within the $100-$300 price range. Up to this point, the overwhelming majority of affordable graphics card struggled to cope with the vigorous demands of modern games especially when using a 1440P or ultrawide monitor. Thankfully, the RX 480’s astounding price to performance ratio encourages more people to give the PC platform a try and ensure those with a tighter budget can still enjoy a rewarding experience. Of course, there is competition from the recently launched GTX 1060 and it will be interesting to compare the performance results. Sadly, the RX 480’s launch was overshadowed by reports of the card exceeding the PCI-E power specification although this has since been rectified in a driver update. Also, the stock cooler wasn’t great which resulted in temperatures around 85C. This restricted the overclocking headroom substantially and the noise output from the blower design left a lot to be desired. After speaking to AMD, they’ve acknowledged that AIB partners will produce better designs and the reference model was simply a way of introducing the Polaris series.
When it comes to aftermarket AMD solutions, Sapphire is up there with the best and has a long standing history of designing a number of impeccable coolers. The Tri-X and Nitro graphics cards quickly gained a reputation for their extraordinary build quality and low temperatures. The company’s latest endeavour is already catching people’s attention and looks like a major upgrade compared to the RX 480’s default configuration. Sapphire’s custom version supports two profiles; a silent mode which prioritises quiet operation and features a 1266MHz clock. Selecting the boost mode, allows you to acquire a maximum speed of 1342MHz. Please note this is for the 8GB model and a cheaper 4GB edition supports a boost up to 1306MHz. Other notable additions include removable fans, a stylish yet subtle RGB lighting system and new dual ball bearing fan design. Priced at £249.95, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 OC is only £27.96 more than the cheapest XFX reference unit and is much cheaper than I initially envisioned. This raises the question, is the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 OC the best value graphics card on the market today? Let’s find out!
Packing and Accessories
The graphics card comes in a fairly compact box sporting an impressive robot and subtle Sapphire logo. This is the company’s quintessential design and the combination of striking colours works really well. As a result, it easy to become excited before opening the product just from the seeing the packaging’s aesthetic. Sapphire haven’t included huge amounts of text on the front and outlined details about the cooler, DirectX 12 functionality and Nitro boost in a pleasant manner.
On the opposite side, we can see an impressive list of product features such as the 14nm FinFET manufacturing process, HDR support and Nitro Glow RGB LED indicators. Also, Sapphire provide a fantastic explanation about the graphics card which gives the end-user a great insight into the improvements over the reference design.
In terms of accessories, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 OC is bundled with a product registration card, driver/utility disk, manufacturer warranty information and quick installation guide.