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Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 8GB Graphics Card Review

Testing & Methodology


Please note that on 16/04/2017, the graphics cards featured in this review have are retested. The retesting was done to implement new changes in the way we review, the settings we use, the software required and more. We’ve also made some slight hardware changes to our test benches, and all games were updated, as has the OS, graphics drivers, etc. Of course, this would mean new results would not be a fair comparison to old. For your reference, the last review to feature our past results is found here.

Here is the test system used for all graphics card reviews (pictured above) and game performance analysis:

Graphics Card Test System

  • Motherboard – Asus Rampage V Extreme X99
  • Processor – Intel Core i7 5960X at stock with Turbo enabled
  • RAM – Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 2666 MHz
  • Graphics Card – Varies per review
  • CPU Cooler – Noctua NH-D15S
  • Power Supply – Be Quiet Power Zone 1000W
  • Main Storage Drive – Toshiba OCZ VX500 500GB
  • Chassis – Lian Li T80 Open Air Test Bench
  • Operating System – Windows 10 64-bit

Additional Hardware

  • “Killawatt” style electricity usage meter wall plug
  • Precision Gold N05CC Decibel meter

Games

Throughout the testing procedure, we always use demanding presets which stress graphics cards to reasonable limits. However, in the interest of fairness, any technology which favours either AMD or NVIDIA is disabled. More specifically, this refers to PhysX, Hairworks and similar technologies. Additionally, we also disable all forms of AA, including FXAA, to gauge performance levels which aren’t impacted by sophisticated AA. Theoretically, we could have employed FXAA because it only has a minor impact on the frame-rate, but many users strongly dislike the hazy image this causes. V-Sync is always disabled in our testing, graphics card power usage set to optimised or balance, and the system power mode set to High Performance.

Some benchmarks may feature more cards, this is due to some tests being older or newer than others, and being used in other game specific feature tests we have conducted, so you’ll find all relevant cards included in each chart as we add or remove new and old tests.

Selecting strenuous presets especially at higher resolutions can cause hitching and other performance problems on graphics cards with lower amounts of video memory. For example, Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Very High textures requires 4GB of RAM to maintain a smooth frame-rate. In theory, we could run the benchmarks at the High setting, but this defeats the purpose of high-end graphics cards which are designed to cope with the absolute best graphics on the market. Furthermore, the notion of enthusiast cards sporting less than 4GB memory has become less of an issue. Of course, whenever we’re tackling more affordable GPUs, the settings will be altered accordingly and detailed for clarity. Identical settings are used for all resolutions, 1080, 1440, 2160, and 1440 Ultrawide unless otherwise stated.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Graphics Settings

For this game, we use the Very High preset, with some small changes to increase the Texture Filtering, turn off the AA, and all V-Sync settings.

  • Preset: Custom
  • Fullscreen: On
  • Exclusive Fullscreen: Off
  • DirextX 12: On
  • VSync: Off
  • Anti-aliasing: Off
  • Texture Quality: Very High
  • Texture Filtering: 16x Anisotropic
  • Shadow Quality: Very High
  • Sun Soft Shadows: High
  • Depth of Field: Very High
  • Level of Detail: Very High
  • Dynamic Foliage: High
  • Ambient Occlusion: On
  • PureHair: Off
  • Specular Reflection Quality: Normal
  • Vignette Blur: On
  • Motion Blur: On
  • Bloom: On
  • Tesselations: On
  • Screen Space Reflections: On
  • Lens Flares: On
  • Screen Effects: On
  • Film Grain: On

Rise of the Tomb Raider Graphics Settings

  • Preset: Custom
  • Fullscreen: On
  • Exclusive Fullscreen: Off
  • DirextX 12: On
  • MSAA: Off
  • VSync: Off
  • Texture Quality: Very High
  • Texture Filtering: 16x Anisotropic
  • Shadow Quality: Very High
  • Ambient Occlusion: Very High
  • Contact Hardening Shadows: On
  • Parallax Occlusion Mapping: High
  • Depth of Field: Very High
  • Level of Detail: Very High
  • Volumetric Lighting: On
  • Screenspace Reflections: On
  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing: Disabled
  • Motion Blur: On
  • Sharpen: On
  • Bloom: On
  • Lens Flares: On
  • Cloth Physics: On
  • Subsurface Scattering: On
  • Chromatic Aberration: On
  • Tesselations: On

Far Cry Primal Graphics Settings

  • Graphics Quality: Custom
  • HD Textures: On
  • Textures: Very High
  • Shadow: Ultra
  • Post FX: High
  • Geometry: Ultra
  • Terrain: Very High
  • Water: Very High
  • Environment: High
  • Anti-Aliasing: Off
  • Volumetric Fog: Very High
  • Motion Blur: On

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Graphics Settings

  • Preset: Custom
  • Antialiasing: Off
  • Ambient Occlusion: SSBC
  • Draw Distance: Very High
  • Level of Detail: Ultra
  • Texture Quality: Ultra
  • Anisotropic Filtering: 16
  • Shadow Quality: Ultra
  • Terrain Quality: Ultra
  • Vegetation Quality: Ultra
  • Turf Effects: Off
  • Motion Blur: On
  • Iron Sights DOF: On
  • High-Quality DOF: On
  • Bloom: On
  • God Raws: Enhanced
  • Subsurface Scattering: On
  • Lens Flare: On
  • Long-Range Shadows: Ultra

Software

  • 3DMark Firestrike
  • 3DMark Time Spy
  • Unique Superposition
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Far Cry Primal
  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  • CPU-ID HWMonitor
  • TechPowerUp GPU-Z

Noise

Everyone has a reasonable noise level preference when it comes to comes to components on a computer. Some can handle all fans at 100% load to keep temperatures down; some want an entirely silent computer. To accurately gauge the noise output of a graphics card, we position a Precision Gold N05CC Decibel meter from one metre above our open air test bench and take an average reading at idle and load.

Power Consumption

With electricity becoming increasingly expensive across most parts of the world the need for computer components to become energy efficient has never been more relevant. Graphics cards are often the most power-hungry components of a desktop system so having a capable graphics card is crucial to keeping power bills under control. Power is tied to heat, so lower power consumption means a graphics card is likely to run slightly cooler and put out less heat into your system, meaning your other components will run cooler with improved longevity. AMD and NVIDIA have both made power consumption an integral part of the way graphics cards dynamically overclock, so the need for graphics card vendors to use efficient VRM and PCB designs is becoming essential to maximise performance.

We take power readings during idle state with no background applications running. Then again at 25%, 50%, and 99% completion of the Unigine Superposition benchmark, using the average as the final published result.

Temperatures

The cooling solution which graphics card vendors choose to implement is one of the main differences that consumers have to contend with when selecting a graphics cards. Apart from their acoustic properties, the thermal properties of graphics card coolers are critical. Lower temperatures are always better, and with AMD and NVIDIA opting to use dynamic overclocking algorithms that take temperature into account, it is important that graphics card vendors use high-performance cooling solutions to maximise performance. The era of graphics cards reaching critical temperatures are now in the past, but the importance of low temperatures remains. Lower temperatures mean better stability, longer component longevity and lower fan speeds.

We take temperature readings after 10 minutes of desktop idle with no background programs running, then take the recorded maximum delivered from Unigine Superposition after a 4K optimised run, confirming the numbers are accurate with HWMonitor. Ambient temperature is always kept +/- 1c from 21c.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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