Radeon Nitro+ RX 480 OC

dsc_0563Sapphire unveiled the Nitro+ RX 480 OC graphics card which allowed    AMD’s flagship Polaris 10 core to perform to its maximum potential. This is due to the company’s exceptional cooling solution which managed to tame the GPU’s thermal loads and in turn, ensured the boost clock didn’t plummet in a wide range of demanding games. Unfortunately, AMD’s relatively simplistic reference cooling design doesn’t contain any heat-pipes and relies on a single aluminium heatsink with a copper base. This was inadequate for overclocking and after speaking to AMD, they acknowledged it could have been engineered better. While the RX 480 offers outstanding value for money and targets the mainstream demographic, the price point might still be too high for certain consumers on a tight budget or those considering PC gaming for the first time. Thankfully, the RX 470 can dispel those concerns and is a slightly scaled back version of the RX 480. This particular configuration is capable of up to 4.9 TFLOP/s peak performance, has 32 compute units, 2048 stream processors all within a very respectable 150-watt TDP on models sporting an 8-pin connector.

dsc_0566As you might expect, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 OC utilises the same cooling apparatus as its bigger brother and contains a BIOS switch to cycle between two modes. The silent mode features a 1206MHz boost clock and the memory runs at 1750MHz. If you require extra performance, then the Boost mode is a suitable choice given the higher 1260MHz clock speed. Evidently, this is a significant step up from Sapphire’s other RX 470 which is based on the reference model. Therefore, I expect to see some pretty significant frame-rate improvements as from my own experience, the boost clock is very stable and doesn’t fluctuate.

dsc_0567On a more technical note, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 OC has a custom PCB, dense fin array aluminium heatsink and nickel plated copper heat-pipes. Also, high-quality Black Diamond Chokes 4 have been utilised which reduce coil temperatures by 15% compared to the previous version. Evidently, Sapphire haven’t made any cutbacks and bundled the best possible selection of components.dsc_0569

The ability to remove the fans improves RMA times and simplifies the process. Now, consumers can request replacement fans and not have to send the GPU to a repair centre at their cost. This makes sense because the fans are the most likely element to fail over time. Not only that, an upcoming update to Sapphire’s overclocking utility will also allow the end-user to receive help and perform fan diagnostics. Removing the fans is handy to eliminate dust build-up which has the potential to impact on fan efficiency. Thankfully, Sapphire’s fan removal system is brilliant and provides the end-user with greater flexibility.

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Pros

  • 0dB fan mode
  • Dual BIOS
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Fast 1260MHz factory overclock
  • Gorgeous backplate
  • Great performance
  • Low Temperatures
  • Remarkably quiet
  • Sophisticated design
  • Superb overclocking headroom

Cons

  • Priced too close to the RX 480 (Could change)

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