Sapphire r9 380 nitro

Sapphire r9 380 nitro DEFAULT

At a Glance

(+) Carmen Miranda: Good p performance; beefy cooling; runs quiet.
(-) Hokey Pokey: Aging architecture; less efficient than Maxwell; needs lower quality settings on some recent releases.

Doing the Tonga Tango

AMD's Tonga architecture has always been a bit of an odd man out. It's essentially a refined version of the old Tahiti architecture, with a few architectural tweaks to allow it to do more with less. Specifically, Tonga is limited to a bit memory interface, where Tahiti had a bit interface, but Tonga's GCN architecture includes lossless delta color compression technologies. Other than those changes, the performance is still largely the same as the old Radeon / Anyone who already had a good AMD card at the time Tonga came to market likely left the poor chap sitting on the sidelines as a wallflower, hoping for someone to give him a chance.

When it first showed up as the R9 , the naming hinted at the similarity, though some would inevitably hope the five point bump in model number would bring a bit more to the floor. Ultimately, performance is rarely more than a few percent faster/slower than the venerable R9 (aka HD ). But along with refinements to the memory interface, Tonga overall is an improvement in efficiency, and it's less expensive to manufacture.

Last year, the R9 and series followed up on the existing R9 / and series; then later AMD launched the R9 X, but we never formally reviewed the R9 We're going to rectify that omission, mostly because as a sub-$ graphics card, the R9 still has a lot to offer. For example, you can find the card with either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory, but considering the nearly identical price, we recommend sticking with the 4GB models. Those cards start at just $ (with rebates bringing the card price as low as $); meanwhile, the Sapphire card we're looking at is priced at $ with a mail-in rebate dropping that to $ The MHz bump in core clocks on some models is hardly worth mentioning, so we're looking at the Sapphire card as well as the R9 in general.

Shall We Dance?

Sapphire has several models of the R9 available, including a compact 2GB model. The card we received is now a bit harder to find, in that it doesn't have the metal backplate found on the more readily available Nitro. Other than that change, the two cards should perform similarly—ours just doesn't look quite as nice and isn't quite as heavy. Also, it's clocked a bit lower, but you can easily make up the difference using any overclocking utility, including Sapphire's own Trixx utility. Here's the full rundown of the card:

Sapphire R9 Nitro 4G
Transistor Count (Billions)5
Compute Units28
Texture Units
Core Clock (MHz)
Memory Capacity4GB
Memory Clock (GT/s)
Bus Width (bits)
Memory Bandwidth (GB/s)
TDP (Watts)
Online Price$

AMD's official stock clocks for the R9 —stock clocks which almost no one actually uses—are /, so Sapphire gives a moderate bump to both with their Nitro card. (The Nitro with a backplate has clocks of /, if you're wondering.) That amounts to a factory overclock of around percent, which is basically margin of error for most gaming benchmarks. But don't let those tame clock speeds underwhelm.

First, despite the mainstream pricing, the R9 is a very capable GPU. It's true that in many ways performance isn't a huge step up from an old HD or R9 , but it does offset things somewhat by including 4GB VRAM. Cross-platform gaming support has resulted in many games starting to push the limits on GPUs with less than 4GB VRAM, so if you're looking to move from an older generation mainstream GPU to a new $ card, the punches well above its weight class.

Second, there's always end-user overclocking. You'll need a utility that properly supports Sapphire's GPUs, and in this case you're best off just nabbing Trixx—MSI's Afterburner can't adjust clocks beyond +MHz. Keep your expectations in check, however, as AMD's GCN has not proven nearly as overclocking friendly as Nvidia's Maxwell architecture. We managed to run through our benchmarks at / without any problems, but / resulted in a hard system lock, even when sitting at the desktop. What will our manual overclock (12/9 percent over factory) do for you? Around 5–10 percent more performance, which is nice since it's "free," though it's not usually enough to take a game from stuttering to playable.

The Sapphire Nitro card is only moderately large. Like nearly every mainstream or higher GPU (AMD R7 or Nvidia GTX), this is a dual-slot card. Sapphire uses the exact same core design for their R9 X, so the "lesser" GPU still gets plenty of helpful features. There are two large mm fans cooling the card, which is sort of crazy to see—I remember when GPUs with 60mm fans were the norm. The large fans do require a slightly taller card, but it's only a 5mm difference. They're also powerful enough to make a racket if you run them at percent, which shouldn't happen unless you're intentionally overclocking the GPU and cranking up the fan speed.

At factory settings, the card runs quieter than our CPU cooler and case fans, and even at our maximum overclock it's still not much louder than the rest of our system components. Temperatures also remain frosty, relatively speaking—the GPU maxed out at 70C during an extended gaming session, so there's no difficulty there.

And speaking of gaming, let's check out the benchmarks. Here are the details of our GPU test system, which is designed to eliminate other bottlenecks as much as possible. We've stuck with graphics cards that cost around $ or less to keep things simple, since we all know the $+ behemoths still reign supreme.

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Fearsome Foxtrot

In terms of pricing, the R9 4GB goes up against the GTX , with both cards generally available for around $ Unfortunately, we only have the 2GB model of the GTX on hand, which means it's about $10 cheaper but it has problems with games that need more memory. Not to put too fine an edge on things, but the R9 4GB basically cleans the 2GB 's clock. Perhaps slightly more sobering is that an older GTX card is still managing slightly higher frame rates overall, but then that was originally a $ GPU. (The also stumbles on several of the latest games, at least at our tested settings, so keep that in mind.)

Of the nine games we tested, there's exactly one title where Nvidia manages a clear victory, Metro: Last Light. That's an older TWIMTBP title, so we wouldn't put too much stock in it, and even then, it's only a nine percent lead. Perhaps more surprising are some recent releases, like Rise of the Tomb Raider. That's another TWIMTBP release, but memory demands basically crush the 2GB cards; the beats the by around 40 percent. Shadow of Mordor gives AMD a similarly huge lead, and Hitman: Absolution has the ahead by around 30 percent. The remaining games are much closer, but overall we're looking at a 10–15 percent average margin of victory with p gaming.

Grabbing a GTX 4GB card should improve the situation, as looking at the R9 vs. R9 we see about a 10 percent improvement in overall performance thanks to the increased VRAM. And if you're serious about overclocking, Nvidia's cards can usually manage closer to a 20 percent OC. But otherwise, we're looking at pretty comparable performance. And of course, in this case, comparable performance means that the sub-$ cards really aren't equipped to handle anything more than p high settings in more demanding titles.

From specs to noise to performance, everything looks good for Sapphire's mainstream offering. However, there is one potential fly in the ointment: power requirements. The Sapphire card is listed as having a W TDP, which is 35W higher than the stock R9 's W TDP. The GTX by comparison is rated at only W. That means the R9 potentially consumes almost twice as much power. The horror, the horror! Except, in practice, the difference is far less dramatic.

Looking at our collection of games, we measured system power use of W (depending on the game and scene) when our test rig was running the R9 Under the same conditions, the GTX measured used –W. So despite a W difference in TDP, in practice we're seeing a 40–45W gap. Put another way, that's like replacing one incandescent bulb with a CCFL or LED bulb, which is hardly worth thinking about, considering you also get improved performance. If you're really trying to be green and reduce your energy use, we can think of plenty of better ways to save power than swapping to a more efficient GPU. We might start by ditching our X99 Haswell-E platform, which would drop idle and load power a solid 50W.

Potent Polka

There's a lot of sex appeal—erm, scratch that; nerd-appeal—in owning the fastest graphics cards and the most powerful gaming systems. And if you're serious about PC gaming and want to run at high fps and high quality settings with a 4K or x ultrawide display, you'll need every frame your GPU can muster. But there's also something to be said for just enjoying the experience of a moderate system. Console gamers know what we're talking about, as they typically make do with graphics that equate to p medium settings, and they still don't get a 60 fps experience. If all you want is a good system for gaming and you're willing to stick with medium to high quality on the latest releases, the R9 is exactly what you're looking for.

Take this card and stuff it into any decent computer—yes, even that generic pre-built OEM system—and you suddenly have a gaming PC. Sapphire's Nitro cards aren't substantially different from other Radeon offerings, but sometimes you don't need the most capable dance partner to impress. Is the R9 going to sweep you off your feet and carry you into the sunset? Probably not, but until something better comes along (you know Polaris and Pascal are due later this year, right?), there are far worse ways to spend your time shuffling around the dance floor.


Sapphire's R9 won't blow your socks off, but it offers an excellent blend of price and performance.

Jarred doesn't play games, he runs benchmarks. If you want to know about the inner workings of CPUs, GPUs, or SSDs, he's your man. He subsists off a steady diet of crunchy silicon chips and may actually be a robot.

SAPPHIRE NITRO Radeon R9 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express x16 Dual-X OC Version w/ backplate (UEFI) Video Card NT4GOC-2L


SAPPHIRE & AMD Radeon™ R9 Graphics: A New Era of PC Gaming

AMD's latest graphics technology ushers in a whole new dimension of gaming, for a whole new reality. Get all the power you need for the most immersive 4K gaming experience and beyond, for now and tomorrow. Together with SAPPHIRE's unparalleled board design quality and innovative technologies, such as Tri-X cooling, you can experience unbridled performance like never before.

SAPPHIRE Double Side Black Diamond Chokes

SAPPHIRE patented chokes run 10% cooler and give 25% more power efficiency than normal chokes. The result is longer product life, improved reliability, increased energy savings and better overclocking capability.


Dual Ball Bearings

Dual ball bearings on the fan spindles ensure smooth running and long life and are designed to keep out dust. A quiet cooling solution, two ball-bearing fan features a high-efficiency blade design, resulting in up to 80% longer life than standard ball bearings.*


10mm heat pipe

The SAPPHIRE R9 OC 8GB features a 10mm diameter copper heat pipe which has 53% better efficiency at dissipating heat than 8mm heat-pipe. With 1x 10mm, 2 x 8mm and 2x 6mm heat pipe, the card is designed to handle a W draw.

Intelligent Fan Control II

Intelligent fan control allows one or more fans to be stopped for lower noise when the card is under light load and is automatically restarted when the card temperature rises – resulting in a smoother, quieter operation.

AMD LiquidVR

LiquidVR™ is an AMD initiative dedicated to making VR as comfortable and realistic as possible by creating and maintaining what's known as "presence" — a state of immersive awareness where situations, objects, or characters within the virtual world seem "real." LiquidVR™ uses AMD's GPU software and hardware sub-systems to tackle the common issues and pitfalls of achieving presence, such as reducing motion-to-photon latency to less than 10 milliseconds. This is a crucial step in addressing the common discomforts, such as motion sickness, that may occur when you turn your head in a virtual world and it takes even a few milliseconds too long for a new perspective to be shown.


AMD FreeSync technology

No stuttering. No tearing. Just gaming.
AMD FreeSync™ technology puts an end to choppy gameplay and broken frames with fluid, artifact-free performance at virtually any framerate. Behold the next breakthrough in PC gaming performance. The FreeSync™ technology in select AMD APUs and GPUs resolves the communication issues between processor and monitor, eliminating image tears and choppiness for effortlessly smooth gameplay.

AMD Eyefinity

AMD Eyefinity technology expands the traditional limits of desktop computing by multiplying your screen area. With multiple monitors, games become more immersive, workstations become more useful and you become more productive . Take your PC games to the next level of reality and immersion. Most modern games look great on three screens, and only AMD Radeon™ graphics offer you the ability to play across five screens for an eye-popping gaming experience.


AMD Crossfire™

AMD CrossFire™ technology is the ultimate multi-GPU performance gaming platform. With the flexibility to combine two, three or four GPUs, AMD CrossFire™ technology is the perfect solution for those who demand extreme performance.

DirectX® 12

DirectX® 12 is a new, "console-like" graphics API from Microsoft® that empowers game developers with more direct and obvious control of PC hardware. To put it simply: much more efficient hardware through smarter software! At the discretion of a game developer, this superior efficiency can be spent on higher framerates, lower latency (VR), lower power consumption, better image quality, or some calculated balance of all four. In any scenario, gamers stand to benefit greatly from choosing AMD hardware to run their favorite DirectX® 12 game.


SAPPHIRE TRIXX Overclocking Utility

  • Performance Tune Memory and GPU Clock Speeds
  • Over and Under Voltage adjustment
  • Save configurations
  • Graphical hardware Monitor
  • Hardware log file
  • Feedback option
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Sapphire Nitro R9 8GB &#; Nitro R9 4GB Video Card Review

Sapphire Nitro and Video Cards Review

AMD decided to do a refresh of their graphics chips, rather than a complete overhaul. This has been widely publicized for sometime now that there is little to no difference in performance between the previous generation GPU and the &#;new&#; generation. So, what is Sapphire doing with the latest AMD GPU? They are taking this as an opportunity to introduce us to a new line of graphics cards called, Nitro. Sapphire Nitro Gaming Series cards are geared towards the average gamer, who is focused on getting the biggest bang for their buck but still wants to get a graphics card with top of the line features. With this new line, they are focusing on giving the average gamer what they want, high quality components, high performance, reliability and acceptable noise level.

Sapphire Nitro Gaming Series

Here is what Sapphire has to Say about the Nitro Gaming Series of AMD Radeon graphics cards.

&#;The SAPPHIRE NITRO series boasts a range of features previously reserved for high-end cards, including long-life capacitors and award-winning Black Diamond Chokes, as well as new versions of our award-winning cooling solutions. Its elegant contours with purposeful black and gunmetal finish have been designed to suit any build. And the latest graphics architecture from AMD ensures fast, reliable gaming, performance tuned for any level of gaming. So whatever kind of gamer you are, the SAPPHIRE NITRO series offers you the maximum gaming experience for your budget.&#;


The two Sapphire Nitro R series graphics cards that we are looking at today are the Sapphire Nitro R9 8GB and the Sapphire Nitro R9 4GB. These cards are basically updates of the AMD Radeon R9 and AMD Radeon R9 that have been on the market for some time. In the chart below we compared the Sapphire Nitro R9 4GB to the Sapphire Dual-X Radeon R9 2GB and then the Sapphire Nitro R9 8GB to the Sapphire Tri-X Radeon R9 4GB.

Dual-X Nitro Tri-X Nitro
Microarchitecture Tonga TongaHawaiiHawaii
Manufacturing Process28nm28nm28nm28nm
Stream Processors
Core ClockMHzMHzMHzMHz
ROPs 32 / 32 / 64 / 64 /
GDDR5 Memory ClockMhzMhzMHzMHz
Memory Bus Widthbitbitbitbit
Memory BandwidthGB/sGB/sGB/sGB/s
Typical Board Power (TDP) <WW<WW
Warranty2 Years2 Years2 Years2 Years
Launch Price$$$$

As you can see the stuff under the hood of the GPU remains the same, but process enhancements during GPU manufacturing has allowed AMD and their board partners to increase the clock speed of the GPU and memory while not increasing the TDP of the board (Sapphire didn&#;t give exact TDP&#;s for the R9 series cards). The memory has been doubled from the original amount the the cards launched, which is one of the biggest changes on the new Radeon R9 series of cards. You can find a Sapphire Radeon R9 with 8GB of memory on it today, but the all the Radeon R9 cards come with that amount. The price on the cards have gone up, but most of that is due to extra memory cost.


One of the first changes Sapphire made with the Nitro series, is that there will be only one card in the series for each step. If you want an AMD Radeon R9 graphics card, there is only one Nitro Of course, there are other Sapphire cards available with different features, but if you want a great AMD card without focusing on the extras, the Nitro series is your choice. Finally, the Nitro series brings a new way to select a graphics card, with Sapphire rating system that should take the guess work out of which graphics card is better (ie a rating of 4 is better than 3).

With the Nitro series, Sapphire is taking away flashy colors. For this reason, each of the graphics cards in the Nitro series will look very similar. They will have a black fan shroud with grey highlights. The high quality components that has gone into the Nitro series includes Sapphires Black Diamond chokes, long life capacitors, dual ball bearing fans and an enhanced Intelligent Fan control system.


In addition to the new Nitro graphics cards, Sapphire has launched a new community website for enthusiasts and gamers. Sapphire Nation will serve as a hub for Sapphire&#;s promotions, social media campaigns, news and reviews by fellow gamers. They already have a good amount of content available for you to take a look at, with much more planned.

Let&#;s take a quick look at the new Sapphire Nitro cards and then get to doing some performance testing.

Questions or comments? View this thread in our forums!

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Of course, we all jerked off, although we did not advertise it, but we did it more in order to seem adults.

380 nitro r9 sapphire

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Review: Tarjetas gráficas Sapphire R9 390X Tri-X, R9 390 Nitro y R9 380 Nitro

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