Does 6800xt Nitro+ live up to the hype?

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Hello, first poster here.
What is the consensus on the Sapphire's "premium" 6800xt Nitro+ model? This brand is kind of positioned as "EVGA of Radeon" and carries lots hype and clout. However, it is kind of really underwhelming in some reviews. I enjoy Hardware Unboxed benchmarks, and this card looks like it is kind of getting BTFO by Red Devil particularly. I am especifically concerned about the power draw, since it running louder or hotter may simply be due to more slim, less beefy cooler (or obvious lack of aio).
However, everyone hyped Sapphire PCBs and how well they do, to the point that they even work together with AMD on reference design (allegedly). Doesn't this fairly disproportionate power consumption, while also running slower, indicate inferior PCB design and voltage regulation efficiency?

sapphire.PNG

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FlawleZ

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Hello, first poster here.
What is the consensus on the Sapphire's "premium" 6800xt Nitro+ model? This brand is kind of positioned as "EVGA of Radeon" and carries lots hype and clout. However, it is kind of really underwhelming in some reviews. I enjoy Hardware Unboxed benchmarks, and this card looks like it is kind of getting BTFO by Red Devil particularly. I am especifically concerned about the power draw, since it running louder or hotter may simply be due to more slim, less beefy cooler (or obvious lack of aio).
However, everyone hyped Sapphire PCBs and how well they do, to the point that they even work together with AMD on reference design (allegedly). Doesn't this fairly disproportionate power consumption, while also running slower, indicate inferior PCB design and voltage regulation efficiency?

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Welcome to [H]! I'm not sure which images you're referencing in regards to the Sapphire Nitro+ being slower than the Red Devil. The 2nd image you posted clear shows the Sapphire model as faster. Unless you're looking at the OC cards and in that case jts important to remember OC results are always silicon lottery regardless of the AIB or PCB design. As far as power consumption goes, again the Sapphire Nitro+ had a lower power draw than the Red Devil at idle. The peak load was 18W more on the Nitro+, but if you're worried about 18W under load I'm not sure a high end video card is what you want.
 

SeymourGore

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Yar, Sapphire is a pretty well trusted partner for AMD and their past Nitro+ have been excellent.

The RX 6800 XT variant does feel a bit underwhelming to me - not sure if it's because AMD's reference design performs much better than the old blower references (in terms of noise), or the inflated MSRP on AIBs. I've currently got a pre-order in for a Nitro+, and I'm sorta wishing I went for a Merc or Red Devil - however, I don't want to lose my queue position. Plus, I still think the Nitro+ design looks good.
 
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Also would like to mention, if 1 card needs to be
Welcome to [H]! I'm not sure which images you're referencing in regards to the Sapphire Nitro+ being slower than the Red Devil. The 2nd image you posted clear shows the Sapphire model as faster. Unless you're looking at the OC cards and in that case jts important to remember OC results are always silicon lottery regardless of the AIB or PCB design. As far as power consumption goes, again the Sapphire Nitro+ had a lower power draw than the Red Devil at idle. The peak load was 18W more on the Nitro+, but if you're worried about 18W under load I'm not sure a high end video card is what you want.
Yeah, that was a dumb mistake. I meant mainly the OC headrooms, but I guess I am so fixated on this parameter that I unconsciously ignored other things.
One caveat about the Red Devil though. Isn't the "Limited Edition" Red Devil is designated as "limited" due to it being a special package with trinkets (special key caps and production number)? I can't specify this right now, but I read that Red Devil 6800xt LE is more like initial batch of GPUs, and that they will continue selling it in the future but without special addons (like the keycaps).

From what I know it is not mentioned that Red Devil is supder duper binned chip (edit: but it sure behaves so, so probably it is). Also, isn't the special edition of "6800xt Nitro+ SE" kind of the same thing? Albeit, it isn't nearly as limited as "1000 units only".
 
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Yar, Sapphire is a pretty well trusted partner for AMD and their past Nitro+ have been excellent.

The RX 6800 XT variant does feel a bit underwhelming to me - not sure if it's because AMD's reference design performs much better than the old blower references (in terms of noise), or the inflated MSRP on AIBs. I've currently got a pre-order in for a Nitro+, and I'm sorta wishing I went for a Merc or Red Devil - however, I don't want to lose my queue position. Plus, I still think the Nitro+ design looks good.
Hmmm, is it a secret which retailer you use that got some pre-order queueing?
I wish AMD had someone like EVGA, their implementation to combat scalping and make the distribution fair, sounds pretty nice. And all of that is done straight from their website.
 

SeymourGore

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Hmmm, is it a secret which retailer you use that got some pre-order queueing?
I wish AMD had someone like EVGA, their implementation to combat scalping and make the distribution fair, sounds pretty nice. And all of that is done straight from their website.
No secret, got my pre-order with Mike's Computer Shop (Canada-based, though). I had to e-mail their customer service for the RX 6800 XT listings (wasn't able to find it with a regular search at the time). I have purchased from them before, but never a hardware pre-order - hopefully it pans out.

Yeah, it would be great if AMD AIBs followed EVGA's example. Not only their 'notify me' queue, but their step up programs are great.
 
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No secret, got my pre-order with Mike's Computer Shop (Canada-based, though). I had to e-mail their customer service for the RX 6800 XT listings (wasn't able to find it with a regular search at the time). I have purchased from them before, but never a hardware pre-order - hopefully it pans out.

Yeah, it would be great if AMD AIBs followed EVGA's example. Not only their 'notify me' queue, but their step up programs are great.

In regards of 6800 xt Nitro+ though, do you think it is a worthwhile idea to pursue one, only to then put a waterblock on it? A lot of people consider reference model to be the go to option for waterblocks, but thing is that I always thought the PCB will be the arbiter (besides the bin) of how well your card clocks, despite custom loop cooling. Everyone is of a high opinion of the Sapphire quality and i want to kind of indulge in it. Reference cards are almost as expensive in EU as Nitro+ lol, so might as well.
 

SeymourGore

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In regards of 6800 xt Nitro+ though, do you think it is a worthwhile idea to pursue one, only to then put a waterblock on it? A lot of people consider reference model to be the go to option for waterblocks, but thing is that I always thought the PCB will be the arbiter of how well your card clocks, despite custom loop cooling. Everyone is of a high opinion of the Sapphire quality, but I am kind of getting lost. Reference cards are almost as expensive in EU as Nitro+ lol, so might as well.

That I couldn't tell you. Currently at work, so I'm not sure if Buildzoid has done his analysis of the Nitro+'s PCB yet (believe he might've done the Red Devil though).
 

FlawleZ

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In regards of 6800 xt Nitro+ though, do you think it is a worthwhile idea to pursue one, only to then put a waterblock on it? A lot of people consider reference model to be the go to option for waterblocks, but thing is that I always thought the PCB will be the arbiter (besides the bin) of how well your card clocks, despite custom loop cooling. Everyone is of a high opinion of the Sapphire quality and i want to kind of indulge in it. Reference cards are almost as expensive in EU as Nitro+ lol, so might as well.
I own multiple Saphire Nitro+ cards. RX 580, R9 390, R9 Fury, Vega 64, etc. I've been buying Sapphire's custom PCB cards for a long time, well before the Nitro series. I also have 2 DualX HD7950, Dual X 7870, Sapphire Toxic HD5850, and used to have a Sapphire Vapor X HD4890. All of these cards have had exceptional cooling capacity and noise levels when compared to the reference blower designs.
However, if your goal is to immediately slap a block on it, it may not make more sense to specifically target a custom PCB AIB card as they sometimes have delayed OC support in terms of voltage control. Unless you're purchasing a premium model with more VRAM, better binning or VRMs, I would probably not pay the premium for AIB customs as most of the price increase is the custom cooling which it sounds like you're going to ditch.
 
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That I couldn't tell you. Currently at work, so I'm not sure if Buildzoid has done his analysis of the Nitro+'s PCB yet (believe he might've done the Red Devil though).
Can't wait for Bullzoid to finally do it.

I own multiple Saphire Nitro+ cards. RX 580, R9 390, R9 Fury, Vega 64, etc. I've been buying Sapphire's custom PCB cards for a long time, well before the Nitro series. I also have 2 DualX HD7950, Dual X 7870, Sapphire Toxic HD5850, and used to have a Sapphire Vapor X HD4890. All of these cards have had exceptional cooling capacity and noise levels when compared to the reference blower designs.
However, if your goal is to immediately slap a block on it, it may not make more sense to specifically target a custom PCB AIB card as they sometimes have delayed OC support in terms of voltage control. Unless you're purchasing a premium model with more VRAM, better binning or VRMs, I would probably not pay the premium for AIB customs as most of the price increase is the custom cooling which it sounds like you're going to ditch.
Yeah I am of a similar mindset. It is pretty damn wasteful to do so, but my major caveat is that Nitro+ managed to be around the same price at European retails at like €820 something, while the reference card is €799 lol. Might as well try and get the allegedly best card.
May you please tell me what you meant by "delayed OC support"? I thought going for more premium card's PCB, would mean it possessing better voltage control stuff, more pcb layers, more power stability, and stuff like that. I am kind of dumbfounded. Aren't reference cards like the worst to OC, even though they are water blocked?

edit: also it lacks that "shunt mod" stuff... I don't think it works like that due to different power delivery on AMD, as opposed to Nvidia.
 

FlawleZ

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Can't wait for Bullzoid to finally do it.


Yeah I am of a similar mindset. It is pretty damn wasteful to do so, but my major caveat is that Nitro+ managed to be around the same price at European retails at like €820 something, while the reference card is €799 lol. Might as well try and get the allegedly best card.
May you please tell me what you meant by "delayed OC support"? I thought going for more premium card's PCB, would mean it possessing better voltage control stuff, more pcb layers, more power stability, and stuff like that. I am kind of dumbfounded. Aren't reference cards like the worst to OC, even though they are water blocked?

edit: also it lacks that "shunt mod" stuff... I don't think it works like that due to different power delivery on AMD, as opposed to Nvidia.
What I mean is, sometimes the custom PCBs use different controllers for voltage and the default drivers or even Afterburner don't have immediate support for them. This may not be the case for Big Navi, but I have owned previous custom cards that the AMD catalyst and even Afterburner could not modify core or memory voltage.
 
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What I mean is, sometimes the custom PCBs use different controllers for voltage and the default drivers or even Afterburner don't have immediate support for them. This may not be the case for Big Navi, but I have owned previous custom cards that the AMD catalyst and even Afterburner could not modify core or memory voltage.
Hmm, but things like that would prolly also rely on how "popular" a particular brand and model is, no? Adoption rate usually also correlates with software support. Sapphire and its Nitros seem like a pretty damn hot product, even before this covid gadget craze. I get a suspicion I might not even get one due to just how low on the priority European countries are... :unsure:
 

tangoseal

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Im not sure how any 6800xt performs because they are the stuff made of mythology
 

Ebernanut

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The Red Devil seems to be the best performer with better cooling and power management however every review I've seen on it uses the special edition which is limited to something like 1000 and is likely heavily binned, I'd be interested in seeing a direct comparison of performance between the SE and regular versions.

Nitro+ plus does seem to be a noticeable step down in performance when compared to the RD but I wouldn't be surprised if the N+ ends up being a slightly more durable model. I also haven't seen any reviews for the SE version but it looks like it only adds RGB bling and has USB-c like the reference model instead of an extra DP.
 

123Lanoix

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The Red Devil seems to be the best performer with better cooling and power management however every review I've seen on it uses the special edition which is limited to something like 1000 and is likely heavily binned, I'd be interested in seeing a direct comparison of performance between the SE and regular versions.

Nitro+ plus does seem to be a noticeable step down in performance when compared to the RD but I wouldn't be surprised if the N+ ends up being a slightly more durable model. I also haven't seen any reviews for the SE version but it looks like it only adds RGB bling and has USB-c like the reference model instead of an extra DP.
Are you talking about out of the box performance? Because the Sapphire nitro+ cards are tuned to be near silent. You will need to make sure the bios is in performance mode and play around increasing their fan curve which will allow the card to boost much higher. For example the RX 6800 nitro+ version has a rated board power of 290watts but out of the box it only uses around 220w because of all the tuning Sapphire did to make the card quiet. Their cooler is not worse than powercolor you will just need play with the card and some OC + undervolting to get a good frequency/heat temp out of it. But they are definately capable cards.
 

Ebernanut

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Are you talking about out of the box performance? Because the Sapphire nitro+ cards are tuned to be near silent. You will need to make sure the bios is in performance mode and play around increasing their fan curve which will allow the card to boost much higher. For example the RX 6800 nitro+ version has a rated board power of 290watts but out of the box it only uses around 220w because of all the tuning Sapphire did to make the card quiet. Their cooler is not worse than powercolor you will just need play with the card and some OC + undervolting to get a good frequency/heat temp out of it. But they are definately capable cards.
The reviews I'm basing that off of were using performance mode, I think it was still quieter but it had less overclocking headroom so with and without tinkering the the Nitro+ is a bit slower. One of the reviews noted that the Nitro+ manages to cool as well as it does with a relatively light heatsink which is nice and like I mentioned all the reviews I saw for the Red Devil were on the Limited edition.

From what I've seen they're the two best air cooled cards but I still haven't seen reviews on a couple models that were released later.
 

123Lanoix

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The reviews I'm basing that off of were using performance mode, I think it was still quieter but it had less overclocking headroom so with and without tinkering the the Nitro+ is a bit slower. One of the reviews noted that the Nitro+ manages to cool as well as it does with a relatively light heatsink which is nice and like I mentioned all the reviews I saw for the Red Devil were on the Limited edition.

From what I've seen they're the two best air cooled cards but I still haven't seen reviews on a couple models that were released later.

Slot of it to is winning the silicon lottery
 

DPI

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The Red Devil seems to be the best performer with better cooling and power management however every review I've seen on it uses the special edition which is limited to something like 1000 and is likely heavily binned, I'd be interested in seeing a direct comparison of performance between the SE and regular versions.
Yeah, I'm a little skeptical. der8auer 6800XT beat my 3090! video certainly caught a lot of attention and made the rounds, but he also hinted that it just might be a golden GPU they sent him, and that people may want to temper their expectations. Still, the ballpark of the results are impressive, even if you remove any margin that a golden overclocker may have provided.

If I recall, in the followup video he is baffled that AMD hard-limited the core clock to 2700MHz, and was waiting to hear back from AMD on why (outshining the 6900XT would be a guess).
 
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