Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

A full-featured graphics processor cores Tonga 2048 came too late, however, thanks to a good level of performance could oust the GeForce GTX 960 in its price category. A role in this was played and the amount of video memory of 4 GB.

Sapphire company is one of the main partners of AMD. Its developers have decided to continue the tradition with a new line of Nitro, which became another link in the chain of different graphics accelerators. The main idea of the series – is the use of high quality components (including the long-life capacitors and inductors marked Sapphire Black Diamond awards) database, support for new technologies and equipment cards original cooling systems.

We consider a model of Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro, which represents the interest of quality performance, a modified cooling system and factory-overclocked.

Full name: Sapphire Nitro Radeon R9 380X 4G D5, manufacturer code: 11250-01-20G.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Packaging and delivery

The card comes in a cardboard box elongated. Making – traditionally for series products Tri-X and Nitro, the design exploits the theme of the high-tech cyborg.

The front part of the packaging is informative, the developers pointed out all the features of models, ranging from the use of “bekpleyta” and ending with the amount of video memory.

On the back side there was a plenty of room for product descriptions and demonstrations of the cooling system in the context. In addition to the general information available certificates logos, which corresponds to the video card.

Behind the beautiful outer shell hides a box of cardboard. Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro placed between the sheets of paper in the package with air layer that protects it during transport. Package dimensions are small, the layout of the content is very dense.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

Sapphire company one of the few can be praised and put as an example, which should be at least the minimum grade. The developers have equipped graphics card not only paper booklets and a CD with drivers, but also an adapter DVI -> VGA.

With the older model can be detected and the HDMI extension cable 1.8 m, but more on that next time.

By packaging and delivery kit claims do not arise: it can be concluded that the video card is securely packaged and provided with the minimum required set of accessories.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Appearance and size

People still remember with warmth Sapphire video card series of Tri-X, and the Vapor, each with its own twist and virtues for which we all loved them. The developers did not stop there, presenting a line of Nitro.

Video card Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro presented monolithic, unassailable. cooling casing looks quite discreet: no you vivid detail, breaks and labels. Modesty is caused by a design approach of the new line. The advantages include the dimensions of the casing, which is a compact, not beyond the edge of the PCB.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

In terms of visual inspection which pronounced the two rather large fan with 95 mm diameter impeller. They cover most of the area of the radiator, looked through them. Specific figures allow us to estimate the dimensions of the length of a novelty “nereferensa” is 239 mm, width – 125 mm, used dual-slot form CO.

The entire back of the printed circuit board closes bekpleyt with distinctive design pattern. Sapphire Developers use it not only as a support plate, but also a part of the cooling system. At the head of visible recesses for rapprochement with the VRM area, he also contact occurs through the thermal pads.

The rear panel has several series cards row repeats the reference model of AMD. Total employed four video outputs:

  • One DVI-D;
  • One DVI-I;
  • One HDMI;
  • One DisplayPort.

It supports the following resolutions:

  • Digital – to 4096 x 2160;
  • Analog – up to 2048 x 1536.

One innovation after another, and additional food is realized under the old formula “6 + 6”. By the way for other manufacturers have already replaced them with one vosmikontatknym connector, because they are equal in power, but saves more space on the board and it looks neater. But developers to easily connect left no place for the latches in backplate.

It is impossible to ignore the corporate Bios switch on the video card, it is true for the Nitro line lovely button with a backlit replaced with a simple toggle switch.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

As you may have guessed, in each of the chips sewn up its own version of the firmware, what’s the difference? Frankly, except for UEFI support them there, but it becomes possible to edit Bios at its own discretion and as required to switch between them. Simple and elegant.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Cooling system

Its design is different from the accepted standards and reminds CO cards Palit JetStream. It all comes down to order the dismantling of elements, where the heat sink is not the first in the queue, and housing.

Two fans are mounted to a small sled, cable management hides a dense and tiny fee for connecting devices. This allows non-surgical interventions in the future to replace the defective water meter.

Models presented by Apistek with the marking on the rotor GAA8B2U-PFTB, characteristics 12 and 0.45A. Testing conducted to evaluate the range of their work, it is 0-3000 rev / min. In simple fans stop according to a new trend and 0dB Fan technology.

Following is the main heat sink, which is secured by six spring-loaded screws. Through the application of a large number of thermal interface separate cooler from the card accounts by applying a small effort.

Imprint GPU turned smooth, paste factory dried up. Based on the read marking products.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

“Get” and video memory chips, which the developers have not forgotten. They are in contact with the substrate through thermo black 2.5 mm thick.

The quality of grinding complaints are not available. The copper base is polished at a high level, close to a mirror.

The cooler is single-section radiator, recruited 40 aluminum plates, filled with four heat pipes with a diameter of 6 mm. All connections are soldered carefully. The copper base plate acts as an additional heat-spreader.

For cooling the VRM area is responsible not own heat sink and elongated plate of the main cooler in the head, with soldered aluminum strip. As the thermal interface pads are used purple.

Continuing the theme of the campaign quality to the cooling system, developers are hooked to action and “bekpleyt”. In addition to the support functions it removes heat from the VRM area. To improve efficiency in the dielectric coating has done a notch.

Heavy layout design of the cooling system and a sound approach to detail can count on highly effective CO. Recall that in front of us the entire card length 239 mm, not trehventilyatorny monster.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Printed circuit board

Video card Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro is built on the original board black. The company’s engineers did not use the familiar referensnye production or design of past generations and developed a completely new PCB.

Use high-quality electronic components in accordance with the new directive for a series of Nitro: durable solid capacitors, Direct-FET transistors and branded chokes with lower power consumption Black Diamond.

The overall power circuit can be described as a 5 + 1 + 1 phase (GPU + PLL + MEM), is used to control the drive controller NCP81022, which has already met several times before.

The heart of the video card was the GPU Tonga, produced on 28 nm process technology in January 2016. It includes 2048 shaders, 32 blocks rasterization and 128 texture units.

The total amount of video memory is 4096 MB, he scored eight chips of 512 MB each production of Elpida, marking is not readable.

Passport memory frequency – 1500 MHz (effective frequency 6000 MHz). The data exchange is carried out by a 256-bit bus.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Testbed

Testing the video card Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro was held as part of the following configuration:

  • Motherboard: MSI Z97 Gaming 5 (BIOS v 1.11);
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K 4000 MHz (100 x 40 1.156 B) or 800 MHz during measurement of the noise level;
  • CPU Cooling System: Thermalright Archon (fan Thermalright TY-140, 140 mm, 500 rev / min);
  • Thermal interface: Gelid GC-Extreme;
  • RAM: Kingston PC3-17000 (DDR3-2133, 10-11-11-27, 2 x 4 GB, dual-channel mode);
  • Drive SSD: SanDisk X110 256GB;
  • Power supply: ETG Premium 1200W, 1200 W;
  • Housing: Cooler Master HAF 922;
  • Monitor: BenQ GW2460HM, 1920 x 1080 resolution (calibrated).


  • Operating System: Windows 7 x64 SP1 Ultimate;
  • graphics card driver: AMD Catalyst 16.2.1;

Auxiliary tool:

  • GPU-Z v. 0.8.6;
  • Heaven Benchmark 4.0;
  • MSI Afterburner v4.2.0;
  • MSI Kombustor

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: instrumentation and test method

For overclocking and temperature monitoring and fan speed used proprietary utility MSI Afterburner v4.2.0.

Check the stability of operation of accelerators in the process of overclocking utility made MSI Kombustor 3.5 (GPU Burn-in mode, 1920 x 1080). These frequencies were tested further test runs Heaven Benchmark v 4.0 c extreme tessellation levels and graphics tests of the 3DMark 2013, 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Vantage.

To check the temperature of video cards in an environment close to everyday, unused Heaven BenchMark v4.0 (quality: ultra, tessellation: extreme, AA8x, 1920 x 1080).

The noise level was measured using a digital sound level meter TM-102 with an accuracy of measurements is not more than 0.5 dB. Measurements were taken from a distance of 0.3 m of the background noise level in the room -. Not more than 28 dB. All the system fans, including installed in the power supply disconnected. The graphs border conditional quietness for the system is determined at the level of 30.5 dB, the border conditional Comfort – 37 dB. The room temperature was 26 degrees Celsius.

Additionally, it takes readings of power consumption by using a power meter Robiton PM-2 and the PCB temperature IR thermometer Fluke 59 MAX.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card

The standard frequency and overclocking

Recently, factory overclocking AMD’s third-party models is not happy. Against the background of Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro stands out: the core clock frequency is increased from 970 MHz to 1040 MHz memory frequency – from 1425 MHz to 1500 MHz. GPU voltage – 1.156 V.

In idle mode, video frequency formula is reduced to 300/150 MHz, and the fans are stopped. Tachometer remembers the last rotational speed of the turntables, in this case about 762 / min, which is provided in the monitoring. GPU temperature is at around 38-44 ° C, published by the noise level is very low.

Tonga Bios Reader utility allows you to look at the configuration of firmware from a different angle. We were given the opportunity to not only edit the frequency for 2D and 3D modes, and the voltage for all seven sections, each of which is activated when your stress level.

Now, we can influence the technology such as AMD Power Play and Power Tune, which undoubtedly pleases.

Model Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro, built on the full GPU Supplier: Tonga To, is hotter than its predecessor without the prefix X. And once the video card equipped with identical cooling systems, the developers have a way to influence the temperature readings of a particular version – to increase the rotational speed of the fan impellers.

According to the results of the test Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is warmed to 76 ° C at 1600 rev / min, the noise level emitted by the average, comfortable for extended use. Reserve to further increase the speed is, however, the acoustic characteristics of the model has already reached its threshold and silent after 1700 rev / min begins to stand out against the background of the system unit.

GPU temperature reaches acceptable by modern standards, values, VRM zone – around 78 ° C, which on the background side of the model looks great.

Let’s see what happens when manually overclocked Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro. After several attempts the core frequency has reached the entire 1050 MHz memory – 1600 MHz.

Such modest results due to “good” copy, came to us to review. Power Limit for the test value has been increased by 20%, and the rotational speed of the impellers was fixed at around 70% (2100 rev / min), so that overheating is excluded.

Branded utility Sapphire TriXX addition to the basic features offers voltage regulation up to +200 mV, that overclockers enjoy. It was raised to 120 mV, allowing the GPU was overclocked to 1150 MHz, the video memory working at 1600 MHz. According to the testimony of monitoring VDDC average value equal to 1.288 V.

It is worth noting that the video card is “strangled” by the average energy consumption for which Power Tune tries to keep Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro in the given framework.

If we abandon the overclocking of video memory, and only resort to higher core frequency, the hero of this review and stably at 1200 MHz. However, a caveat: the base Power Limit + 20% is not enough, and to achieve more significant results, it is necessary to rule Bios. It is a pity that the card was in my short.

Cooling capacity of Research

The following is a graph of the temperature of the GPU / system power and noise of the cooling fans. This card is devoid of sensors in the supply voltage, so the results were part of the power obtained by the pyrometer.

The company Sapphire obtain an effective cooling system, especially in the GPU AMD’s standards. Rarely noted that the power subsystem temperatures may be lower GPU temperature.

The level of electricity consumption

Schedule of all electricity consumed in the stand depending on the video card GPU working frequency and voltage.

Power consumption in 2D was measured at idle system (on the desktop). Testing in Heaven BenchMark 4.0 was carried out at the following settings – quality: ultra, tessellation: extreme, AA8x, 1920 x 1080.


Obviously, the entire line of Radeon R9 380 (X) confirmed the dynamic reduction of the clock frequency of the load, and even the basic 20% Power Limit is not sufficient to prevent performance degradation. But such a low TDP value is the result of the desire of engineers to keep within a certain limit. Unfortunately, video cards to give more freedom, we have to manually edit the Windows registry or BIOS, someone like that, and only then enjoy stable performance without any extra drawdown FPS.

As for the Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro, the developers get a balanced solution for all characteristics: size, published by the noise and acceptable heat. No matter how much I tried to find flaws, they simply do not. The Company issued another series of graphics cards soundly. As noted earlier, the criticism can cause dynamic change of the core frequency of the load, but it is the specificity of Radeon R9 285/380 (X), and there is nothing not do without manual intervention. It remains only to note the high factory overclock, extended warranty, neskudny supplied and become the standard 4 GB of graphics memory.

Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro: Review and testing graphics card was last modified: July 10th, 2016 by Tomas Shellby