Earlier this month Sapphire announced a new budget-oriented series of graphics cards it calls PULSE. The new series slides in below the premium Nitro+ series to offer cheaper graphics cards that retain many of the high-quality hardware components but lack the flashy extras on the coolers, come in at lower factory overclocks, and have fewer PCI-E power inputs which, in theory, means lower overclocking headroom. The new graphics cards series is currently made up of five Polaris-based GPUs: the Sapphire Pulse RX 580, RX 570, RX 570 ITX, and RX 550.
According to Sapphire, Pulse graphics cards use many of the high-end components as the Nitro+ cards including Black Diamond Chokes 4, long lasting capacitors, fuse protection. And intelligent fan control. The new graphics cards have aluminum backplates, removeable Quick Connect fans with semi-passive cooling technology that allows the fans to turn off when the card is under light load. The RX 580 and RX 570 use Dual-X coolers and the RX 570 ITX and RX 550 use single fan shrouded coolers.
Compared to Nitro+, the coolers are a bit less flashy and there are no Nitro+ Glow LEDs. If you are not a fan of bling or do not have a windowed case, the Pulse cards might save you a bit of money while getting you most of the performance if Sapphire’s claims are accurate.
Speaking of performance, the Pulse branded graphics cards are factory overclocked, just not as much. The Sapphire Pulse RX 580 with its 2,304 cores comes with a boost clock of 1366 MHz, the RX 570 and RX 570 ITX come with GPU boost clocks of 1,284 MHz and 1,244 MHz respectively, and the RX 550 has a boost clock of 1,206 MHz. Memory clocks sit at 8,000 MHz for the RX 580 and 7,000 MHz for the remaining Pulse cards (RX 570, RX 570 ITX, and RX 550).
Along with the introduction of its new Pulse series of graphics cards, Sapphire has entered a “strategic partnership” with motherboard manufacturer Asrock. The new graphics cards are shipping now and will be available at retailers shortly. Pricing for the RX 550 isn’t available, but prices for the other cards has appeared online as follows: Pulse RX 580 8GB for $229.99, Pulse RX 580 4GB for $199.99, Pulse RX 570 for $179.99, Pulse RX 570 ITX for $169.99.
In all, the Pulse cards appear to be about $20 cheaper than the Nitro+ variant. We will have to wait and see if those prices hold up once retailers get stock in.