Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review

Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review

AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 Series launched in November with the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT, and the Big Navi promise was fulfilled on December 8 with the launch of the 80-CU RX 6900 XT. These cards, like so many tech things this year, are only available for moments at a time – and it helps to have a physical location (i.e. Microcenter) nearby if you actually want to buy one.

While AMD remains committed to the reference design for the time being, AIB (add-in board) partners have their own ideas, of course, and Sapphire is no exception. We last looked at a Sapphire design at the launch of the RX 5600 XT, but the card in question today has more in common with the NITRO+ Radeon RX 5700 XT reviewed back in September 2019.

What we have for your inspection is another NITRO+ offering, this time featuring AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 GPU – as well as some new features exclusive to the RX 6000 series from Sapphire.

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The Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800, pictured next to a plant

Card Features

Here is the extensive list of features for the NITRO+ RX 6800 from the manufacturer:

Explore all the incredible features that come with the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Graphic Card. We’ve split our features into 3 categories so you can easily see all the features we pride ourselves in designing to create the best gaming experience possible for you.

COOLTECH – Our superior cooling technology to keep your temperatures low at a high framerate

  • *NEW for RX 6000 Series* Hybrid Fan Blade
  • *NEW for RX 6000 Series* WAVE Fin design
  • *NEW for RX 6000 Series* V-Shape Fin Design for GPU Cooling
  • *NEW for RX 6000 Series* Integrated Cooling Module
  • Intelligent Fan Control
  • Precision Fan Control
  • Tri-X Cooling Technology

DNA – Our core parts that elevate the life of our products through quality, robustness & reliability

  • Backplate (Tough Metal Backplate)
  • Two-Ball Bearing
  • Fan Quick Connect
  • Fuse Protection
  • Dual BIOS

PLUS – All of the extra features that make our SAPPHIRE Boards so special and unique

  • TriXX Supported
  • TriXX Boost
  • Software BIOS Switch
  • Max Boost
  • Power Design
  • ARGB LED Logo, Lightstrip & Backplate Logo
  • Optional Fan Glow ARGB  support
  • NITRO Glow
  • ARGB Audio Visualization
  • Fan Check
  • Free Flow
Product Specifications
  • GPU:
    • Radeon RX 6800 Graphics
    • 7nm GPU
    • RDNA 2 Architecture
  • Engine Clock:
    • Boost Clock: Up to 2190 MHz
    • Game Clock: Up to 1980 MHz
    • Game Clock is the expected GPU clock when running typical gaming applications, set to typical TGP(Total Graphics Power). Actual individual game clock results may vary
  • Stream Processors: 3840
  • Infinity Cache: 128MB
  • Ray Accelerators: 60
  • Memory Size/Bus: 16GB GDDR6
  • Memory Clock: 16 Gbps Effective
  • Interface: PCI-Express 4.0
  • Displays: Maximum 4 Displays
  • Output:
    • 1x HDMI
    • 3x DisplayPort
  • Resolution:
    • HDMI: 7680×4320
    • DisplayPort 1.4: 7680×4320
  • BIOS Support: Dual UEFI
  • Game Index: 4K
  • Cooling: 3 Fans
  • Form Factor: 2.7 slot, ATX
  • Dimension: 310.5(L)X 134.2(W)X 55.2 (H)mm
  • Power Consumption: 290W
  • OS: Linux, Windows 7*, Windows 10, and Windows 8.1. 64-bit operating system required
    • *Windows 7 does not support all features including but not limited to Hardware Raytracing
  • Sapphire Features
    • Dual BIOS
    • Max Boost
    • TriXX Software Switch
    • Premium Digital Power Design
    • Fuse Protection
    • Tri-X Cooling Technology
    • Intelligent Fan Control
    • Precision Fan Control
    • Backplate with ARGB
    • Two-Ball Bearing Fans
    • Hybrid Fan Blade
    • Wave Fin Design
    • V Shape Fin Design for GPU Cooling
    • Integrated Cooling Module
    • TriXX Supported
    • Fan Check
    • Fan Quick Connect
    • TriXX Boost
    • NITRO Glow
    • External RGB LED MB Synchronization
  • System Requirements:
    • Minimum 750 Watt Power Supply
    • 2 x 8-pin Power Connector
    • PCI Express based PC required with one x16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard
    • Minimum 8GB of system memory, 16GB recommended

Approximately $639 – $699 USD

Manufacturer Description

“The SAPPHIRE NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 displays powerhouse 4K gaming performance with vivid visuals for an elevated experience. The all-new innovative Wave Fin Design working in tandem with our V-Shape Fin Design for GPU Cooling reduces wind friction and centralizes airflow for optimal heat dissipation and a virtually silent system. Cutting edge Memory & VRM Cooling with Heat-Pipes ensures you can push your performance to new limits while keeping the NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 components icy cool. The brand new Hybrid Fan Design combines the tranquility and strong air pressure features that exhibit ultimate levels of downward air pressure through the fan while keeping fan noise low. Incredible ARGB Lighting across the graphics card using our SAPPHIRE TriXX software fused with beautiful aesthetic styling will ensure the NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 is a stunning addition to every enthusiast gamer’s PC. NITRO Charge your PC with the NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 and boost your gaming experience to the next level!”

Card Design

This new NITRO+ card design is similar at first glance to the last one we looked at, with three large fans over a sizeable heatsink.

Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 17

The features of this cooler and its unique fans are listed above for your reference. As to aesthetics, the design is fairly conservative – until you get to the RGB light bar along the top edge of the cooler, as well as a lighted logo on the backplate. As to dimensions, it is a “2.7 slot” card measuring 310.5 mm / 12.22 inches long, 134.2 mm / 5.28 inches tall, and 55.2 mm / 2.17 inches thick.

Power is supplied by a pair of standard 8-pin PCIe connectors, and display outputs include a trio of DisplayPort along with one HDMI. There is also a BIOS selector switch along the top edge near the backplate, and this offers three positions: performance, quiet, and software controlled (toggled via Sapphire’s TRIXX app, and in performance mode by default).


Without any tweaked settings or overclocking, the NITRO+ does offer a bit of a boost over the reference design RX 6800 reviewed at launch. We are talking about gains of 1 – 3 FPS, but still.

DiRT 5 showed the largest improvement, and we’ll start with this well-optimized title:

Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 22
Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 23

At both 2560×1440 and 3840×2160 the NITRO+ RX 6800 provided a 3 FPS performance increase over the reference card in DiRT 5, but this was the best result for the card in its “out of the box” state (performance mode, no manual OC).

As you will see from the sample of benchmark results below, 1 – 2 FPS was a more common improvement over our AMD sample.

Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 24
Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 25
Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 26
Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 27
Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 28

There you have it. While the gains were not earth-shattering, Sapphire’s NITRO+ managed to offer performance slightly above our AMD-provided reference sample, and at noise levels I would describe as miniscule.

We explore GPU clocks, power draw, temps, and noise next.

GPU Clocks, Power, Temps, and Noise

Why talk about this stuff when I could just show a busy graph, so packed with GPU-Z logging info that it won’t be immediately apparent what any of it means?

Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 29

Here’s a breakdown of the results:

  • GPU clocks topped out at 2269 Mhz
  • GPU chip power topped out at 219 W (meaning memory and VRM usage was not recorded by GPU-Z)
  • GPU temps hit 75 °C, with the GPU Hot Spot temp hitting 90 °C
  • Fan speeds hit a high of 1554 RPM under load (47%) but adjusted down to ~1200 RPM during each run

Thermals were pretty much in keeping with our reference card, though the 75 °C GPU result was a bit under the 77 °C we recorded with that AMD sample (the 90 °C Hot Spot result was the same with both cards).

With a sound pressure meter positioned 12 inches from the leading edge of the card in an open case I recorded just 33.2 dBA (using the default BIOS position) during a series of benchmark runs. Cranking up the fans manually by altering the profile in the Radeon software resulted in readings of 39.3 dBA with the fans at 50% and 47.6 dBA at 75%.

As with the reference card there was some electrical component noise, but nothing that I found distracting. Inside a case it would be minimal, and inaudible over CPU/case fan noise.


Sapphire’s NITRO+ version of AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 offers very good performance, ARGB-infused aesthetics, and very low noise out of the box. The efficient cooling design allows for slightly lower thermals than we recorded with AMD’s reference design with a conservative default profile, and some quick fan curve tweaking can produce even lower temps under load.

Normally we would focus quite a bit on value here, but in this climate the availability of a GPU at any price is so rare that MSRP seems like a fantasy. A listing for the NITRO+ 6800 can be found on Newegg for $699.99, and while this is considerably above the theoretical AMD launch price of $579 we are talking about products you can’t actually buy, so it’s an academic argument anyhow.

Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 Review - Graphics Cards 30

That said, at the current price level (which is always subject to change at retail) I have a hard time with this card as passes the theoretical price level of a stock Radeon RX 6800 XT, but, again, those don’t exist at the $649 MSRP (or any price, really) right now. For that matter no $579 RX 6800 cards exist, either. I think quite a few people who have been waiting to buy a RX 6000 card would be happy with this NITRO+ offering, in either the RX 6800 or RX 6800 XT version, even WITH a $120 premium attached.

At some point in the future, when these graphics cards are readily available and we see pricing come down a bit, this NITRO+ card will take its place as a solid alternative to the AMD reference design. The ARGB-infused style, added flexibility of a switchable BIOS, and the ultra-quiet operation under load all help make a case for a premium price tag.

PC Perspective Silver Award

Review Disclosures

This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.

How Product Was Obtained

The graphics card was on loan from SAPPHIRE for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The graphics card will be returned to SAPPHIRE.

Company Involvement

SAPPHIRE provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.

PC Perspective Compensation

Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by SAPPHIRE for this review.

Advertising Disclosure

SAPPHIRE has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.

Affiliate Links

If this article contains affiliate links to online retailers, PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases made through those links.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.


  1. BigTed

    The last Sapphire card I had was AGP with an image of a really badly rendered semi-naked robot woman on the cooler. Nice to see their design team have upped their game. I’m also glad tempered glass side panels weren’t a thing then.

    Any insider knowledge for normal availability on this stuff? My bets on March.

  2. razor512

    Just because stores are ignoring MSRP, doesn’t mean that it should be ignored in a review. What they are doing is the equivalent of taking a Honda Civic,, installing an improved air intake, and then pricing it like a Tesla model S.


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