Sapphire Radeon RX 7800 XT Nitro+ review

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Final words and conclusion

Final words

Upon examination of the NITRO+, its build quality and specifications are evident. The NITRO+ features an elevated power budget and clock speed, positioning it with a faster performance compared to its contemporaries. Regarding the RX 7800 XT, benchmarking indicates an average performance advantage of 3% for the NITRO+. Both the Radeon RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT graphics cards are recent introductions specifically for my favourite monitor resolution,the WQHD monitor range. Both cards feature a notable shader count and VRAM buffers when evaluating their specifications. They are strategically positioned between the GeForce 4060 Ti and RTX 4070, aiming to blend performance and cost-effectiveness. The tested 7800 XT I do seem to like a notch better overall, and it's just $50 more, so that would be an easy choice for men. The extra VRAM, wider memory bus and 13%-14% extra performance pretty much make the choice a no-brainer. The 7800 XT series does not present groundbreaking technological advancements but brings incremental improvements in raw performance. What I am saying, here is AMD is still a step behind in Raytracing performance and efficient adaptive supersampling techniques with the help of an AI assist. However, most people still do not care about the latter one and as such crave faster shader performance. And here these graphics cards definitely deliver. Notable features include AV1 compatibility, incorporation of the rDNA3 architecture, and updated monitor connectors, all of which enhance the overall user experience but really might not be compelling enough to switch away from NVIDIA. In terms of performance, the RX 7800 XT closely mirrors its 6800XT/6900 XT predecessors within this competitive market segment. Alternatives might offer distinct benefits, so potential buyers should assess their options carefully. 


The 7800 XT graphics cards offer proper rendering quality and capability suitable for mainstream to high-end gaming. Although it doesn't exhibit huge progression from its predecessors (6900 XT), it demonstrates enhanced raytracing performance. Designed primarily for gamers who prioritize a new monitor, the RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT also support QHD monitor resolutions. Within the RX 7000 series, the upgraded rasterizer engine overcomes former performance constraints, highlighting notable raw shader engine capabilities. While NVIDIA's Raytracing and DLSS3 technologies surpass AMD's FSR2 and upcoming FSR3, the RX 7700/7800 XT's performance with FSR2 is still noteworthy, and enabling FSR is recommended. However, based on frametime results, AMD appears to have potential improvements to make at the driver level, as some stuttering was observed.


Cooling & noise levels

Our test shows that gaming will get you an approximate volume level of 33 decibels (perf bios), rendering it relatively muffled. Moreover, the graphics card temperature is ~60 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, our utilization of FLIR imaging failed to unveil any worrisome observations. 



The Radeon RX 7800 XT is positioned as a gaming product intended for the high-end market and it consumes a fair amount of energy. When operating at maximum load, the reference edition draws approximately 250-275  Watts on average (total board power or TBP). This power consumption is directly linked to the amount of heat emitted by the GPU, which is situated within an enclosed casing.

Coil whine

Every graphics card will inevitably produce a discernible buzzing sound known as coil whine when operating at high FPS. Is it bothersome? It becomes noticeable once you push the frame rates to extremely high levels. In a closed computer case, this noise tends to recede into the background. However, when the chassis is open, the coil whine or squeal becomes audible. Almost all graphics cards exhibit this phenomenon to some extent, particularly when operating at higher frame rates. Despite its presence, we have not noticed it enough to be a significant inconvenience.


The reference edition comes with a price tag of USD $499, which should be considered substantial for a device primarily used for playing PC games in Quad HD resolution. In the European Union, you must convert the currency and factor in the value-added tax, bringing the total to around 550 euros. Moreover, advanced AIB cards will be even more expensive. In this case for the NITRO+ OC  expect 529-549 USD for the card as tested today.


The card can be effectively tweaked with ease; however, AMD applied maximum values. One beneficial feature is the power limiter, allowing for a wattage increase of up to +15%. This serves as the initial and fastest option for tweaking. By utilizing this option, you can achieve enhanced performance while staying within the card's default power allocation. Additionally, the boost clock frequency can be set at a suitable 2800MHz, although it may dynamically fluctuate to approximately 2750 MHz due to variations in frequencies across different game titles. Furthermore, the memory can be optimized to operate at around 19 Gbps. When all these adjustments are combined, they result in approximately 4-5% additional performance gains in demanding GPU scenarios, measured relative to the baseline performance. You can add that to the factory tweak, so that's roughly 8% additional performance over reference. 



The NITRO+ model offers advanced specifications in the 7800 XT category. Upon examination, users will like its higher boost clock, which stands at 2,565 MHz, coupled with an increased energy allowance, positioning it as a highly efficient Radeon variant. Notably, the card operates quietly and provides optimal cooling. To harness the full potential of RDNA3, Sapphire has introduced two custom board variants, with the Nitro+ being the more advanced option. Of course, depending on budget and needs, the choice can fall either way (7700XT). The 7700 XT, however, at it's reference price of $449 is commendable, and the 7800 XT is preferred, but is priced at $499, remember these are starting prices and AIB product will be roughly $40 more expensive. That said, we had to wait far too long on these new AMD products, in the meantime, NVIDIA already has paved every little gap in the market. Next to that, AMD still does not have a suitable enough answer to their Raytracing performance and DLSS 2/3 and now even 3.5 capabilities. Each brand has its merits, though. By incorporating 64MB of L3 cache, AMD has effectively mitigated the memory bandwidth limitations (256-bit) and ensured suitable performance up to 2560x1440 resolutions. However, it's important to note that the L3 cache functions as a temporary workaround and may not address potential future issues arising from the constrained memory interfaces. Additionally, AMD's raytracing technology might not match the performance of its competitors, but it still offers enough use for a bit of RT-based fun. FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) can significantly enhance performance with games that support it. Nonetheless, it's paramount to recognize that "free" performance comes with potential compromises in image quality. Exploring this feature can be an enjoyable endeavour. It's also time for AMD to get FSR3 rolling. The latest indication for FSR3 now is Q1 2024. In summary, the Radeon RX 7800 XT series offers a proper QHD gaming experience with its emphasis on rasterized shading, including an additional L3 cache that greatly enhances performance at Full HD and QHD resolutions and CPU-bound games. The elevated asking price remains significant when considering the product's positioning. The products themselves perform well, look nice and remain relatively silent. Energy consumption is on the high side, and slowly but steadily, NVIDIA is advancing much faster concerning Raytracing/Tensor/AI-assisted workloads and solutions for gaming. For their next-gen product, AMD will need to step up on that big time as they're a noteworthy step behind. During the initial release, the availability of 7800 XT units is expected to be limited, making it challenging to secure one at its suggested retail price of $529-549. In the European market, the projected prices exceed 600+ EUR. This model has significant energy demands and caters to a niche market. While the Sapphire Nitro+ design introduces innovative features, the performance gain of this enhanced factory model is approximately 3-4% over the reference model. Those who prioritize silent operation and a refined design might find this variant more appealing than the standard model. Despite its commendable performance and aesthetics, its price point is significant.

- Hilbert, LOAD"*",8,1.

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