SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE OC Edition Review

SAPPHIRE's custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE Gaming OC is here, with a tweaked design, Navi 21 XTXH GPU, and 18Gbps GDDR6.

@anthony256
Published Tue, May 10 2022 7:46 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE (11317-04-20G)

Introduction

AMD has finally launched its new flagship Radeon RX 6950 XT graphics card, and with it, SAPPHIRE is rolling out a fresh new member of its NITRO+ family of Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs with the custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card.

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VIEW GALLERY - 73 IMAGES

The new SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE rocks a beautiful white + silver design, with a gorgeous backplate that blows away the lazy backplate work MSI did on its custom RX 6950 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card. SAPPHIRE really tops it off with RGB lighting, so it looks top notch inside of your gaming PC.

It's a triple-fan card that rocks the highly-binned Navi 21 XTXH GPU, a higher TDP, and faster 18Gbps bandwidth on the 16GB of GDDR6. It's the second-best custom Radeon RX 6950 XT that SAPPHIRE makes, only under the liquid-cooled TOXIC RX 6950 XT LC graphics card. It's the best air-cooled RX 6950 XT that SAPPHIRE has, and it kicks ass.

Here's what SAPPHIRE is launching today, with MSRP on the cards:

  • SAPPHIRE TOXIC RADEON RX 6950 XT LE OC 16GB (11317-01-20G) - $1,299
  • SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 6950 XT PURE GAMING OC 16GB (11317-04-20G) - $1,249
  • SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 6750 XT OC 12GB (11318-01-20G) - $619
  • SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 6650 XT OC 8GB (11319-01-20G) - $449
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Buy at Amazon

Sapphire Technology Sapphire Toxic Radeon AMD RX 6900 XT 16GB

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1277.97$1277.97$1699.59
* Prices last scanned on 5/19/2022 at 1:24 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

AMD Software Updates

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AMD is pushing out a great set of performance improvements, new technologies, and more into its new Radeon GPU drivers. I was using the Adrenalin v22.10 beta drivers for the review, but there will be new drivers out that will include these updates shortly.

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 2.0

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AMD reiterates that there are 80+ games with FSR 1.0 support so far.

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Inside, you'll get support for FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 2.0 technology, where the first game out of the gate to support FSR 2.0 being DEATHLOOP by Arkane Studios and Bethesda. The update for that will drop on May 12, while FSR 2.0 is coming to other games in the near future.

FSR 2.0 is coming soon to Asterigos, Delysium, EVE Online, Farming Simulator 22, Forspoken, Grounded, Microsoft Flight Simulator, NiShuiHan, Perfect World Remake, Swordsman Remake, and Unknown 9: Awakening.

AMD Radeon Super Resolution (RSR)

The introduction of AMD's new Radeon Super Resolution (RSR) technology is here with the latest drivers, coinciding with the launch of the new RDNA 2 refresh GPUs. RSR uses all of the abilities that AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is capable of, and puts it into the driver to offer free performance uplifts across thousands and thousands of games.

RX 6950 XT Tech Specs

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SAPPHIRE's new custom NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE OC Edition graphics card is their new flagship GPU, under the TOXIC RX 6950 XT LC (packing a bulky AIO cooler). We have OC BIOS Boost Clock of up to 2435MHz and Game Clocks of up to 2226MHz, with the board and the cooler capable of handling 450W.

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Underneath the card we have SAPPHIRE's usual high-end cooling technology, with the new NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE rocking 6 composite heat pipes, a 14-layer 2oz High TG PCB, second-gen "Angular Velocity Hybrid Fan" with two ball bearings, and of course -- ARGB lighting.

There's also a chunky -- but I must add, a rather light -- heat sink across the entire card. SAPPHIRE covers the VRM and memory, with a die-casted aluminum-magnesium alloy frame. There's a Dual BIOS, and tweaking through SAPPHIRE's in-house TriXX software.

Detailed Look

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SAPPHIRE is rolling out some new retail packaging for its NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card, with white + yellow + grey retail packaging that will stand out from the crowd. I'd like to see SAPPHIRE use the back of the box for something... I don't know... more? It feels like wasted space on the back.

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We have a triple-fan cooler on the front, with a white + grey style on the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE. It looks great from the front, and even better once it's installed into your PC with its own RGB lighting, and RGB lighting inside of your PC reflecting off of it.

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SAPPHIRE's new NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE has the best backplate out of the two RX 6950 XT cards I have, the other being the MSI RX 6950 XT GAMING X TRIO. MSI wasn't even trying with the backplate on their new flagship card, but SAPPHIRE... knocked it out of the park here.

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It's a thick boi, that's for sure... nearly a triple-slot beast, but it is a super-light, near-triple-slot beast. You can see the elaborate heat sinks that SAPPHIRE is using on the card, running over the Navi 21 XTXH GPU and VRMs. Beautiful.

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You will need 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors as well as a single 6-pin PCIe power connector to get the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card up and running.

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There's the usual display connectivity here: 1 x HDMI 2.1 and 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 connectors, all capable of 4K 120Hz+ and 8K 60Hz depending on your display.

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See what I mean, when the card is inside of your system -- in my case, the amazing Allied M.O.A.B.-I gaming PC.

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SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE OC Edition Review 525 | TweakTown.com

Test System Specs

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Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

The biggest upgrade to the GPU testbed is the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor, offering 12 cores and 24 threads of Zen 3-powered CPU grunt at up to 4.8GHz.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE OC Edition Review 601 | TweakTown.com
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That's plenty of CPU power and offers a great upgrade over the Ryzen 7 3800X that I was using previously.

I will be upgrading this system in a few months, and maybe running it side-by-side with the new Alder Lake-powered Intel Core i9-12900K processor. I'm using one inside of the Allied M.O.A.B.-I gaming PC that I reviewed a few months ago, and man the 12900K is like the Godzilla of CPUs.

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Sabrent is the most recent partner of mine to help build out my systems, sending me oodles of the fastest NVMe M.2 SSDs on the planet. I'm using Sabrent's flagship Rocket 4 Plus 4TB M.2 SSDs which offers 7GB/sec+ reads and writes with a huge 4TB of capacity.

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ASUS has been a tight partner of mine for a few years now, providing their huge 43-inch 4K 120Hz gaming monitors for my benchmarking and gaming needs. I'm using two of them at the moment, the ROG Strix XG438Q and the ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors.

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Benchmarks - Synthetic

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Benchmarks - 1080p

Note: All games run on Ultra/Maxed Out visual settings, motion blur disabled, V-Sync disabled.

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Performance Thoughts

Right out of the gate, the new Radeon RX 6950 XT offers leading performance in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p with a huge 144FPS average. This beats out everything on the list, but don't worry -- this is just at 1080p -- at 4K the GeForce RTX 30 series reigns supreme in Cyberpunk 2077.

You're driving over 123FPS average at 1080p in Forza Horizon 5, more than enough to enjoy on a super-fast 120Hz monitor or TV. This puts it above the GeForce RTX 3080, and above the Radeon RX 6900 XT (of course) while the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti is still far 11FPS superior.

Moving onto Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, we have 72FPS average at 1080p with the Radeon RX 6950 XT... impressive, as that keeps up with the GeForce RTX 3080 (NVIDIA excels in Metro). We have an additional 10%+ performance over the RX 6900 XT here, too.

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla sees AMD on top with its new flagship Radeon RX 6950 XT, pushing a huge 145FPS average at 1080p -- 10FPS over the RX 6900 XT.

Benchmarks - 1440p

Note: All games run on Ultra/Maxed Out visual settings, motion blur disabled, V-Sync disabled.

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Performance Thoughts

Turning up the resolution to 2560 x 1440, we see the Radeon RX 6950 XT dropping under the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p -- the RX 6950 XT with 93FPS (10FPS faster than the RX 6900 XT) -- while there's 97FPS average out of the RTX 3090 Ti here.

You've got another 5FPS average from the Radeon RX 6950 XT in Forza Horizon 5 at 1440p over the RX 6900 XT, the same 104FPS average as the GeForce RTX 3080. There's also another 5FPS average from Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition on the RX 6950 XT over the RX 6900 XT, and 1FPS under the RTX 3080.

117FPS average in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, too... 9FPS above the RX 6900 XT and 22FPS over the RTX 3090. Kick ass stuff here, AMD. If you're gaming with esports titles like Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League and others, you'll easily enjoy 120FPS+ on high refresh rate displays.

Benchmarks - 4K

Note: All games run on Ultra/Maxed Out visual settings, motion blur disabled, V-Sync disabled.

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Performance Thoughts

Things aren't so rosy at 4K for the Radeon RX 6950 XT with NVIDIA's higher-end GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs -- the GeForce RTX 3080 12GB LHR, RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 3090, and RTX 3090 Ti -- beating the best Navi GPU you can buy in Cyberpunk 2077.

The same goes for Forza Horizon 5, except the GeForce RTX 3080 also joins that smack down list -- the same goes for Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition. AMD-friendly Assassin's Creed: Valhalla sees the Radeon RX 6950 XT stomping everything NVIDIA has by a longshot, with 117FPS average... up from the 108FPS average on the RX 6900 XT and 99FPS average (18FPS higher!) than the new flagship RTX 3090 Ti.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of War see AMD's new flagship Radeon RX 6950 XT graphics card is only toppled by the RTX 3090 Ti at 4K in these two games.

Power Consumption & Temps

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What's Hot, What's Not

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What's Hot

  • SAPPHIRE's new PULSE style: Hey SAPPHIRE, I'm really loving the look of your new NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card. The white look... at first... doesn't seem appealing, but then you go over the entire card and it's a thing of beauty.
  • Better than the Radeon RX 6900 XT: The new Radeon RX 6950 XT beats the Radeon RX 6900 XT across the board, and while it's only by a few FPS... it matters. The Radeon RX 6950 XT is now the fastest Radeon GPU on the market, until RDNA 3 is unleashed.
  • Faster GDDR6 memory @ 18Gbps: AMD has faster GDDR6 memory on all of its Radeon RX 6000 series GPU refresh cards, with 18Gbps of bandwidth -- up from 16Gbps on the RX 6900 XT -- on the new Radeon RX 6950 XT. It helps in higher-res 4K gaming, and games that lean on high memory bandwidth, but you probably couldn't tell in a blind test between 16/18Gbps.
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  • Higher TDP: AMD is kicking up the TDP on the Radeon RX 6950 XT, with MSI allowing for up to 370W to flow through the card... up from 335W default TDP on the RX 6950 XT... and 300W default TDP on the RX 6900 XT.
  • RDNA 3 is only 6 months away: This is actually good news... if you're skipping over the Radeon RX 6950 XT because you purchased -- let's say an RX 6800 XT or RX 6900 XT -- then you've got around 6 more months (or less) for the RDNA 3 launch. The new RX 6950 XT is a stop gap between now and then... no more flagship Radeon GPUs until Navi 31.

What's Not

  • Still can't beat GeForce RTX 3090 Ti: Yeah, the Radeon RX 6950 XT isn't here to compete against, let alone beat the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti. It can come close and beat the RTX 3090, but NVIDIA pulled out all the stops with its RTX 3090 Ti and Big Navi can't topple it.
  • RDNA 3 is still 6 months away: Until RDNA 3 that is... unfortunately it's 6 more months or so away.

Final Thoughts

SAPPHIRE really nailed it with the new NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card, as it offers the maximum you'll squeeze out of the Radeon RX 6950 XT, but the company does it in their own (and new) style.

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AMD will not be releasing any further RDNA 2-powered Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs before it unleashes its next-gen RDNA 3 architecture later this year, which should be led by the new flagship Navi 31 GPU. If you skipped over the Radeon RX 6900 XT... or you've been waiting for the prices to drop... then you might be here at the right time for a new Radeon GPU purchase.

SAPPHIRE's new custom NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE is a great card, with the company pushing into a new direction with its "PURE" variant. I did ask for the TOXIC RX 6950 XT LC after the NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE, but SAPPHIRE isn't sampling that, unfortunately. The air-cooled variant is still hella good, and I think it's a good contrast to the TOXIC style: white + grey, and it looks slick.

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SAPPHIRE is charging $1299 for the NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE, if you can find it at that price, and depending on when you buy it. But at the time of writing -- May 10, 2022 -- $1299 is what SAPPHIRE has stamped as the MSRP on this SKU.

AMD launched the Radeon RX 6900 XT for $999, and has a "starting price" for its new Radeon RX 6950 XT at $1099... so you're paying $200 more here out of the gate for the custom SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card. Is it worth it? Well, it beats the RX 6900 XT... and it looks awesome... so if you are all good to go Team Red, you won't regret this purchase.

Performance

90%

Quality

95%

Features

90%

Value

95%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

SAPPHIRE's new NITRO+ RX 6950 XT PURE is a great-looking card, so if you've got a white-themed gaming PC and need a new Radeon GPU... you need this card.

TweakTown award
93%

Sapphire Technology Sapphire Toxic Radeon AMD RX 6900 XT 16GB

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1277.97$1277.97$1699.59
* Prices last scanned on 5/19/2022 at 1:24 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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