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SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review

SAPPHIRE's new custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT is here: faster GPU clocks, 8GB of GDDR6 memory now at 17.5Gbps, and more.

@anthony256
Published May 17, 2022 10:27 AM CDT
Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE Technology (11319-01-20G)
TweakTown's Rating: 90%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

SAPPHIRE's new NITRO+ RX 6650 XT won't blow your socks off, but man it'll game all day and night and you won't even notice. It's silent AF, and its backplate looks mean AF. Nice work, SAPPHIRE.

Introduction

SAPPHIRE impressed with its new flagship custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE graphics card, and now it's time for the lowest-end member of the RDNA 2 GPU refresh: the NITRO+ RX 6650 XT Gaming OC graphics card.

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VIEW GALLERY - 52 IMAGES

The new SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT Gaming OC is a 1080p and 1440p GPU, rocking SAPPHIRE's cool "wave fin" heat sink design, and a V-shaped notch directly over the GPU that the company says will "accelerate and centralize the air flow".

SAPPHIRE includes a Dual BIOS on its NITRO+ RX 6650 XT Gaming OC graphics card, giving you access to this through their in-house TriXX software (which lets you overclock the card easily, and more). As for the card, AMD has boosted up the GPU clocks on the Navi GPU as well as boosted up the 8GB of GDDR6 memory to 17.5Gbps (up from 16Gbps on the RX 6600 XT).

Let's Talk Price

AMD initially started the RDNA 2 refresh GPU party with higher "starting from" $1299 pricing on the new flagship Radeon RX 6950 XT... but that was quickly changed to "starting from" $1099. This is $100 more than the $999 launch price of the Radeon RX 6900 XT.

  • AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT (8GB): starting from $399
  • AMD Radeon RX 6750 XT (12GB): starting from $549
  • AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT (16GB): starting from $1099

The company is lucking out with the stars aligning for GPU prices to drop just as they're refreshing their RDNA 2-based GPUs.

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
Buy at Amazon

Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$414.00$414.00$414.00
* Prices last scanned on 8/17/2022 at 9:06 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

AMD Software Updates

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 918 | TweakTown.com

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

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 919 | TweakTown.com

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

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 920 | TweakTown.com

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 6650 XT Tech Specs

The reference specs of the Radeon RX 6650 XT have it packing the Navi 23 GPU with 11.1 billion transistors, with higher GPU clocks than the flagship Radeon RX 6950 XT. We're looking at "reference" Game GPU clocks of up to 2410MHz and Boost GPU clocks of up to 2635MHz -- but there's a decent OC squeeze out of the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X.

  • Radeon RX 6950 XT: 16GB of GDDR6 memory @ 18Gbps on a 256-bit memory interface + 128MB of Infinity Cache (335W)
  • Radeon RX 6750 XT: 12GB of GDDR6 memory @ 18Gbps on a 192-bit memory interface + 96MB of Infinity Cache (250W)
  • Radeon RX 6650 XT: 8GB of GDDR6 memory @ 17.5Gbps on a 128-bit memory interface + 32MB of Infinity Cache (180W)

AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT Tech Specs (Reference):

  • Transistors: 11.1 billion transistors
  • Die Size: 237mm2
  • Compute Units: 32
  • Ray Accelerators: 32
  • Stream Processors: 2048
  • Game GPU Clock: up to 2410MHz
  • Boost GPU Clock: up to 2635MHz
  • Peak Single Precision Performance: 10.79 TFLOPs
  • Peak Half Precision Performance: 21.59 TFLOPs
  • Peak Texture Fill-Rate: up to 337.3 GT/s
  • ROPs: 64
  • Peak Pixel Fill-Rate: 168.6 GP/s
  • AMD Infinity Cache: 32MB
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR6
  • Effective Memory Bandwidth w/AMD Infinity Cache (up to): 468.9GB/sec
  • Memory Interface: 128-bit
  • PCIe Interface: PCIe 4.0 x8
  • Board Power: 180W

Detailed Look

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SAPPHIRE keeps its retail packaging looking great from the front, but the back could do with some more work. I know it's just retail packaging, but I will say this for the rest of my days on this planet.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 503 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 504 | TweakTown.com

From the front the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RX 6650 XT Gaming OC looks great... it doesn't look like a cheap cad, and man that backplate. SAPPHIRE... that's how you do it on a lower-end card... MSI, take note. I didn't like the backplate on MSI's custom Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X, but SAPPHIRE nails it here.

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I don't want to see the next-gen GPUs having chunky, beyond dual-slot cooling designs for their lower-end and mid-range cards. This is too thick.

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You need a single 8-pin PCIe power connector to get it up and running.

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The usual display connectivity here, folks: 1 x HDMI 2.1 and 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 connectors that can all do 4K120.

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.

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SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 602 | TweakTown.com

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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SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 226 | TweakTown.com

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

The new Radeon RX 6650 XT spits out a respectable 72FPS average at 1080p in a gorgeous game like Cyberpunk 2077, adding on another 4FPS (so... not much at all) over the Radeon RX 6600 XT. Interestingly, the mobile-focused NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU is 5FPS faster here.

Moving onto Forza Horizon 5, we've got 81FPS average... just 5FPS over the RX 6600 XT. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is friendly towards Radeon, with another 6FPS (93FPS vs 87FPS) over the RX 6600 XT.

If you've got a high refresh rate monitor and play esports-type games like Overwatch, CS:GO, League of Legends, and more then you're in good hands here if you wanted the cheapest of the new RDNA 2 graphics cards. Not bad, but not great... not in 2022, and not with a mid-kicker refresh GPU.

Benchmarks - 1440p

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

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Performance Thoughts

I wouldn't recommend the Radeon RX 6650 XT for 1440p gaming, but it's not totally useless at 2560 x 1440 either. You can still play games like Cyberpunk 2077 better than consoles... 1440p at 43FPS is pretty damn good. If you put it up against the previous-gen Radeon VII, which is identical: 43FPS.

Interestingly, the new lower-end Radeon RX 6650 XT vs the Radeon VII is a battle the new lower-end Navi 23 wins. Great job there, AMD!

Forza Horizon 5 can be enjoyed at over 60FPS at 1440p on the Radeon RX 6650 XT, another 5FPS over the RX 6600 XT... while Shadow of the Tomb Raider can be enjoyed at over 100FPS average at 1440p (107FPS) versus the 95FPS on the RX 6600 XT.

Benchmarks - 4K

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

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Performance Thoughts

I definitely do NOT recommend the Radeon RX 6650 XT for 4K gaming, but like 1440p... it's not useless at 4K, either.

Cyberpunk 2077 drops into the deep, dark depths of 18FPS average... but Forza Horizon 5 can be sped through at 47FPS average at 4K. That's a fair effort, so too is Shadow of the Tomb Raider very close to 60FPS average (53FPS average) up from the 46FPS on the RX 6600 XT.

Power Consumption & Temps

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 901 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 902 | TweakTown.com

What's Hot, What's Not

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 505 | TweakTown.com

What's Hot

  • 5-10% faster than Radeon RX 6600 XT: I mean you can't complain, but you also can't brag... there's not much to do here in terms of performance. AMD is adding 5-10% more performance to its Radeon RX 6650 XT over the RX 6600 XT, better than nothing.
  • AMAZING thermals, SUPER silent: SAPPHIRE keeps the Navi GPU nice and cool here, with 63C temps on the GPU under gaming + benchmarking loads. But get this... that's with the fans at UNDER 1000RPM, at just 26% or so. This is freaking incredible, SAPPHIRE.
  • 1080p gaming: AMD's new Radeon RX 6650 XT is destined for 1080p gaming, where you'll enjoy most AAA titles at 60FPS+ with some adjustments to visual detail, and 120FPS+ in esports titles for high refresh rate gaming monitors and TVs.
  • Higher GPU clocks: It's cool to see the Radeon RX 6650 XT hitting 2700MHz GPU clocks, with some room to move when it comes to overclocking, too.
  • 8GB GDDR6 memory, now @ 17.5Gbps: AMD has equipped the refreshed Radeon RX 6650 XT with the same 8GB of GDDR6, but now it's faster: at 17.5Gbps.

What's Not

  • Weird release: It has been a weird release, to say the least. Not SAPPHIRE's fault at all, that's on AMD.

Final Thoughts

SAPPHIRE's new custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT Gaming OC is a fine addition to the NITRO+ family, with the new Navi 24 GPU and faster 8GB of GDDR6 memory now at 17.5Gbps.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING OC Review 508 | TweakTown.com

The cooling system keeps things under control, so you can be benching, gaming, or even crypto mining all day and night long and not worry. 1080p and 1440p gamers will feel comfortable with their purchase, where you're hitting 60FPS+ in AAA titles, and 120FPS+ in esports-style games like Overwatch, League of Legends, Warcraft, CS:GO, and many others.

SAPPHIRE does have one big trick up its sleeve over its competitors: SAPPHIRE TriXX software. There's a decent amount of OC headroom on this card, but it's not like you'll be squeezing out 20% more performance... but another 5-10% performance on top of the 5-10% more performance you've got over the RX 6600 XT... that's not bad at all.

Wrapping up, SAPPHIRE's new custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6650 XT Gaming OC graphics card is a mighty fine 1080p (and even 1440p) gaming GPU. Price-wise it might not be the best, but I could spend 3/4 of these reviews bitching about the price... that's out of SAPPHIRE's control. What SAPPHIRE controls here, it does well -- as always, really.

Performance

90%

Quality

90%

Features

90%

Value

N/A

Overall

90%

The Bottom Line

SAPPHIRE's new NITRO+ RX 6650 XT won't blow your socks off, but man it'll game all day and night and you won't even notice. It's silent AF, and its backplate looks mean AF. Nice work, SAPPHIRE.

TweakTown award
90%

Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$414.00$414.00$414.00
* Prices last scanned on 8/17/2022 at 9:06 pm 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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