The Bottom Line
- + Best-performing RX 7900 XTX
- + STUNNING design, from front to back
- + RGB light bar FTW
- + DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity
- - None
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
SAPPHIRE's custom Radeon RX 7900 XTX series of graphics cards are the ones I've been waiting for... arriving on my doorstep yesterday, days after the custom XFX and nearly two weeks later than AMD's in-house Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card.
The new SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card is an absolute treasure, offering a truly stunning design and impressive thermal design that keeps the Navi 31 GPU and 24GB of GDDR6 memory nice and cool. It offers more performance than the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference and XFX Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics cards, becoming the fastest Radeon RX 7900 XTX that I've tested so far.
SAPPHIRE is using its new Pantheon+ cooling solution on the NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card, where the company is using an optimized composite heat pipe, angular Velocity fan blade, V-shaped fin module with wave fin, Vapor-X cooling technology, as well as a die-casted frame with VRM cooling, super-high thermal conductivity PCM, and super-high thermal conductivity thermal pad. SAPPHIRE takes care of you in terms of cooling the custom Navi 31-powered GPU.
SAPPHIRE is using a powerful 20-phase power design, with 1080A GPU power delivery that offers up to 28% more power over the reference AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card. The company is also touting high-performance conductive polymer aluminum capacitors and a 14-layer high TG PCB with 2 Oz copper. Very, very cool to see.
The new custom SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card also has dual BIOS goodness that can be tweaked through SAPPHIRE's in-house TriXX software, an L-shaped graphic card supporter so you don't need to worry about sag, assistive system fan control with external ARGB sync (with the optional cable included in the box) and quick connect fans with TriXX fan health check.
SAPPHIRE is charging a $100 premium over the $999 MSRP on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card, with the new NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card coming in at $1099.
AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card features the new RDNA 3 GPU architecture and flagship Navi 31 GPU. We have the world's first gaming chiplet GPU, with 5.3TB/sec of chiplet interconnect and up to 54% performance-per-watt uplifts over the previous-gen RDNA 2-based Navi 21 GPU.
The new flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX has 84 CUs based on the RDNA 3 GPU architecture, which works out to 5376 stream processors that have a Game Clock of up to 2.0GHz and Boost Clock of up to 2.4GHz. There's 80MB of second-generation Infinity Cache, 20GB of GDDR6 -- non-X, where NVIDIA uses the faster GDDR6X standard on its GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080 GPUs.
The 20GB of GDDR6 memory is spread out across a 320-bit memory bus which spits out 799GB/sec of memory bandwidth. AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XT reference graphics card requires just dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors, with a TDP (total board power) of 300W to 315W
SAPPHIRE's retail packaging for the NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card is kinda on the plain side, but once you open it up... the real fun begins. Let's dive right in.
From the front, the new custom SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card looks fantastic... the triple-fan cooler looks great, but once the card is turned around, the backplate gets my massive tick of approval. I'm a huge fan of backplates, with SAPPHIRE killing here.
We have a premium design here, but SAPPHIRE is using the "elegance of simplicity" here and it is a great mix.
It's a thick card, really thick... coming in at 3.5 slots, but the thermal system is doing a lot of work underneath. There's a wicked RGB light bar on the top of the card as well, joined by 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors which is an additional 8-pin PCIe power connector over AMD's reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card.
You can see all that thermal system from the bottom, with a similar design at the top and bottom from SAPPHIRE winning more points in my eyes. I'm loving the style choices here.
The 3 x 8-pin PCIe power configuration up close and personal.
On the back, we've got some changed I/O connectivity compared to the in-house AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card -- with SAPPHIRE, just like XFX -- ditching the USB-C connectivity for an HDMI 2.1 port with 2 x HDMI 2.1 ports and 2 x DisplayPort 2.1 ports on the back.
Test System Specs
I've recently upgraded my major GPU test bed for 2022, but I will be upgrading again soon, now that Intel has launched its new 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake" CPUs and Z790 motherboards, and AMD with its new Ryzen 7000 series "Zen 4" CPUs and X670E motherboards.
The new upgrades include the shift to the Intel Core i9-12900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, and 8TB of Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD goodness. Intel's flagship Core i9-12900K is a beast, with the Alder Lake CPU packing 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 8 Efficient cores (E-cores) at up to 5.2GHz.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
I've got that installed into the bigger-than-life ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is absolutely loaded to the brim with technologies and features that it houses everything you need. We're talking about one of the best-looking designs on a motherboard yet, PCIe 5.0 support, enthusiast-grade 10GbE networking, and oh-so-much more.
RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800
Sabrent helped out in a huge way by sending over 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory in the form of 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 modules of its new Sabrent Rocket DDR5 memory. The company also helped out in an even bigger way, supplying us with a gigantic and super-fast 8TB model of its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.
SSD: 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2
We're talking about 7.5GB/sec+ (7500MB/sec) from a single M.2 SSD, along with a gigantic 8TB of capacity. The 2TB drives aren't big enough for all of our game installs for GPU testing... the 4TB is much better, but the 8TB gives us room to move into 2023 without worrying about installing multiple games that are 200GB+ in size.
Some glory shots, of course.
Displays: ASUS ROG Strix 43-inch 4K 120Hz
ASUS has been a tight partner of TweakTown for many years, with the fine folks at ASUS Australia sending over their ROG Strix XG438Q and ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors for our GPU test benches. They're both capable of 4K 120Hz+ through their DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity.
I will be upgrading these in the near future, over to some DisplayPort 2.0-capable panels and some new HDMI 2.1-enabled 4K 165Hz panels in OLED form of course...given that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner, there has been no better time to upgrade your display or TV.
I've been working on this system for a while now, but now we're stretching its legs with the newly-released PC port of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered. Not just in 1080p or 1440p, not even in just 4K... but at 8K with a native resolution of 7680 x 4320. I've run through some of the very fastest GPU silicon on the planet.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: CORSAIR iCUE H150i ELITE LCD Display (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Sabrent Rocket 64GB DDR5-4800 (4 x 16GB) (F4-3600C18Q-32GTZN) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A1000G Gaming Power Supply 1000W (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame 2.0
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro x64 (buy from Amazon)
- Display: ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ (4K 120Hz) (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - Synthetic
Benchmarks - 1080p
Benchmarks - 1440p
Benchmarks - 4K
Temps & Power Consumption
SAPPHIRE is keeping things rather chilly with the NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card, with the Navi 31 GPU running at around 58C under benchmarking and gaming loads, while GPU hotspot temperatures sit at around 73C. This is with the fans at default speeds, and whisper quiet I might add.
What's Hot, What's Not
- The best-performing Radeon RX 7900 XTX so far: You'll get even more performance out of the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X over the reference RX 7900 XTX, where every single FPS counts.
- Utterly beautiful design by SAPPHIRE: SAPPHIRE has put some serious work into the aesthetic design of the NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card and it shows. It looks absolutely beautiful on its own, but even better once it's inside of your PC and the RGB light bar on the card is glowing. Beautiful stuff, SAPPHIRE!
- RDNA 3 GPU architecture: The next-gen RDNA 3 GPU architecture is finally here, featuring some rather technology spooling inside of it. We have the first gaming chiplet GPU design, 5.3TB/sec of chiplet interconnect, RDNA 3 CUs and RT + AI accelerators, and a huge up to 54% performance per watt uplift over the previous-gen RDNA 2 GPU architecture.
- First consumer GPU chiplet tech: Yeah, the first consumer chiplet GPU is pretty awesome to see from AMD.
- 24GB GDDR6 memory: You might not need 24GB of GDDR6 memory, but it's something AMD needed to do to keep up with the Joneses, and in this case, the Joneses are NVIDIA. 16GB would've been nice, 20GB would've sufficed, but 24GB is great to see.
There isn't much wrong with the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card, if there is... that's on AMD's side. SAPPHIRE has done an amazing job here, and it shows. Kudos!
SAPPHIRE has impressed me greatly this time around with their custom Navi 31-based NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card, where if you liked what you saw with the reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX, then you'll fall in love with the custom job SAPPHIRE has done.
Right from the start, the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card looks absolutely fantastic -- my favorite looking Radeon RX 7900 XTX so far -- with the design of the card pleasing to the eye, and the RGB light bar the cherry on top.
It's the best-performing Radeon RX 7900 XTX so far, with the GPU clock reaching the lofty heights of just a few MHz under 3.0GHz, without GPU temperatures breaching 60C during the heaviest of gaming loads. I played a bunch of Overwatch 2 on maxed-out settings at 4K, enjoying 120FPS and beyond on a 77-inch 4K 120Hz OLED TV, and it was an absolute joy on the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card.
Not only that, but even Warzone 2 maxed out without any AI upscaling help was screaming performance on the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card. I had Warzone 2 running at native 4K without any FSR help, with all of the graphical bells and whistles at max and -- once again -- enjoying 120FPS+ all day (and night) long.
The $100 premium over the in-house AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card is well worth it, you'd be silly to buy the reference RX 7900 XTX from AMD over SAPPHIRE's custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X graphics card.
SAPPHIRE, you've knocked it out of the park once again!
SAPPHIRE's new custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX OC Vapor-X shows their competitors how it's done. An absolute treasure from start to finish.