SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review

SAPPHIRE's custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 is another custom Big Navi card that offers stellar 1440p and 4K gaming performance.

@anthony256
Published Wed, Feb 17 2021 8:42 AM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE (11305-01-20G)

Introduction

SAPPHIRE has a trio of NITRO+ graphics cards with the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 that I have here to review today, the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 XT that I just reviewed, and the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6900 XT.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 503 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 75 IMAGES

The SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 sits below the Radeon RX 6800 XT but offers some value/performance benefits over the Radeon RX 6800 XT if you can find it, and can find it cheap enough. The cheaper NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 retains its 16GB GDDR6 memory, and still maintains kick ass 1440p and 4K gaming performance.

SAPPHIRE uses a triple-fan, 2.7-slot design for the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 and is factory overclocked. There's some OC headroom in the card for some manual OC tweaking, which I've got the results for in this review. You've got some side-by-side comparisons of the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 at stock, and with the maximum overclock that I could get from the card.

You should be buying this card for around $600-$650 but right now the price at the time of writing, was $1500 on Amazon. I'm not basing any of my opinion on the price of the card on that ridiculous pricing, as the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 stands on its own as a great graphics card.

Buy at Amazon

Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6800

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1795.99$1599.99-
* Prices last scanned on 2/27/2021 at 10:09 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Everything You Need to Know About RDNA 2

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 906 | TweakTown.com

AMD's new RDNA 2 architecture has more changes than any previous-gen GPU architecture I can remember from AMD (and even ATi) in the last 10+ years.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 908 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 910 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 913 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 912 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 911 | TweakTown.com

There's a lot to go over here, but we're looking at an enhanced compute unit, new visual pipeline featuring Ray Accelerators, and the all-new (and very exciting) Infinity Cache (which I'll go into on the next page. We're looking at a huge 1.54x higher performance-per-watt and 1.3x higher frequency at the same per-CU power -- impressive stuff, AMD.

Ray Accelerators

One of the largest new introductions in the new RDNA 2 architecture is the high-performance ray tracing acceleration architecture known as the Ray Accelerator. AMD doesn't have NVIDIA-beating ray tracing performance, but it's here in RDNA 2.

Each Ray Accelerator is capable of calculating up to 4 ray / box intersections, and 1 ray / triangle intersection every clock. This means the RDNA 2-based Ray Accelerators can efficiently calculate the intersections of the rays with the scene geometry as represented in a Bounding Volume Hierarchy, sorts them, and returns the information to the shaders for further scene traversal or result shading.

HDMI 2.1

This is another big deal -- HDMI 2.1 connectivity.

HDMI 2.1 ushers in the worlds of 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz through a single HDMI 2.1 cable to your flashy new TV or gaming monitor. Personally I own a new CX series LG OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 that drives its 4K 120Hz, so plugging my gaming PC into my TV can only be done a single way if I want 4K 120Hz -- which I kinda do.

The introduction of HDMI 2.1 on graphics cards began with NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 30 series, and continues with AMD's new Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. All 3 of the new Radeon RX 6000 series cards -- the Radeon RX 6900 XT (coming soon), the Radeon RX 6800 XT (review here) and Radeon RX 6800 (this review) all have HDMI 2.1 output.

Now this is where things get really interesting -- Infinity Cache, which provides some kick ass memory bandwidth even with it smaller 256-bit memory bus and slower GDDR6 memory.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 909 | TweakTown.com

NVIDIA might have a superior 320-bit memory bus, faster GDDR6X -- but it has less VRAM (10GB versus 16GB) and the Radeon RX 6800 XT still kicks ass against the GeForce RTX 3080 in all resolutions and situations. But in the right situation -- like when paired with a Zen 3 processor, like I've done preliminary with the Ryzen 9 5900X -- you can get in excess of 10% more performance when you add SAM (Smart Access Memory) into the equation.

The SAM results are as good as you see in these charts, and in some cases better -- it's an impressive thing to see, and I truly can't wait to see more from Smart Access Memory technology.

SAPPHIRE marketing

You can read all about the card on the official SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 website.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 810 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 811 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 812 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 813 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 814 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 815 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 816 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 817 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 818 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 819 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 820 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 821 | TweakTown.com

Detailed Look

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 501 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 502 | TweakTown.com

SAPPHIRE has used near-identical retail packaging on its NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 as it did with the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 XT, with some great artwork on the front and the usual: 4K gaming, 16GB GDDR6 memory, and PCIe 4.0 connectivity listed on the left and highlighting the AMD RDNA 2 architecture on the right.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 503 | TweakTown.com

I love the design of the card, with the triple-fan cooler looking nice and mean and keeping the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 nice and cool through your gaming binges or benchmarking runs.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 504 | TweakTown.com

I'm an even bigger fan of the backplate design that SAPPHIRE has gone with here, I think it looks magnificent -- even better when it has RGB lighting reflecting from your system (RAM, case fans, etc).

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 507 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 508 | TweakTown.com

You'll need 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors on the card.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 506 | TweakTown.com

Display I/O includes the usual 3 x DP 1.4 and 1 x HDMI 2.1 connectors.

Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

Sabrent sent over their huge Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD, which will be my new Games install SSD inside of my main test bed.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 1166 | TweakTown.com

I've got a new upgrade inside of my GPU test bed before my change to a next-gen test bed, where I will be preparing for NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere graphics cards and AMD's next-gen RDNA 2 graphics cards.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 1162 | TweakTown.com

Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 1165 | TweakTown.com

Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

I've recently upgraded my GPU test bed -- at least for now, until AMD's new Ryzen 9 5950X processor is unleashed then the final update for 2020 will happen and we'll be all good for RDNA 2 and future Ampere GPU releases. You can read my article here: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 201 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 222 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 211 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 224 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 101 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 102 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 103 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 104 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 105 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

Heaven benchmark

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 108 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 107 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 106 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1080p

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4014 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 309 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 310 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 111 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4006 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 304 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 305 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 120 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4013 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 303 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 114 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4002 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 302 | TweakTown.comSAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 301 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 117 | TweakTown.com

1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

SAPPHIRE's custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 is on par with the higher-end Radeon RX 6800 XT reference graphics card at 112FPS in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla at 1080p. That's impressive.

Shadow of War pumps away at 160FPS on the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 beating the reference Radeon RX 6800 when it's overclocked, and equaling the GeForce RTX 3090 as well. It loses to the Radeon RX 6800 XT in Metro Exodus but at the same time it is beating the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti here which is impressive.

Benchmarks - 1440p

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 110 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 119 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 113 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 116 | TweakTown.com

1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

The SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 pushes out 83-90FPS in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla at 1440p at stock/overclocked, which is just a shave away from the Radeon RX 6800 XT with 92FPS. Shadow of War sees the card getting close to the GeForce RTX 3080 at 1440p (just 2FPS away).

We have overr 60FPS in Metro Exodus which is more than enough to enjoy it at 1440p with maxed out graphics, while Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance is amazing as always on Big Navi with the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 pushing 165FPS at stock, and 178FPS overclocked.

Benchmarks - 4K

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 109 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 118 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 112 | TweakTown.com
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 115 | TweakTown.com

4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

Big Navi performance is surprising all the way through to 4K, with the custom SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 hitting 50FPS average in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla at stock -- but a surprising 57FPS average when overclocked. This is just 2FPS shy of the 59FPS that the flagship GeForce RTX 3090 is capable of... at 4K.

Shadow of War performance is impressive, with 88-95FPS average at 4K with stock/overclock which beats the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070 graphics cards. Metro Exodus at 4K is a hard one, but for the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 we still have 45-49FPS average. It's nearly able to match the Radeon RX 6800 XT with its 51FPS.

Overclocking

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 801 | TweakTown.com

Right out of the box the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 sample that I had in my hands was sitting at around 2290MHz, with the GPU sitting at 68C with the fans at 32% (1000RPM or so).

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 803 | TweakTown.com

Overclocked, my sample was hitting a wall of around 2530MHz or so while the GPU is down to just 52C with the fans at maximum. This provides a nice bump in performance that, in some cases, can bring the performance of the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 up to the levels of the higher-end Radeon RX 6800 XT.

Power Consumption & Temps

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 122 | TweakTown.com

SAPPHIRE has one of the coolest graphics cards I've tested, with the custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 running at just 45C with the fans cranked up to 100% -- and it's still chill even at stock, at just 50C under heavy benchmarking and gaming loads.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 121 | TweakTown.com

Inside of my AMD Ryzen 7 3800X test bed the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 sees the full system power consumption at around 340W or so, while overclocking adds another 20W topping that up to 360W total.

What's Hot, What's Not

What's Hot

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 505 | TweakTown.com
  • SAPPHIRE NITRO+ style: I'm a fan of the NITRO+ style and love the backplate design, I wish I could have it sitting right in the middle of my case facing the window on an angle -- just like in the shot above. I do wish there was a choice of RGB lighting underneath the backplate, but maybe next time.
  • Beats the RTX 3070 + RTX 2080 Ti: The reference Radeon RX 6800 kicks ass as it is, but the overclocked ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 really does some damage out of the box -- and then again when overclocked.
  • Only 50C under load, 45C with fans maxed out: That is an impressive feat for SAPPHIRE and the cooling technology used on the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800: operating at just 50C under load and 45C with the fans maxed out. This is thanks to some of the impressive things SAPPHIRE did under the hood with the cooler, and it's really paying off here.

What's Not

I guess I might as well mention the fact (again) that you can't buy these cards anywhere in the world (and this sentence might be wrong depending on when you see this, but at the time of writing it was nigh impossible).

Final Thoughts

SAPPHIRE offers a great custom Big Navi graphics card with its NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800, a solid choice if you didn't want -- or couldn't find the higher-end Radeon RX 6800 XT.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 Review 504 | TweakTown.com

There's some decent OC headroom to squeeze some additional FPS into your games, while the NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 has some great cooling that keeps temps -- and noise levels, down. The SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 also looks fantastic, with a great backplate that looks great with RGB lighting reflecting off of it in your case.

The SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 beats out the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and even the new GeForce RTX 3070, and when overclocked it can find itself trading blows with the Radeon RX 6800 XT and GeForce RTX 3080. Not bad, if you can find it.

SAPPHIRE fills out its NITRO+ family with the current Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, and Radeon RX 6900 XT. All of them are very similar in style, with the lowest of the bunch offering a great card for the money, it's just a pity that they're impossible to buy right now.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

90%

Quality

90%

Features

100%

Value

90%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

SAPPHIRE's custom NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 offers GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070 levels of performance all while looking great and staying quiet. Can't ask for more!

TweakTown award
93%

Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6800

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1795.99$1599.99-
* Prices last scanned on 2/27/2021 at 10:09 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

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.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles