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Sapphire R9 390X & 390 Nitro Review | Black Hole Tec

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Sapphire R9 390X & 390 Nitro Review

Submitted by Robbie Pyckhout on Tue, 06/28/2016 - 09:35




Introduction, features & showcase
Testing Methods
1080P Graphics Performance
4K Graphics Performance
Power Consumption & Overclocking
SAPPHIRE worked closely with AMD for years now, therefor they've always been one of the biggest partners of AMD on the graphics department. Once again, SAPPHIRE delivers an incredible R9 390(X) on a reasonable pricepoint of 353/299 euro including not only a very capable cooler, but also a slight overclock. The two graphics cards carry the codename 'Grenada' which is actually a finetuned Hawaii structure. Even now that AMD's newest graphics card, the RX480 is prepping for launch, we took our time to review these two GPUs in the meantime. Polaris certainly has alot to offer if all rumors are true, but how do these cards perform against their counterparts? In this case we're mainly talking about the GTX 980/970 and their predecessors (290(X)). How capable are they for real 4K gaming as they certainly boast enough VRAM memory. Aside from this, we also benched two R9 390s in crossfire to give you an idea about the scaling of these cards.

Specifications and Features

  Sapphire R9 390X Nitro
Sapphire R9 390 Nitro
AMD R9 290X AMD R9 290

Price (Euro)


299 353 N/A N/A
GPU Grenada Grenada Hawaii Hawaii
CUDA Cores 2816 2560 2816 2560
Clock Speed (MHz) 1080 1040 1000 947
Memory Interface Width 512-bit 512-bit 512-bit 512-bit
Memory Interface GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory Clock (MHz) 6000 6000 5000 5000
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 384 384 384 384
Typical Board Power (W) 275 275 275 275
Memory GDDR5 (MB) 8192 8192 4096 4096


SAPPHIRE R9 390(X) Nitro

As you can see is the R9 390(X) almost identical, except for the higher engine and memory clock speeds and additional VRAM, to the R9 290(X) and could be described as a rebrand from the older Hawaii series. SAPPHIRE's Nitro edition delivers a tweaked 390(X) straight out to box including 8GB of VRAM and a very nice looking thermal backplate. The Tri-X cooling design keeps everything cool under the hood. Intelligent fan control and two ball bearings on the fan spindles keep the noise down to an exceptable level. Besides, it also ensures a long life span of the fan design and intends to keep dust out. The 10mm heatpipe design is made to handle over 300W of GPU power. AMD's R9 390(X) offers support to all newest AMD features, like AMD LiquidVR, AMD's FreeSync Technology (cancelling out all stutters and screen tearing), DirectX 12, Eyefinity and of course the possibility to put two of them in Crossfire. SAPPHIRE has its own very effective overclocking tool which you can use to make custom fan profiles and give your card an even greater boost in performance.

Now, let's have a look at the packaging:

Clean package with a introduction to the product registration, installationguide, note from manufacturer, driver CD and an HDMI cable. Unlike other brands, SAPPHIRE does not wrap their videocards in a anti-static plastic bag.

How SAPPHIRE describes their Nitro Gaming series graphics cards online:


Designed from the ground up, we’ve crammed in everything you need (and left out everything you don't) to maximize the gaming experience for your budget. The SAPPHIRE NITRO series boasts a range of features previously reserved for high-end cards, including long-life capacitors and award-winning Black Diamond Chokes, as well as our award-winning cooling solutions. Its sleek, elegant contours have been designed to suit any build. And the latest graphics architecture from AMD ensures fast, reliable gaming, performance tuned for any level of gamer.

So whatever kind of gamer you are, the SAPPHIRE NITRO series offers you the maximum gaming experience for your budget.



Product Showcase

SAPPHIRE has never been a fan of the black/red color sheme and always used simple color shemes with mainly the darker grey color and eventually an addition with some orange or blue. The Nitro series use a stylisch variety of grey in the cooler design with some shiny edges which makes it look a little more classy and elegant. Even with all the fancy edges and styling, the cooler stays pretty bulky. Anyway, even by looking at the product, you can assume the quality of the cooler design to be quite solid. The backplate looks awesome and gives it an even more prestigious appearance. By the looks of it, we have the feeling we can expect alot from this firmly designed card in terms of thermal efficiency.



About the Author

Keeping up with new inventions and technological improvements is kinda my thing. Writing about technology is just a result of my fascination with it. I hope to provide readers with as much news as possible, everyday.
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