Our core parts that elevate the life of our products through quality, robustness & reliability
Backplate (Tough Metal Backplate)
The all-aluminum backplate provides additional rigidity that guarantees nothing bends and dust stays out. It also helps cool your card by increasing heat dissipation.
These feature Dual Ball bearing fans, which have an approximately 85% longer lifespan than sleeve bearings in our tests. The improvements to the fan blades means the solution is up to 10% quieter than the previous generation.
Fan Quick Connect
If there's a fan problem, you don't have to return the entire card. SAPPHIRE or our channel partners will send out a replacement fan directly to you! That means they're easy to remove, clean and replace, with just one screw holding them securely in place.
In order to protect your card, the SAPPHIRE cards have fuse protection built into the circuit of the external PCI-E power connector to keep the components safe.
Choose between performance mode or silent mode to enhance your gaming experience.
PULSE RX 8G G5
Up to MHz, 8GB GDDR5, p gamingLearn More
PULSE RX 8G G5 Lite
Up to MHz, 8GB GDDR5, p gamingLearn More
PULSE RX 8GD5
Up to MHz, 8GB GDDR5, p gamingLearn More
PULSE RX 4G G5
Up to MHz, 4GB GDDR5, p gamingLearn More
PULSE RX 8G G5 HDMI DP
Up to MHz, 8GB GDDR5, p gamingLearn More
PULSE RX 4G G5 HDMI DP
Up to MHz, 4GB GDDR5, p gamingLearn More
PULSE RX ITX 8G G5
mm card length, MHz, 8GB GDDR5Learn More
PULSE RX ITX 4G G5
mm card length, MHz, 4GB GDDR5Learn More
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Sapphire Technology Sapphire Technology Radeon RX XT Pulse Overclocked Dual-Fan 8GB GDDR6 PCIe Graphics Card
The SAPPHIRE PULSE RX XT offers great performance at the affordable price point that every gamer needs. With quality components and a robust digital power design, the PULSE RX XT delivers exceptional p performance and high-fidelity gaming powered by AMDs new extreme RDNA architecture. Its finely-tuned Dual-X Cooling Technology not only keeps the GPU, memory and VRM components cool, but also at a very low noise level. The all-aluminum backplate provides additional rigidity that guarantees nothing bends and dust stays out, and it also helps cool your card by increasing heat dissipation. Pivotal SAPPHIRE features like the Quick Connect Fan, Dual Bios Support and Power Fuse are all readily available to keep your GPU running smooth and silent. Get ready to experience next-level gaming performance and welcome the PULSE RX XT as the new integral heart of your PC!
A Closer Look at the Sapphire Pulse RX XT
The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT is from AMDs second generation of 7 nm graphics processors and uses AMDs RDNA architecture. The Pulse RX XT has a total of stream processors. The base clock speed of the Pulse RX XT is MHz. The card has a game clock speed of MHz and a boost clock speed of up to MHz. However, according to GPU-Z, our sample boosted as high as MHz. Unlike the Radeon VII card, the Pulse XT uses 8 GB of GDDR6 memory running on a bit bus with an effective memory clock speed of 14 Gbps.
The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT is a rather small card for having a custom cooler. The card measures 10 long by wide by tall. So there should be little to no issue fitting the Pulse RX XT in really any system. The design on the backplate looking like a heart monitor youd see in a hospital. Makes sense giving its name, the Sapphire Pulse RX XT. The backplate provides extra support to help prevent the PCB from bending due to sagging. The backplate is black and gray with red accents and red and white lettering. The Sapphire Pulse logo is set to the side in between the BIOS switch and the 8 + 6 pin connectors. The backplate is also vented to help dissipate heat.
The Sapphire Pulse RX XT is a dual fan card with two 90 mm fans each with 9 blades. Each blade has grooves on them to help direct the airflow in a specific direction. The blade design allows the fans to run about 10% quieter. Each fan has two ball bearings. Dual ball bearing fans have about an 85% longer lifespan when compared to traditional sleeve bearing fans. I very much like the silver mesh design on the front of the card. Its reminiscent of the EVGA GTX FTW.
At the very front of the card is the I/O bracket. The I/O is a more traditional I/O and consists of three DisplayPort ports and a single HDMI port. The HDMI port can output a max resolution of x @ 60 HZ. Each DisplayPort port can output a max resolution of x also @ 60 Hz. The four ports are in one straight line and above, the bracket is vented to allow for better airflow. On the opposite end of the card, the shroud that covers the cooler is open-ended to again, allow for better airflow.
Like all other cards, the bottom edge has the standard PCIe express connector. However, unlike most other cards, the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT is a PCIe card as opposed to PCIe like previous generation AMD and Nvidia cards. Looking along the bottom of the card, you can see some of the heat pipes that make up part of the cooler on the Pulse RX XT. To the far right, you can see the there is a small 4-pin LED header for the LED lights on the side of the shroud.
On the top edge, we find the Sapphire logo that is illuminated by the LED lights behind the logo. to the right of the logo, you see the rest of the heat pipes that run through the fins on the cooler. The longest heat pipe on this side of the card wraps in front of the 8-pin and 6-pin power connectors that power the card from the power supply.
The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT is a dual bios card. This can be very helpful feature to have. The default BIOS is in position number one, or to the right. In this bios, the base clock speed of the Pulse RX XT is MHz. The card has a game clock speed of MHz and a boost clock speed of up to MHz. The second BIOS is the Silent Mode BIOS. This lowers the base clock speed to MHz, the game clock speed to MHz and the boost clock speed to MHz and the memory clock speed stays the same. This can be especially useful if say a bios get corrupted.
« Packaging | A Closer Look at the Sapphire Pulse RX XT: Internals »
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Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT Review
AMD doesn’t have a sparkling track record when it comes to building reference cards that show off new GPUs in the best light possible. They typically employ blower-style fans, which pull in air from your chassis and exhaust it out the back, making them perfect for small form factor PCs. But this type of thermal solution relies on a fast-spinning fan and consequently tends to be loud. At the same time, it’s usually less effective at dissipating heat than competing cards armed with multiple axial fans and large sinks.
To be fair, the reference Radeon RX and Radeon RX XT cards are much quieter than AMD’s previous-gen Radeon RX Vega 64 and However, improved acoustics come at a cost. Our launch coverage picked up die temperatures of up to 89°C and junction temperatures in excess of °C under load. It’s just as well, then, that AMD is tapering off production of the reference Radeon RX XT and making the kit available to its add-in board partners. At the same time, those partners are spinning up their own designs with custom coolers and overclocked GPU frequencies.
Sapphire’s Pulse Radeon RX XT is the first of these to hit our lab. Right out of the gate, its thick heat sink and twin 95mm fans promise to tackle whatever shortcomings AMD’s version left on the table.
Meet Sapphire’s Pulse Radeon RX XT
The Pulse Radeon RX XT is based on the exact same Navi GPU found on AMD’s reference Radeon RX XT. Manufactured on TSMC’s 7nm FinFET process and composed of billion transistors, the chip occupies a scant mm². It exposes 40 RDNA Compute Units, each with 64 Stream processors, totaling 2, ALUs across the processor. The CUs host four texture units, just as they did in AMD’s Graphics Core Next design, adding up to in a complete Navi GPU. Four render back-ends per quadrant are capable of 16 pixels per clock cycle, yielding 64 ROPs.
That’s clearly a more compact configuration than Radeon RX Vega 64, which featured 64 CUs with 4, Stream processors and texture units. And yet our benchmarks will show that Sapphire’s Pulse Radeon RX XT averages %-higher frame rates than Vega 64. Almost 60% of the architecture’s speed-up comes from performance per clock enhancements, according to AMD. Another 25% is attributable to gains enabled by 7nm manufacturing. The reminder falls under design frequency and power improvement, which includes more effective clock gating.
Our Radeon RX XT launch coverage defined AMD’s new nomenclature for clock rate specs, which Sapphire uses as well. The reference card employs a base clock rate of up to 1, MHz, a Game GPU clock of up to 1, MHz and a Boost frequency of up to 1, MHz. The Pulse Radeon RX XT sports two BIOS chips that are selectable through a small switch along the card’s top edge. The secondary firmware is programmed with those reference frequencies, while the primary (and default) BIOS overclocks the base clock rate to 1, MHz with a Game clock of 1, MHz and a 1, MHz Boost frequency. The Game and Boost ratings are subject to certain ideal conditions, and we’d prefer to see the Boost number dropped entirely since it’s not sustainable. Realistically, you can expect to see clock rates closer to the Game GPU spec once your card warms up.
An aggregate bit pathway is populated by 8GB of GDDR6 operating at 14 Gb/s. Sapphire leaves this spec alone, meaning its Pulse Radeon RX XT delivers the same GB/s of memory bandwidth as AMD’s reference board. AMD claims other notable improvements throughout Navi’s memory hierarchy, from reduced congestion in its 4MB L2 cache to a new KB L1 cache per quadrant that helps reduce latency.
Although the reference Radeon RX XT hosts a much more sophisticated GPU than Radeon RX and is indeed faster than Radeon RX Vega 64, its total board power rating is W. Sapphire does not call out its own board power for the Pulse Radeon RX XT. However, our interposer-based measurement system determined that the primary BIOS results in ~15W-higher power consumption through gaming workloads and stress tests compared to AMD’s spec.
|Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT||Radeon RX XT||GeForce RTX Super||Radeon RX|
|Architecture (GPU)||RDNA (Navi 10)||RDNA (Navi 10)||Turing (TU)||RDNA (Navi 10)|
|Peak FP32 Compute(Based on Typical Boost)||TFLOPS||9 TFLOPS||TFLOPS||TFLOPS|
|Base Clock Rate||MHz||MHz||MHz||MHz|
|Nvidia Boost/AMD Game Rate||MHz||MHz||MHz||MHz|
|AMD Boost Rate||MHz||MHz||N/A||MHz|
|Memory Capacity||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6|
|TDP||W (measured)||W (measured)||W||W (measured)|
Sapphire tells us that the Pulse Radeon RX XT is based on the reference PCB with its own cooler applied on top. Just looking at the exposed components suggest that Sapphire’s board is at least a little different from what AMD sent us, though. The auxiliary power inputs are fused, for example. Plus, there are two BIOS chips. But we are still dealing with a 7+2-phase voltage regulation scheme for the GPU and GDDR6 memory.
Gone is the reference card’s vapor chamber. In its place we find a support plate with heat sinks for memory module and power supply cooling. The plate is topped with a copper spreader that gets sandwiched by an array of heat pipes. Those pipes cut through a sink that runs the board’s entire length. Horizontally-oriented fins push waste heat out a generously-sized slot bracket grille and the open back end. We favor this layout over vertical fins that blow hot air onto your motherboard.
A plastic shroud sits over the sink. It’s mostly black with perforated silver highlights and thin strips of red paint broken up by the two 95mm axial fans.
Up top, there’s enough shroud on one side for a back-lit Sapphire logo that matches our Z Aorus Ultra Gaming motherboard’s intense red lighting perfectly. Everything to the other side is cut out, giving us a view of two heat pipes. The eight- and six-pin power connectors are rotated by ° so they won’t interfere with Sapphire’s heat sink. But because the heat pipes and backplate sit up so much higher than the PCB, it’s harder to plug in auxiliary power cables than on other cards.
Placement could become an issue depending on your case and motherboard layout. While a 10” length measurement isn’t out of the ordinary, it’s less common to see cards that tower inches from the PCIe slot connector to a slightly-protruding heat pipe up top. Moreover, the combination of a bulging backplate and extra-thick fan shroud translates into a inch width measurement. Slightly overshooting a dual-slot form factor means you’ll almost certainly have to give up an extra expansion slot below the Pulse Radeon RX XT.
Around front, Sapphire exposes the same display outputs as AMD. Three DisplayPort connectors and one HDMI b interface run along the PCB’s edge. It’s worth noting that Navi is AMD’s first GPU with Display Stream Compression technology, supporting 4K monitors at Hz through a single cable without resorting to chroma subsampling.
An aluminum plate covers most of the card’s back side. It’s a rigid piece of metal that serves to brace the PCB and anchor the shroud. Sapphire also uses thermal pads in a couple of spots to draw heat away from hot spots on the board.
Despite its size, the Pulse Radeon RX XT weighs in at 2lb oz. The reference model is quite a bit heavier (2lb oz) due to its vapor chamber-based cooler. Nevertheless, Sapphire benefits from a more free-flowing thermal solution that keeps the Navi GPU operating at lower temperatures without making much noise at all.
How We Tested Sapphire’s Pulse Radeon RX XT
We added Sapphire’s Pulse Radeon RX XT to our existing library of performance data, which was recently gathered on a brand-new platform powered by Intel’s Core iK six-core CPU on a Z Aorus Ultra Gaming motherboard with 64GB of a Corsair CMKGX4M8AOC14 kit. We’re still using a couple of GB Crucial MX SSDs for our gaming suite, along with Noctua’s NH-D15S heat sink/fan combo.
All of this data was run ahead of last month’s GeForce RTX Super and Super launch, which was followed by the Radeon RX and XT. We started with a selection of cards relevant to the new GeForces, and then added AMD’s Radeon RX series boards. From Nvidia, that includes GeForce RTX , GeForce RTX , GeForce RTX , GeForce GTX Ti, GeForce GTX , GeForce GTX Ti, and GeForce GTX All of those cards are represented by Nvidia’s own Founders Edition models except for the Ti, which is an MSI GeForce GTX Ti Gaming 8G. AMD’s own Radeon VII is part of the comparison as well, along with Sapphire’s Nitro+ Radeon RX Vega 64 and Nitro+ Radeon RX Vega Those partner cards ensure we don’t see the frequency/throttling issues encountered with our reference models.
Our benchmark selection includes Battlefield V, Destiny 2, Far Cry 5, Final Fantasy XV, Forza Horizon 4, Grand Theft Auto V, Metro Exodus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Strange Brigade, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, The Witcher 3 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
The testing methodology we're using comes from PresentMon: Performance In DirectX, OpenGL, And Vulkan. In short, these games are evaluated using a combination of OCAT and our own in-house GUI for PresentMon, with logging via GPU-Z.
We’re using driver build for Nvidia’s GeForce RTX and Super and build for all the other Nvidia cards. On AMD’s side, we’re using Adrenalin Edition for all three existing cards, plus for the reference Radeon RX series cards and for the Pulse Radeon RX XT.
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Current page: Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX XT ReviewNext PagePerformance Results: x
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