11304 02 Rx6800xt Nitro C05 R 800x500

Graphics are entering a new age of fidelity, performance, and affordability thanks to the new consoles and the competition between and AMD and Nvidia on the PC platform. No doubt you’ve heard of Nvidia’s RTX 3000 Series and AMD’s surprisingly competitive RX 6000 lineup. Hordes of gamers have been scrambling to secure the Nvidia cards and things are likely about to look the same for AMD when it launches its next generation of GPUs later this month. We know the reference cards from AMD will be strong contenders in the market this time around, but Sapphire is about to turn some heads with its lineup of custom Radeon RX 6800 models.

It’s been awhile since AMD-based cards have been in the high-end market, but these models from Sapphire have a seriously premium look about them. We have no reason to think they won’t exceed expectations this time, either. Sapphire showed us last generation that it knew how make the best of the best when it came to the RX 5700 XTs. As Gamer’s Nexus pointed out in its review, Sapphire beat AMD on both thermals, noise, and overall performance with its design. The AIB has likely learned another thing or two since then as well.

The Sapphire RX 6800 lineup will be composed of two different product families based on the reference AMD Radeon design. There will be PULSE and Nitro+ families, and from what we can tell, there will be standard and XT versions for each. The XT typically means higher clock speeds, though the details are still vague. Sapphire is likely doing some last minute tuning, which is common case.

sapphire AMD radeon rx 6800

Look at what we have here

The company did reveal some basic information though, in addition to pictures from which we can make a few inferences. We will start out with the listed specifications. All of the cards will take up the space of 2.7 slots (which is quite big) and measure in at the following dimensions: 310.5(L) x 134.2(W) x 55.2 (H)mm. Length-wise, that’s just under 12.23 inches, so you will need to factor that in for your case size. The cards will feature three-fan designs and look to spin in the same alternate manor as the Gigabyte cards to provide increased heat dissipation. The fans themselves will feature nine blades on the Pulse and 12 on the Nitro+ variants.

Adding to that, these cards will offer a hint of ARGB to further imbue that premium look. If lighting is your thing, you can grab the Nitro+ SE for colorful fans.

One point of concern I do see is that the cards seem to feature all-aluminum heatsinks as opposed to the preferred and more efficient copper material. The aluminum no doubt matches the steel color scheme better, but really? To Sapphire’s credit, it has leveraged the use of aluminum effectively in the past by way of efficient designs. It’s still worth knowing that they cheaped out on the material though.
sapphire AMD radeon rx 6800

The information connection

Now let’s jump into the rest of the specifications. These cards will feature the same 16 GB of memory as the reference models. To power one of these bad boys, you will need to use a 2 x 8-pin power connector and Sapphire recommends a 750w PSU for the standard version. The XT will jump you up to a massive 850w PSU, but those things must be beasts. For further context, the AMD RDNA 2 architecture is supposedly more power efficient than the Nvidia Ampere, so the XTs should pack a serious punch in terms of performance if they demand that much juice. Independent benchmarks will have the final say in that though.

As far as ports, these will feature three DisplayPort 1.4s, one HDMI 2.1, and a USB-C output. You can also hit 8K, because you know, we all want that immediately. Despite all of that oddness, most of us should be fine with what’s provided.

That about does it for what we saw in the Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 6800 lineup. We’re still waiting on pricing and final specifications, but things look promising if all is as well as advertised. These cards look and should perform great. Frankly, I’m just happy to have not seen a single blower design on any AMD card yet.

If you’re excited about getting your hands on one of these, consider checking out our Rage Mode auto-overclock article and AMD’s growing CPU market share to get a better sense of how you can maximize your gaming performance with next generation hardware.

Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 6800

Kevin Foley
Kevin's go-to gaming genres are shooters, RPGs, and tactical strategy, though he enjoys the occasional puzzle game too. When he finds a narrative he really likes, he feels inclined to tell the world all about it.

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