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Sapphire RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ Vapor-X Review: More Is More

By Jarred Walton

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT launch wasn’t quite enough to claim the pole position in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, and now we’ve learned a few batches of reference 7900 XTX cards shipped with vapor chamber issues. The Sapphire RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ Vapor-X has no such problems, promising the usual bump in performance thanks to higher clocks and a better cooler — and slightly higher power draw as well. How does it fare when compared with the best graphics cards, and can you find cards in stock anywhere?

As with other third-party AIB (add-in board) partner cards, the only real changes relative to the reference designs will come in the form of cooling and aesthetics, potentially with a bump in clock speeds and power limits. Sapphire’s RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ follows that pattern to a T: 

Graphics CardSapphire 7900 XTX Nitro+RX 7900 XTXRX 7900 XTRTX 4090RTX 4080RTX 4070 Ti
ArchitectureNavi 31Navi 31Navi 31AD102AD103AD104
Process TechnologyTSMC N5 + N6TSMC N5 + N6TSMC N5 + N6TSMC 4NTSMC 4NTSMC 4N
Transistors (Billion)45.6 + 6x 2.0545.6 + 6x 2.0545.6 + 5x 2.0576.345.935.8
Die size (mm^2)300 + 222300 + 222300 + 185608.4378.6294.5
GPU Shaders1228812288107521638497287680
Tensor CoresN/AN/AN/A512304240
Ray Tracing “Cores”9696841287660
Boost Clock (MHz)268025002400252025052610
VRAM Speed (Gbps)2020202122.421
VRAM (GB)242420241612
VRAM Bus Width384384320384256192
L2 Cache969680726448
TFLOPS FP3265.961.451.682.648.740.1
TFLOPS FP16 (FP8/INT8)132 (132)123 (123)103 (103)661 (1321)390 (780)321 (641)
Bandwidth (GBps)9609608001008717504
TBP (watts)420355300450320285
Launch DateDec 2022Dec 2022Dec 2022Oct 2022Nov 2022Jan 2023
Launch Price$1,099$999$899$1,599$1,199$799

Sapphire prices its Vapor-X model $100 above the reference card, with a $1,099 price point. MSRPs mean next to nothing, unfortunately, and Newegg has a listing for $1,522.97(opens in new tab) — plus $49.99 in shipping, to add insult to injury. (It’s from a third party seller, naturally.) Not that the reference 7900 XTX is any better, currently listed for $1,439.99 from a different third party seller(opens in new tab).

Hopefully the supply and pricing will improve in the coming months, but right now the 7900 XTX cards are all quite overpriced. The 7900 XTX typically beats the RTX 4080 in rasterization performance while trailing by a significant amount in complex ray tracing games, but RTX 4080 cards start at $1,269.99(opens in new tab). That’s more than we’d like but also about $200 less than the 7900 XTX for the time being.

If you want to learn more about AMD’s RDNA 3 architecture, that article’s a good place to start. Sapphire’s design doesn’t radically change anything, so we mostly know what to expect, but let’s go ahead and check out the card itself and take it apart. 

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