At the time of writing, the Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury is available from Overclockers UK for £439.99. This is a good value proposition when you take into account the Fury X typically costs £499.99. On the other hand, a recent promotion dramatically cut the R9 Nano’s price to £329.99. This complicates matters because in games, there’s a fairly minute difference between these two products. Now that the promotion has ended, the Nano’s price has increased to £359.99. Honestly, I believe it’s the best price to performance card on the market right now which makes the Fury seem slightly overpriced. However, the Sapphire Nitro model adds value through the stunning backplate, 3 year warranty and premium power delivery.
From a visual standpoint, the graphics card’s neutral theme is bound to be a polarizing topic and greatly depends on an individual’s taste. Personally, I’m quite fond of the black shroud and silver accents, which evokes a professional tone. However, I do feel that the design is overly plain and would benefit from a hint of colour. For example, the Sapphire logo should incorporate customizable RGB illumination and give the user freedom to choose between an understated or flamboyant finish. Overall, the GPU has an industrial appearance, and its mammoth size accentuates the product’s credentials as a top-tier graphics solution.
The GPU’s eight layer custom PCB, 6 phase power circuitry, and five copper heatpipes showcase the kind of build quality we’ve come to expect from Sapphire across their entire range. There’s also a stunning backplate which reinforces the graphics card and prevents any drooping to one side. This is so important because of the triple slot design, and hefty weight. Please remember that the large form factor might impede your options in Crossfire and it’s imperative to check compatibility. Admittedly, I don’t expect many consumers to go down the dual Fury route, but it’s sill something to take into consideration.
On another note, the Tri-X cooling solution is mesmerizing and manages to cope with the Fury’s temperatures while upholding a stunningly quiet user-experience. Furthermore, Sapphire’s Intelligent Fan Control II Software dynamically alters each fan’s RPM values based on the GPU workload. This means the graphics card in low utilization scenarios is silent, and doesn’t add any noise to your build. As a huge proponent of silent computing, this is a major selling point and enhances your enjoyment during idle desktop tasks.
As expected, the Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury is already running fairly close to its absolute limit which restricts the overclocking headroom. However, there’s still some scope of manual overclocking providing you use the correct software. Sapphire’s TriXX overclocking utility is perfectly stable, and provides the right tools to attain both core and memory overclocks. Please remember that memory overclocking is disabled via MSI Afterburner, and I’ve experienced problems on a few AMD cards with this software installed. Once MSI Afterburner was removed, I managed to achieve good boosts on the core and memory which helped the GPU to almost match an overclocked Fury X in synthetic testing. This is remarkable and the quashes the idea that you need a water cooling unit to score impressive boosts. Furthermore, these results showcase the effectiveness of Sapphire’s Tri-X cooling solution, even when stressed beyond its factory default clocks.
During synthetic testing, there’s a clear difference between the Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury and Fury X, although it does become less pronounced at higher resolutions. In contrast to this, gaming performance is very similar and the Fury only falls behind by a few frames-per-second. Honestly, the majority of users simply want the best performance in games, which makes the synthetic results fairly redundant. Currently, no single graphics card is capable of achieving 60 frames-per-second at maximum details on a 4K display. The Fury is a little overkill for 1080p gaming unless you’re using a very high refresh monitor. The perfect combination for this GPU is a 2560×1440 display or 3440×1440 ultra-wide. At these resolutions, you shouldn’t have to turn down many settings, and can easily obtain 60 frames-per-second. It’s important to remember though that the Nano pushes well above its weight and isn’t that far away from the Fury.
After investigating, it seems the Nano’s price drop for £329.99 was a one-off promotion and isn’t going to be repeated any time soon. However, the GPU has received an official price drop, and it might be the better choice if you can accept slightly reduced performance. This doesn’t mean the Fury is suddenly superseded though and it’s certainly worth the extra if the price difference remains minimal.
- 3-year warranty
- Durable backplate
- Excellent power delivery
- Exceptionally quiet
- Great performance especially at higher resolutions
- Impressive temperatures
- Neutral colour scheme
- Premium build quality
- Significantly cheaper than the Fury X and 980 Ti
- R9 Nano offers compelling value compared to the Fury
“The Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury is a great alternative to the Fury X and offers similar performance at a lower price point. Furthermore, the impressive Tri-X cooling is capable of taming the GPU’s core while remaining very quiet.”
Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury Graphics Card Review
Thank you Sapphire for providing us with this review sample