A Closer Look
The Sapphire Nitro OC R9 Fury adopts a non-reference eight-layer custom PCB which is significantly longer than AMD’s stock design. As a result, the GPU requires a chassis with three available slots and measures 307mm long. This shouldn’t pose a problem in any modern case, but it’s important to consider the effect on airflow when using two in a Crossfire setup. Sapphire have also utilized a 6 phase power circuitry and five copper heatpipes capable of cooling the VRM by an additional 20 percent. During low GPU utilization scenarios, Sapphire’s Intelligent Fan Control II comes into operation and switches the three 90mm fans off. This ensures the noise levels remain low and creates an almost silent user-experience.
In terms of aesthetics, the neutral grey accents and black shroud combines rather nicely. This makes it a suitable choice for a wide range of system builds, but it’s not going to set the market alight. Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some people prefer ostentatious GPUs with LED effects. On the other hand, certain users see these designs are overly tacky and prefer a more understated theme. I think Sapphire has done a good job in catering to the core gaming audience without making the GPU’s appearance look too flashy.
Here we can see the extremely strong backplate which aids cooling by a few degrees and distributes the weight in a more even manner. As a result, the graphics card doesn’t sag too much and feel quite sturdy. The extended frame surrounding the aluminium fins does look a little unusual at first, but it’s surprisingly durable and doesn’t really flex under pressure. The GPU’s construction exudes build quality and looks like a premium piece of PC hardware.
The graphics card requires two 8-pin PCI-E connectors and supports a total cooling power of 375 watts. There’s also a BIOS button to toggle between LEGACY and UEFI modes but you shouldn’t have to adjust this from the stock UEFI value. I’m glad Sapphire decided to use a large BIOS button instead of a switch because the thin plastic on switches can snap when someone has a fairly aggressive touch.
Connectivity-wise, the GPU contains a single DVI-D, three DisplayPort 1.2 and an HDMI 1.4a. Please note this version of HDMI has a limited bandwidth and only capable of running a 4K display at 30Hz. This will be problematic when pairing the GPU with a 4K television and it’s a major oversight on AMD’s part.