Sapphire Nitro R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card Review with Back Plate!


If you’ve been reading up on the latest R9 380X range, you may have seen stories and possibly even reviews that the performance wasn’t as high as many expected. I one of those who was very disappointed with the performance when compared to the R9 380 and R9 390 graphics cards by being around 10% faster than the R9 380. I really shouldn’t be complaining, at a sub £200 price point, the R9 380X is poised as a great 1440p graphics card; albeit with some settings lowered to medium or high from ultra.

Today in the test bench we have the Sapphire Nitro R9 380X. Fitting in nicely to the current Nitro range from Sapphire at just £199.99, this card features an identical cooling design as the R9 380 but with one huge visual improvement, which I will disclose later. The card features 16K capacitors for ultra long life and an increased core and memory clock to 1040MHz and 6000MHz respectively, so we should expect improved performance over what we have been witnessing so far.

Before anyone starts chanting “rebrand”, stop! As much as I agree that this is technically a rebrand, I’m now actually re-wording that to remanufacturing. A rebrand would be taking the R9 285, put a new cooling design on there and calling it an R9 380 with no other changes. However, the R9 380 and R9 380X are remanufactured with a much more precise manufacturing procedure to squeeze as much performance as possible from the Antigua GPU Core.

Packaging and Accessories

The Nitro box has changed for this card compared to the rest of the R9 Nitro range. We now have a simple portrait style box without a window to show off the contents.

I really think Sapphire want everyone to know that this card has a back plate fitted.

Accessories are simple, general paper based material, driver disk, case sticker and DVI to VGA adapter.

EVGA GTX 900 Series GPU Back Plate Offer On Hold?

It’s been a tricky month for EVGA, while the 9xx series launch has proven to be successful for all parties involved, EVGA have been hit with a few issues along the way. One of the main selling points for the EVGA 900 series graphics cards, was the promise of a cool EVGA back plate, but now it looks like many users may not be receiving one.

There was some confusion around review content that all cards would ship either with the back-plate, or that EVGA would mail out the back-plate for free for early adaptors. This has now been revised on the offending articles to reflect that only EU customers will get the free one, assuming they have the right model purchased before 20th of October. US customers who want the backplate would have to pay for the part, although price and availability hasn’t been detailed just yet and nothing is available on the EVGA website (yet).

One EVGA customer contacted their rep for some information, he shared the reply on the EVGA forums;

“I just checked that review and it has been corrected since your original email. I really do apologize for any confusion on this but we always have advertisements and rotator banners on our page when we do a promotion like this.

This review was originally created and posted by their editor W1zzard who is located in Germany, the information he would have received was based on the EU EVGA website. We unfortunately cannot be held liable for misinformation or assumptions on third party sites that we don’t have control over.”

This is a tough one, given that there are other cards on the market that come with the backplate pre-installed; I can understand that some users would have bought the card on the basis they will have one included in the deal. The backplate offers some aesthetic improvement, but also helps with the overall strength and in some cases it can also help with cooling performance.

EVGA have since pulled the promotion details from their site, but you can see the deal on the screenshot above. EVGA have stated that “We have put this promotion on hold as we are re-evaluating the details. Expect to see some news shortly.” What that will entail remains to be seen. Unfortunately for EVGA, some users are already reporting that they have returned their cards to store, or will soon be doing so.

I’m interested to see how EVGA handle the revision to their offer, as I personally know a few people who purchased these cards on this promotion, and I’m sure more than a few of our readers have done the same. We’ll update you is we hear anything else on this matter, but you can also track its progress on the EVGA forums.

Thank you EVGA Forums for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Reddit.