The Sapphire Nitro R9 380X is currently available from OverclockersUK for £199.99. NeweggUS currently has this card listed for $229.99. While that’s an Okay price, I was expecting more towards the £180/$205 which would have put it more in line with the performance per Pound/ Dollar of the R9 380.
It’s refreshing to test a mainstream graphics card from time to time, it cleanses the mind from all of the unbelievably high scores of the R9 Fury X and similar and puts you back into the real world. This card will no doubt be a big hitter with the gaming enthusiasts who only want to game at 1080p, but may possibly upgrade to 1440p in the future without having to worry about spending the additional £70+ on an R9 390.
The performance was below my expectations, I was hoping for a middle of the road performance offering between the R9 380 and 390, but sadly we were given around 10% more than the R9 380. While that is good and it shows that there is more potential in the Antigua core, I want more! We have heard news stories that AMD are promising two new GCN GPU’s in 2016; will this be the card to fill the gap? Maybe this will be the R9 300 equivalent of the R9 285, which was based on the new GCN 1.2, but introduced in the R9 200 series.
It’s not exactly the most striking unit in the world, it would quite happily sit in your computer and exist and you wouldn’t care. When you think back to the days of the bonkers Tri-X cooling design that you would gloat to your friends about, Sapphire has come a long way. The lines are sharp and the PCB and cooling shroud line up perfectly with minimal overhang, making the overall appearance very clean. That back plate is something to admire, Sapphire didn’t have to include it on a card of this price, but it did and that might be a deal breaker for a lot of buyers. One thing I wish Sapphire included or produced as an option is interchangeable inserts for the logo to add a bit of flair to the inside of your computer. I know I said understated is better when the Nitro first released, but even I take that back.
If the card was slightly cheaper, or once the drivers are better optimised for performance, this card would be an absolute stormer, but at its current price point I don’t feel it is big enough of an advancement to recommend over the R9 380; it’s a tough call.
- Reasonable performance boost of the R9 380
- Silent operation
- Respectable 1440p performance with some settings lowered
- Not the ‘gap filler’ that was expected from an ‘X’ card
“The Sapphire Nitro R9 380X took what made the R9 380 good and made it great; a perfect choice for gamers on a budget.”