Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ review: The new 1080p gaming champion

Heavy metal, refined

Credit: Sapphire

Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ power draw, thermals, and noise

We also tested the Sapphire Radeon RX 590+ using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike synthetic benchmark. Fire Strike runs at 1080p, Fire Strike Extreme runs at 1440p, and Fire Strike Ultra runs at 4K resolution. All render the same scene, but with more intense graphical effects as you move up the scale, so that Extreme and Ultra flavors stress GPUs even more. We record the graphics score to eliminate variance from the CPU.

fire strike Brad Chacos/IDG

Yep, everything falls about where you’d expect after observing the gaming benchmarks, which is always the case with Fire Strike. The Sapphire card scores slightly higher than the XFX Fatboy despite its slightly lower clock speeds, which matches the performance difference we saw in actual games. Kudos to Sapphire’s memory overclock and badass cooler.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

We test power draw by looping the F1 2018 benchmark after we’ve benchmarked everything else with a card, and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion.

Even a move to the 12nm process and a highly effective cooler can’t help here. The Radeon RX 580 already drew much more energy than the GTX 1060, and to consistently triumph over Nvidia’s mainstream champion, AMD cranked the Radeon RX 590’s power consumption to 11. The Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ draws 100W more than the overclocked EVGA GTX 1060 SSC, and sucks down more juice than even the much more potent Vega 56 and GTX 1070.

temp Brad Chacos/IDG

We test thermals by leaving HWInfo’s sensor monitoring tool open during the F1 2018 5-lap power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

And here’s where the Sapphire RX 590 Nitro+ gets more impressive. While the XFX Fatboy runs hot even with a much thicker triple-slot cooler, Sapphire’s standard-sized dual-slot card never exceeds 75 degrees Celsius—a very respectable temperature for a mainstream graphics card. Sapphire’s card makes slightly less noise than XFX’s using the standard Performance BIOS, too, and its Silent BIOS is downright quiet. This graphics card doesn’t make its presence known in any obnoxious ways.

Next page: Should you buy the Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+?

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?