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Sapphire R7 370 Nitro Review

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Sapphire R7 370 Nitro Conclusion:

Sapphire consistently builds AMD-based video cards that offer a bit extra for your money. In that respect, the R7 370 Nitro is one that delivers 1080p performance on a budget. In five out of nine of the games, we cross up and over the 30FPS range that is deemed playable using moderate settings. In four of the games, however, you will really need to do some tweaking to see just how much eye candy will be reduced to improve the FPS performance of the R7 370 Nitro at 1920 x 1080 to above 30 FPS and beyond.

That being said, overclocking is usually a way to gain additional performance and is a truly effective tool. Not so much with the latest drivers from AMD, where it seems that an overclock is not applied under some 3D loads. In some games I saw an increase in performance that was verified by running Afterburner in the background showing the applied clock speed. In others, especially 3DMark, the overclock was not applied, restricting the user to stock performance levels until a driver fix is enabled. Not a Sapphire problem, as I had the same issues when testing the R9 270 for this review. Hopefully this issue can be resolved by AMD as the 200 series Pitcairn core did overclock well enough to improve performance. However, the competition sits incredibly close on the price point for a higher level of performance. It's the elephant in the room that bares out some discussion in that you can see a big jump in performance for a minimal uptick in cost when you compare price vs. performance overall.

Sapphire is known for innovative cooling solution and was the first to use a vapor chamber-based cooling system on its products close to nine years ago. While not as out of the box, the cooling solution used on the R7 370 Nitro is robust enough to get the job done with a pair of heat pipes that draw the thermal load out of the core and allow it to wick through the copper heat pipes up to the aluminum fin array. One thing to note when you look at the cooling performance numbers is that under load it is the warmest running chip at stock speeds, but it is also incredibly quiet in this role, especially when compared to cards using a more robust cooling design.

Power consumption was a bit higher than I would like to see, but the Sapphire R7 370 Nitro uses less current than the comparison cards, save the GTX 750. Meaning, of course, you will not need a high wattage power supply to run this card. That's a plus, especially when you are putting together a budget gaming rig. Sapphire did not take the safe and easy road by putting a single fan cooling solution on the card. It put its own Dual-X dual fan design on the R7 370 and built up the PCB using its own proprietary components like Black Diamond Chokes and long life capacitors that allow the card to run for the long term more efficiently.

Currently priced at $154.99, the R7 370 Nitro sits comfortably in the $150 to $200 price range that builders of budget PCs will generally be shopping. Performance is closer to the $150 range, but will deliver a good 1080p gaming experience when you tweak your settings for the best balance of performance and visual quality. If you are building a budget gaming PC, give Sapphire a shot.

 

Pros:

  • Cooling
  • Sapphire build quality
  • Good looks
  • 1080 budget Performance

 

Cons:

  • Overclocking (driver issues)
  • Price


 

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