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SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX VEGA 56 Limited Edition 8G HBM2 Review

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SAPPHIRE NITRO+Limited Edition Radeon RX VEGA 56 8G HBM2 Testing:

Temperature Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1080 using 8x AA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a twenty-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.



  • Monitoring with MSI Afterburner
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0 1920x1080 8x AA
  • 5-run sequence
  • 20-minute idle duration
  • Temperature measured in degrees Celsius







Power Consumption:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A fifteen-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest power usage recorded as the final result. The idle results will be measured after fifteen minutes of inactivity on the system with the lowest recorded power usage as the final result.


  • Unigine 4.0 Heaven Benchmark
  • 1920x1080 resolution
  • 8x AA
  • 15-minute load test
  • 15-minute idle test
  • Measurement is in watts





The thermal results delivered by Sapphire's Vapor Chamber Technology prove out that the technology keeps getting better. Sapphire was the earliest adopter of Vapor Chamber cooling. While idling, the card stays cool as it should while running passively. When a 3D load is placed on the card, the temperatures start to increase, topping out at one degree better than the PowerColor Red Devil Vega 56 card. A result of less than 70 °C is pretty impressive from an AMD-based GPU on air cooling.

The noise profile of the card is non-existent at idle and barely audible fully ramped up when in a chassis. Overclocking does not change the cooling dynamic much on this card while in a 2D environment. Under a 3D load, the cooling solution is fully capable of discharging the massive thermal load imparted by the Vega 10 core. When overclocked, the Sapphire NITRO+ Limited Edition card had a 3 °C margin over the PowerColor card. Impressive, to say the least. 

As we saw when I looked at PowerColor's Red Devil Vega 56 offering, AMD still does not have a good grip on power consumption with this architecture. Both Sapphire's and PowerColor's cards are pushing a system load of almost 500 watts when overclocked. At stock speeds, the Sapphire NITRO+ Limited Edition consumes 21 watts less current than PowerColor's offering. While that sounds like a great thing, and it is, the Sapphire NITRO+ RX Vega 56 Limited Edition consumes a full 125 watts more than the MSI GTX 1070 Ti and an even larger delta when you compare it to the GTX 1080 Founders Edition card. At this point, power consumption is not the major focus.      

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