SAPPHIRE Nitro + Radeon RX 590 Special Edition

What is the RX 590

Polaris 30, the RX 590 is Polaris 30 in the simplest of descriptions. But what does that mean? Well, first with what is not. The RX 590 is not a larger variant of the number of RX 480/580 computing units because it is always equipped with 2304 stream processors. The memory configuration remains the same with 8 GB of GDDR5, no G5X here, but the RX 590 was limited to 8GB versions, so no 4GB model. So, what's the big deal? A change in the manufacturing process prompted a new model: the RX 480/580 was manufactured on GlobalFoundries 14 nm process nodes, while the RX 590 was created on their 12 nm node (which allowed AMD to move existing 14 nm designs without having to be remodeled even optical size). The move to the 12nm node has provided a bit more room for maneuver for the clock and energy efficiency, which we will examine in more detail later. They may have exceeded the TDP of the RX 590 at 225w, which allowed them to have a much higher center frequency, well above 1500 MHz, which only the best of the best Polaris chips 20 allowed to reach more than 7 TFLOPS. maximum computing performance out of the box. Although I would have always preferred to see this map get a nomenclature closer to a RX 580+ or ​​a RX 585 since the main specifications apart from the knot, power, and speeds of 39 clock have remained unchanged, I think we'll see that the RX 590 is a welcome addition to the Polaris family yet.

SAPPHIRE Nitro + treatment

Something important to avoid: if the design of SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 is familiar, you are not crazy. This card retains the basic design of the RX 500 series and it's a good thing. When we took a look at the launch of the RX 570, we found that the construction of the map was absolutely fantastic. The RX 590 does not escape that.

amd-radeon-rx-4Related Fatboy Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro + and XFX Radeon RX 590 custom graphics, illustrated and detailed

The SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 Special Edition incorporates the rugged 4 heat pipe design with 2x8mm and 2x6mm heatpipes that meander while the full-size heat sink stays cool with a pair of blue-lit dual ball-bearing fans. Dual X Cooling Solution. Designed for 300W of cooling power, this configuration has no trouble taming the new, higher TDP Polaris 30 chip, as you'll see below.

The power design is managed by a 50-amp 6-phase card design with Black Diamond coils and polymer capacitors, as before, with the Nitro + 500 Series preview card design with the same D & V connections. 8 + 6 pin reverse power supply for easy installation and removal.

The included Dual Bios (I want everyone to do this) gives you the default Nitro Boost settings or silent settings, though it's so quiet that you're not sure that the silent settings are needed outside power consumption may be reduced.

amd-polaris-30Related The third revision of the AMD Polaris GPU on the next Radeon RX 590 can reach frequencies as high as 1680 MHz

The I / O of the DVI-D, 2xDP 1.4 and 2xHDMI 2.0 ports as well as the fairing and back plate of the heat sink mirror those of the Nitro + RX 570 and 580, but this time with the Elvis Metallic Blue. I'm not very confident and I think that the color may be a little unpleasant for a lot of people who would much prefer to see this card be launched with the same model, or even make a metal design and shroud and back plate, as before. . I understand that they wanted to differentiate this model, and although it looks good to be, I do not see many constructions that look like these.

Test methodology

All tests were performed on our Intel Z370 test bench powered by a Core i5 8600K at 5 GHz. We performed all tests involving DX11 at 3 steps and averaged the results of all the metrics to arrive at the final numbers. For DX12 and Vulkan, we used the latest version of OCAT at the time and ran the resulting file via our algorithm to extract the metrics to be measured. The results are presented as the average SPF that represents where the average frame rate dropped during the test, with 1% lower representing the lowest 1% of the frames, then 0.1% lower representing the 0s. , 1% lower. These measures provide a better understanding of overall performance rather than absolute minimum frame rate as this could potentially be a random outlier, but be aware that the 0.1% can still be affected by the loading of assets during Analyses.

Today we're comparing the RX 590 to the GTX 1060 6 FE and the Radeon RX 480 8GB. Some will be disappointed by the absence of the RX 580, and that's understandable, but we're looking at where this map is relative to basic measures. The RX 480 8GB is representative of the time when Polaris arrived on the market and can show us a good comparison among all, without a lot of extras, and the GTX 1060 6GB FE is a solid base measurement for the 1060 performance.

Test system

components Z370
CPU i5 8600k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB of Geil EVO X DDR4 3200
Motherboard EVGA Z370 Classified K
Storage room Adata SU800 128 GB
2 TB Seagate SSHD
PSU Cooler Master V1200 Platinum

Graphic cards tested

GPU Architecture Number of cores Clock speed Memory capacity Speed ​​of memory
SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 Polaris 30 2304 1560 8 GB GDDR5 8.4 Gbps
XFX RX 480 8GB Polaris 10 2304 1266 8 GB GDDR5 8 Gbps
NVIDIA GTX 1060 FE 6GB Pascal 1280 1506/1708 6 GB GDDR5 8 Gbps

Drivers used

The drivers
Radeon Settings 18.11.2
GeForce 416.94

1080p results

The Radeon RX 590 is marketed as the ultimate 1080p gaming card. Although I'm sure a lot of people would say that the GTX 1070 or the Vega 56 would gladly take the place these cards were designed and sold to the 1440p player. At 1080p, the RX 590 absolutely dominates the previous Polaris GPU and retains a strong lead over the performance of the GTX 1060 6GB. It is almost identical to Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which is surprising because of the dominance of NVIDIA in this title at all levels. The SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 did not experience any central frequency fluctuation during all these tests, it maintained at all times its central clock at 1560 MHz.

1440p Results

The RX 590, much like the RX 480 8GB, is also marketed as being capable of 1440p. During the first tests of the RX 480, I discovered that he was able to play at 1440p, but with a little more compromise than I really wanted for my personal gaming experience. So with the beef addition of the RX 590, I really hoped to see the 1440p player a little more satisfied, but I'm still a little shy. It is, however, a much better experience than the cards against which it is aligned today. I would see it power the game 1440p with average settings and be associated with a screen Freesync offering this capacity 1440p. The SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 did not experience any central frequency fluctuation during all these tests, it maintained at all times its central clock at 1560 MHz.

Synthetics, power and thermal

Over time, I ended up limiting my synthetic tests, as they are simply not an indication of gaming performance, but they are still a good indicator of the distance between cards in terms of raw power.

The Dual X cooler of the SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 is at its best when you give everything you can. The thermal and electrical values ​​below were taken after a 30 minute loop test of the 3DMark Firestrike Combined Test. This gave the card enough time to equalize on the thermals, the main clock and the power consumption. I would like to remind you that, during all these tests, the SAPPHIRE Nitro + RX 590 did not undergo any central frequency fluctuation, but maintained its central clock at 1560 MHz at all times.

Undervolting Explored

Since the launch of the RX 480, we have found that Radeon cards have a lot of benefit from removing voltage. In fact, they tended to derive more profit than overclocking in terms of overall performance. So, rather than focusing on overclocking performance, we wanted to see how performance, power, and heat reacted when fine tuning the Polaris 30 graphics processor. We did it in a number of ways, starting with by our basic performance. We then under-exploited the P states until they crashed at 1050 mV, then increased them to 1075 mV to ensure stability and reduce the power limit to -10%, because a decrease in clock frequency would cause an occasional drop in clock frequency. To find out where the RX 590 would be located was the RX 480's frequencies, so we reduced the center frequency to 1266 MHz and the memory to 2000 MHz, while leaving the voltage at Auto and reducing the limit of power at -25%. Finally, we needed to see what an overclocked RX 480 would pull overall and, unfortunately, we will only reach 1325 MHz before becoming an unstable mess, but the memory would reach 2250 MHz, which was a victory. In the end, the 12 nm Polaris 30 chip is a little more efficient than the stock configuration suggests. Unfortunately, it is a little packed once you start increasing speed. But it's good to see that if you want to improve things, you can cut some heat and electricity while retaining most of the performance of this card. Or, if you prefer, listen to me for about 10 minutes regarding these tests by watching the video below.

Power test settings

Map Voltage Power limit Basic clock Memory clock
480 OC car 50 1325 2250 MHz
590 @ 480 car -25 1266 2000 MHz
590 UV 1075 -ten 1560 MHz 2100 MHz
Nitro + RX 590 car fault 1560 MHz 2100 MHz


It did not start as something that I thought would be terribly interesting; Polaris has been around for a while now. But what I did not expect, was having so much fun tweaking the basic settings. It is the most powerful Polaris that has ever shone, but like a shining star, it consumes a lot of energy to do it. The increase in performance since the RX 480 came on the market is really impressive, considering how well AMD has been able to stretch silicon. Fine tuning of the power limit and voltages showed where the refinement of the node and redesign of the basic design was improving. If Polaris 10 had launched with so much room for maneuver and efficiency, I think the story of Polaris had been much more favorable to the AMD. Although I'm still not convinced to call it a x90 class GPU, because it's not a larger kernel than the 480/580, it certainly deserved more than being called "a rebad 580". Maybe RX 580+ or ​​RX 585 would have been more appropriate and easier to digest. But with this reproach, the performances of the SAPPHIRE Nitro + Radeon RX 590 pumps are sufficiently powerful to completely dominate the market of less than 300 USD in terms of performances. There are always reasons to consider the GTX 1060 6GB, but they are thinner than ever and the RX 590 can be modified to be as efficient as Pascal, while offering unmatched performance, while being cooler and more dynamic . total cost of the package reasonable than that of the competition. SAPPHIRE has again created a solid map, even if the Blue Elvis is a bit suspicious, can we get a blackout model? Please.

What about the game offer?

AMD offers all the packaging of the game with the purchase of Radeon RX 570 and above. The RX 570 and RX 580 offer you a choice of two games, while the RX 590 and RX Vega offer you all three. Games included in the Radeon GAME FULLY LOADED Bundle are:

  • Resident Evil 2
  • Devil can cry 5
  • Tom Clancy's The Division 2

All this looks like very good titles, but it will take some time before you can get hold of one of them, because they do not start for a while. This is a definite added value and if you are interested or looking for one of these titles, the complete package is worth it. I just do not think that a limited time package should change the overall score of the card, if it was a permanent addition, then yes. But for now, it's a very good value for buyers.


For less than $ 300, you simply can not get more performance and associate that with a Freesync 1080p display with high refresh rate and you get a combination that kills. Although the default voltage is aggressive and results in high power consumption, it can easily be mitigated in the Radeon software. But come on SAPPHIRE, can we do it in black too?



Design & Aesthetics8



  • Very cool thermals
  • Silent race
  • The fastest Polaris to date
  • Has performance below $ 300
  • Super game lot (time of launch)
  • Easily set for efficiency

The inconvenients

  • Hungry power of the box
  • Limited overclocking
  • Default voltage too high
  • Color can be off-putting

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