tl; dr: With Power Color Red Dragon and Sapphire Nitro +, the authors compare the Radeon RX6800 “XL” with the first custom designs tested. After the red devil in the XT, the cheaper version of the Power Color is also introduced, while the preliminary best model in Sapphire has to prove itself again.
Power Color Red Dragon and Sapphire Nitro + Im Test
You can not buy them just before Christmas, as the Note designs do, but the models have already done it in the editorial office, some of which are compressed directly into a box from the factory: custom designs with AMD’s Navi 21, or “Big Navi”.
The authors use the “quiet days” between the Radeon RX6800 (XD), 6900XD, GeForce RTX 3080, 3090, 3070, 3060d, and seem to be on the horizon for January, and are experimenting with other custom designs.
After the Sapphire Radeon RX6800XD Nitro + and Power Color Radeon RX6800XD Red Devil (tested), it is now two smaller Radeon RX6800s with the Navi-21-XL variant from the Big Navi: Power Color Red Dragon and Sapphire Nyro +. However, the smallest does not refer to the dimensions of the graphics card, but to the expansion level of the GPU and the prices listed in the official price list.
At first glance, the two rivals are very close: the two graphics cards are the same length, the same width and 2.5 and 2.7 slots, respectively, offering almost the same thickness and three fans, two of which are 95mm and one 85mm in diameter. However, there are numerous differences.
Sapphire Radeon RX6800 Nitro + in detail
The Sapphire Radeon RX6800 Nitro + is outlined quickly because it resembles the “XL” version of the “XL” – nitro +, except that the GPU is reduced by 12 cc. At trial, it was particularly interesting in terms of size, although it was lighter than the Red Devil from the Note design or Power Color.
This is not just because sapphire uses plastic and metal for the cover of the refrigerator – it is sometimes cheaper. The other reason is the relatively small aluminum radiator, which does not affect the cooling performance. Nitro + both have the same length 31.0 cm, same thickness 13.5 cm and same width 2.7 slots.
Sapphire uses two different BIOS versions for the Radeon RX6800 Nitro +. At the factory level, the gaming clock is 1,980 MHz and the turbo is 2,190 MHz, the DGP maximum being 220 watts (+15 watts). However, the alternative BIOS leaves it in the reference specifications. The 16GB GTDR6 memory always runs at 8,000 MHz. The operation requires two 8-pin power inserts.
The Radeon RX6800 Nitro + has not only two, but also three BIOS versions and three different levels of BIOS switch. Once installed, the standard BIOS is on the left and the replacement system is on the middle. In perfect condition, the standard BIOS is active again, but its configuration can be fixed via Sapphire TriX.
With the Radeon RX6800 Nitro +, Sapphire offers very simple but sophisticated RGB lighting with a light strip on the edge, nitro letters on the logo and backing. There is no limited edition with RGB-LED fans like “XD Nitro +”. The monitors can be operated on three display ports 1.4 DSC interfaces or one HDMI 2.1 DSC connection; Sapphire does without USB Type-C.
Power Color Radeon RX6800 Red Dragon Im detailed
While the Power Color has a bold design with the Radeon RX6800XD Red Devil, the Red Dragon is the only one with the most polite and subtle RGB-LED lights. At 31.5 to 32.0 cm long, 2.5 to 3.0 cm wide and 1.45 to 1.60 kg, the Red Dragon is also less bulky, although the graphics card is still a big one.
Red Dragon offers two different BIOS versions. The OC BIOS is active ex-works, which provides approximately 225 watts (+20 watts) of DGP. Alternatively, there is a quiet BIOS, which is about 210 watts, 5 watts above the reference format. With the OC-BIOS, the Power Color Nitro + promises a few megahertz less than the Sapphire, with the quiet-BIOS it is still a few watts.
The graphics card can control monitors via three display ports 1.4 DSC interfaces or an HTML 2.1 DSC connection.
Comparison of design and key technical data
Radeon RX6800 Red Dragon and Sapphire Radeon RX6800 Nitro + each requires a lot of space with a length of more than 30 cm and a width of 2.5 and 2.7 seats, respectively, but differ only from each other as the following comparison is repeated.
Both graphics cards have a metal back blade that closes at the rear end of both versions, allowing the exhaust air to escape easily from the third fan – less than the PCB cooling system.
The following table compares the essential key data of the two graphics cards and compares them with the reference format.
Clock rates under loads
The computer base logs in within 30 minutes of the GPU (DGP) power consumption announced by the graphics card in Doom Eternal (UHD). The degree already mentioned is shown: the Red Dragon OC is ahead of the Nitro +, the standard BIOS is ahead of the Nitron + with the silent BIOS and the alternative BIOS. In addition, it is clear that the alternative to the factory BIOS (OC) Red Dragon Nitro + allows significantly more fluctuation than the similar with the silent BIOS or Sapphire.
On the next page: Definitions, Volume, Other Measurements and Results