Sapphire Radeon NITRO+ RX 480 8GB OC Review

Overcloking Performance, Benchmarks, Temperatures and Power Consumption


OK, so before I provide the results, let me show you how I got there.  First off, this is not a quick thing, to overclock correctly, you have to spend a few hours, have some patience, a paper and a pen because you will be there for a while recording your previous attempts.

Below, I will list before and after results of course of benchmarks but I will show reports from Sapphires TRIXX 3.0 and GPU-Z.

Before                                                                                            After

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So with this overclock, I was able to 79Mhz from the GPU Clock and 30Mhz from the memory clock.  With that, I was to raise my bandwidth, pixel fill rate and texture fill rate.  I didn’t spend a ton of hours doing this, I had to get this review out but it looks like I could have squeezed out some more performance.

OK, so let’s check it out under TRIXX 3.0 itself.






I modified the GPU clock


Then also raised the “Power Limit”


Also the “GPU Voltage”


The “Memory Clock”


And finally the “Current Fan speed”



This program does more than just overclock the card, but I will get into that a little later in the review.  Let’s get into the comparisons.



So with this overclock you can see that performance improved 4.98% from the stock output of 11,517 to its overclocked counterpart at 12,105.  Of course, power usage increased from 350 Watts average to 388 Watts average a 10.30% increase.  With that, since now I have control of the fans; the temperature on the overclock was actually lower, 73°C specifically.  Standard clocks temperature was 83°C so the improvement to 73°C, a 12.82% improvement but of course it was a little louder.

OK, let’s jump to Metro Last Light.




From this overclock we can see the average frame rate increased from 47.08 to 48.44, a 2.85% increase in performance.  With the increase came a decrease in power consumption of 6.75% and a cooling improvement of 9.40%.  You might wonder why a decrease in average power consumption, if the card is cooler it will take less power, heat increases power consumption so this is a great example on why cooling is so important.  Now onto 1920 x 1080.



This overclock provides an average frame rate increase of 3.62%, an increase in performance from 33.11FPs to 34.33FPS.  As we saw before, the increase came with a tiny decrease in power consumption of 0.77% and a cooling improvement of 10.67%.  Now onto 2560×1440.


A 10°C improvement in cooling due to the custom fan profile though wattage was higher on both average and max, can win them all the time.  As for FPS, there was a measly 3.84% improvement from the base clocks to the OC, from 20.97FPS to 21.79FPS.

Metro Last Light shows a very small improvement across the board in reference to FPS.  I have known this benchmark to bring very powerful cards alike to its knees, I think aside from it being a game that requires a lot of resources, I think it’s also a very poorly optimized game.  It is a great game to keep in my suite though, who knows when a card will show improvement again.

Next up is Thief.




While performance is slightly better on average here on the Extra OC at 92.4FPS up from 92.1FPS on stock, the temperate went up a bit too, from 68°C to 70°C.  The power usage went up from 331 Watts to 376Watts, a 12.73% increase in power usage.  Thankfully this is only 1280×1024 but there still was an FPS improvement, hopefully no one is using that resolution but it can happen.  OK, let’s check out 1920×1080, hopefully a better improvement there.



Performance nudged itself up just a bit, 84.4FPS from 82FPS a 2.88% increase.  The temps went up 2.74% and the average power consumption went up as well 8.43%.  A nice increase also was the Minimum frame rate, which is never anything good to look at, but being that it is at 56.3FPS from 45.6FPs, it shows that even when the game dips, it is 100% playable, very nice.  Now, let’s take a look at 2560×1440.



While not a huge improvement, the extra overclock allow for Thief to be played over the magical 60FP at 61.5FPS, a 5.34% improvement.  The temperatures stayed the same, but average power consumption went up 32.92%, a 119 Watt increase.

Thief showed more improvement than Metro Last Light did, but what will it do for Tomb Raider?  Let’s have a chat with Laura.




Not sure if an overclock is really needed here, but would you say not to extra performance,… I think not.

On average FPS we can see there was a 2.59% improvement, a 5.5FPS improvement but once again the power hungry power monster strikes again.  From the base clock speeds where we saw an average power consumption of 380 to 405, an 11.49% increase even though cooling was improved by 6.80%.  Again, this is 1280×1024, a resolution that I would think not many would use now a days, but it is still worth mentioning.  Let’s jump to a more commonly used resolution, 1920x 1080.



I will tell you, since I did increase the wattage some; it looks like the OC really does need it.  Before I get into the performance, we can see here that the average power consumption went up from 360 Watts to 406Watts, a 46Watt increase in power draw but the heat only went up 2°.  Performance also increased on the average, from 155.4FPS to 163.5FPS, a 5.08% increase in performance.  Let’s see how much we gain in performance on 2560×1440.



Not that the game needed anymore FPS thrown at it (I threw up in my mouth a little writing that) but it still did benefit from the OC.  We can see that at the stock clocks it score a nice 95.1FPS but under the OC, it show up a bit to 103.1FPS a 8.07% increase.  The temperature stayed the same between the 2, but the average wattage jumped up 17.53% from 359Watts to 428Watts.  Let’s check out Ashes of the Singularity.




Here we can see a slight improvement from 28.7FPS to 30.2FPS a 5.09% increase in performance.  The temperature did drop from 75°C to 73°C, a 2.7% improvement but the power comes back to haunt us.  We can see a 13% increase in power draw from the 353 Watt average on the stock clocks to the 405 Watt average on the Extra OC clock.  It is understandable that the wattage would rise, being that we have increase voltages on the GPU, but I didn’t realize how significant those increases would be.  Now mind you, it’s a small in small increase, it just looks relatively large because we are dealing with such low wattage, all below 500Watts but it is worth mentioning.

Let’s jump to 1920×1080.



As we saw before, a slight increase in FPS is noticed between stock clocks and the Extra OC clocks.  To be more precise, a 4.76% increase coming in from 22.6FPS to 23.7FPS.  With that improvement came a 5.33% dip from 77°C to 73°C and a wattage consumption of 8.63%.  The overclock ended up consuming 32Watts more than the base clock speeds.  Now let’s check out the difference on 2560×1440.



A fraction of an FPS was felt here, and the percentage somehow seems more meaningful than the actual FPS, but it came in at an increase of 2.15% but actually it was 18.4 to 18.8, .4 FPS.  That .4 though actually consume less power on an average though, 1.68% less.  What’s best is that it was actually cooled a little better too, 2.70% better cooling, 75°C to the overclocks 73°C.

Let’s go over to Tom Clancy’s The Division.




Here we can see the overclock actually did help quite a bit.  It took what was almost 60FPS and too it to 71.7FPS, a very nice 44.67% increase from 57.8FPS to 71.7FPS and the cooling also improved 21.47%.  With the added performance, came a slight hit in power consumption.  We were at 372 Watts on average on stock but with the overclock we jumped up to 380Watts a 2.13% increase, but at least we can see where the power was used here.  Let’s go to a much more realistic resolution.



Another perfect example of where overclocking does what it’s supposed to do.  Here we can see where the stock speeds were originally 49.5FPS, decent but you will notice an occasional chug, but on the OC we jumped all the way to 58FPS.  The increase here was a decent 6.65% improvement; there was also a 4.08% improvement in cooling, 75°C to 72°C.  Following previous examples, we see that average wattage consumption here was raised 6.65% from 378 to 404Watts.  2560×1440 is next, my preferred resolution.



I thought here we were seeing a trend, but while the improvement in performance was not significant, there was still a brief improvement.  We see here a meager 3.32% improvement, though even though it was not at 60FPS, it was still very playable as you can see in the video I posted previously, but also linked here

I would prefer to hit 60FPS, but as you saw in the video, if you turn a few things off, it does not affect too much of the visual quality but it does improve gameplay significantly.

So let’s jump back into how we were able to obtain these overclocks and a few other features as well.

Iggy Castillo
I have spent many years in the PC boutique name space as Product Development Engineer for Alienware and later Dell through Alienware's acquisition and finally Velocity Micro. During these years I spent my time developing new configurations, products and technologies with companies such as AMD, Asus, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and more. The Arts, Gaming, New & Old technologies drive my interests and passion. Now as my day job, I am an IT Manager but doing reviews on my time and my dime.
Iggy Castillo
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