Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ review: The new 1080p gaming champion

Heavy metal, refined

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Should you buy the Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+?

Definitely, if you’re in the market for a Radeon RX 590. The Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ ($280 on Newegg) is better than the XFX RX 590 Fatboy in every way, from performance to size to heat dissipation.

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The question is whether you need a Radeon RX 590. It’s the best mainstream (sub-$300) graphics card available for 1080p gaming. It puts in a damned fine showing at 1440p resolution, too, especially if you don’t mind bumping some visual settings from Ultra to High or have a FreeSync monitor to smooth out any slight frame rate hiccups. The Radeon RX 590 pounds on the GTX 1060 in every game but GTA V at roughly the same street price as Nvidia’s cards, and AMD tosses in three free triple-A games from popular series, too. There’s no reason to buy a GTX 1060 right now unless you need a mini-ITX GPU for a tiny PC, or have limited power supply capability. The Radeon RX 590 blows it out of the water.

But AMD’s other mainstream cards deliver outstanding value themselves. A huge number of gamers rock 1080p, 60Hz monitors. The Radeon RX 570 excels at high-fidelity gaming at those settings, and it can often be found for under $160 on sale. The Radeon RX 580 is a lot faster than the RX 570, but the custom Asus Strix model we tested is only 7 or 8 percent behind the Sapphire RX 590 Nitro+’s performance. You can usually find some 8GB Radeon RX 580s selling for around $200 on sale these days, and you get your choice of two of the three free games that come bundled with the RX 590 with the lesser-powered cards. That’s an absolutely stunning value that tarnishes the RX 590’s allure, especially with performance being so close.

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Highly overclocked RX 580 models with beefy custom coolers (a.k.a. something similar in quality to the Sapphire RX 590 Nitro+) still tend to cost $250 or more, though. If you’re looking for something swanky, or simply want as much future-proofing as possible under $300, opting for the Radeon RX 590’s extra oomph makes a lot of sense. Sapphire’s Nitro+ is easily the best Radeon RX 590 we’ve tested. The card delivers impressive all-around performance while staying quiet under load, and Sapphire loaded the card with luxurious features like fans that idle under light loads and a dual BIOS. It looks and feels luxurious, too.

Highly recommended. Just make sure it makes sense for you to snag a Radeon RX 590 rather than a discounted Radeon RX 580 before you pull the trigger.

This story, "Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ review: The new 1080p gaming champion" was originally published by PCWorld.

At a Glance
  • The Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ delivers superb 1080p gaming performance with few compromises, though the power draw is massive.

    Pros

    • Superb 1080p and good 1440p gaming performance
    • Effective custom cooler
    • Loaded with extra features
    • Comes with 3 free triple-A games

    Cons

    • Very high power draw
    • Discounted RX 580 GPUs offer better value
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