Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6700 XT review: Performance-boosting Trixx

The Nitro+ punches above its class thanks to Sapphire's killer Trixx Boost software.

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Trixx Boost performance: Wow!

Trixx Boost is a feature Sapphire added to last generation’s RDNA 1-based Nitro+ RX 5700 XT, configurable using the company’s Trixx management software that also controls the graphics card’s lighting effects.

The feature leverages the Radeon Image Sharpening feature AMD debuted alongside the RDNA architecture. Trixx Boost creates custom resolutions just below standard 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, which are then upscaled to fit your display. Radeon Image Sharpening (which works with all major graphics APIs now) cleans away the blurry effects usually associated with image upscaling. When you select the new custom resolutions in your game’s graphics options, performance soars, as you’ll see in our benchmarks further down.

sapphire trixx options Brad Chacos/IDG

The Trixx Boost interface.

It’s wicked-smart, and I’m shocked other GPU makers with software suites haven’t cribbed it. Honestly, Trixx Boost does nothing you can’t do manually with any graphics card by cobbling together custom resolutions in AMD or Nvidia control panels, then turning on AMD or Nvidia’s sharpening features. That’s a complicated process that entails diving deep into control panel submenus though, limiting it to enthusiasts. Trixx Boost makes it easy, and you can set it up in mere minutes.

Open the Boost tab in Trixx, use a slider to determine at what percentage of the original resolutions you want the custom resolutions created for—the default is 85 percent, which works great with the 1440p gameplay this card targets—then toggle on Radeon Image Sharpening and click Apply. Your screen will flash a few times.

screenshot 17 Brad Chacos/IDG

Screenshot of a custom resolution created using Sapphire’s Trixx Boost software. Select these in your games rather than native 4K, 1440p, or 1080p to get Trixx Boost’s benefits.

After that’s done, simply select the new custom resolutions rather than the usual 4K, 1440p, and 1080p options in your game settings and watch frame rates soar.

How high? On a par with the step-up Radeon RX 6800 that costs $100 more than the RX 6700 XT. Hot damn. Check out the 1440p and 1080p results:

sapphire trixx perf Brad Chacos/IDG

If you find the default 85-percent custom resolution scaling too blurry or otherwise compromised, you can inch it back up closer to native 100-percent scaling in granular one-percent increments until you find the sweet spot for your eyes. The closer you get to native resolution, the lower the performance gains, however.

By our eyes, the 85-percent scaling is perfect for 1440p resolution, greatly enhancing frame rates with little to no loss in visual fidelity—only a slightly softer look in menus and other static screens at times. It’s too aggressive for 1080p gameplay, though. The reduced 85-percent resolution for that works out to 1632x918, and it’s far too closed-in and blurry for our tastes, with noticeable aliasing jaggies in places. Some games also display letterboxes at the Trixx-defined resolution. If you’re playing at 1080p try setting the custom resolution to 90 or 95 percent instead, and go with whatever looks good by your eyes.

Next page: Power, thermals, and noise

At a Glance
  • The Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6700 XT delivers exceptional 1440p and high refresh rate 1080p gaming with no compromises other than ray tracing performance. It's silent, cool, and looks great, with Sapphire's optional Trixx Boost utility capable of pushing frame rates significantly higher. We aren't taking price into consideration given market conditions during a pandemic-driven global GPU shortage.

    Pros

    • Great 1440p and 1080p gaming performance
    • Trixx Boost can make performance significantly faster
    • 12GB of memory bolstered by Infinity Cache
    • Exceptional design: Very cool, whisper quite, and attractive
    • Luxurious extras like ARGB header and triple-BIOS switch

    Cons

    • No DLSS-like feature means AMD's ray tracing performance is lackluster
    • Price is high, but will be much higher on the street during global GPU shortage
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