Sapphire Technology is preparing to release its new graphics card — the Nitro R9 Fury — based on AMD’s Fiji graphics processing unit that features its own custom printed circuit board. Sapphire claims that the new Nitro R9 Fury will feature enhanced durability and slightly higher performance. In addition, it is logical to expect the adapter to offer greater overclocking potential compared to reference boards.

Sapphire is affiliated with PC Partner, a large Hong Kong-based holding, and is among the largest makers of graphics cards on the planet. The company works exclusively with AMD, which is why it offers a very comprehensive AMD Radeon product family. Sapphire’s lineup includes numerous unique products designed in-house that are not available from other manufacturers. However, when it comes to AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury family, Sapphire decided not to initially develop its own version of the more affordale R9 Fury (vanilla), unlike some other companies. The company tells us that they intentionally made the decision to introduce a Radeon R9 Fury featuring AMD’s reference design and a custom cooler that is both silent and efficient instead of developing its own PCB.

PC Partner often acts as a contract manufacturer for AMD — it produces AMD FirePro and reference AMD Radeon R9 boards, which are then sold under various brands. As a result, unlike its rivals, Sapphire is less economically motivated to develop its own designs of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and transfer manufacturing to its own facilities as soon as possible to cut its costs down. This is another reason why Sapphire decided not to alter PCB design of the Radeon R9 Fury in mid-2015. Nonetheless, the company was not standing still and has developed its custom Nitro R9 Fury video card, which is expected to hit the market in January 2016.

Sapphire’s Nitro R9 Fury features the maker’s own printed circuit board (PCB), which is noticeably different compared to AMD’s reference design. The PCB is significantly taller and longer than that developed by AMD, and features six-phase GPU voltage regulator module (VRM) that uses Sapphire’s own “Black Diamond” solid-state inductors with integrated heatsinks as well as high-quality tantalum 16K capacitors.

The new VRM provides cleaner and more stable power to the graphics processing unit, according to Sapphire. Moreover, the revamped voltage regulator module is rated to deliver around 20% higher current than the reference, which should enable better overclocking potential for the GPU. Components of the VRM are placed in a way to ensure their efficient cooling, which is why maximum temperature of the power delivery circuitry is at least 15% lower under high load compared to that on the reference graphics card, claims the developer.

The Sapphire Nitro N9 Fury retains AMD’s dual UEFI BIOS technology, hence, it should be possible for enthusiasts to relatively safely play with power limits or even try to unlock disabled stream processors. One of the BIOS settings allows increasing power and temperature limits to 300W and 80°C for greater overclocking potential

The Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury utilizes the company’s massive triple-fan Tri-X cooler with seven heatpipes, intelligent fan control, an aluminum backlplate and die-cast mounting plate for great cooling and additional reliability. Since the Tri-X cooler is large, the Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury will require 12” of space inside PC cases. Just like the regular Radeon R9 Fury video cards, the new board will need two 8-pin PCIe auxiliary power connectors.

Sapphire’s Nitro N9 Fury will sport one dual-link DVI connector, which should please owners of older displays. In addition, the card features three DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4 outputs.

The Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury is based on a cut down version of AMD's Fiji GPU, with 3584 stream processors, 224 texture units as well as 64 ROPs. The GPU will run at 1050MHz, which is slightly above AMD’s recommendations, but owners will be able to overclock the chip further. Just like other Fiji-based offerings, the Nitro R9 Fury comes with 4GB of high-bandwidth (HBM) memory clocked at 1000MHz and providing 512GB/s of bandwidth.

Sapphire yet has to announce the final price of the Nitro R9 Fury, but PC Games Hardware reports that the card will cost about the same amount of money as boards featuring AMD’s reference design.

Source: PC Games Hardware

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  • Mondozai - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    So basically, get one of these and get a high chance of getting a Fury X with a custom PCB and even more efficient cooling.

    Great deal, but is it too late? Jan of 2016 is one helluva bet to launch a new version of a big GPU.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    So you're thinking that sapphire is really just trying to do an air cooled super-fury x? I agree that it's odd to spend all of this r&d to beef up the second best gpu in the lineup. Reply
  • RussianSensation - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    I think he is implying that there is a high likelihood that some of these will unlock to a Fury X because the previous Sapphire Fury Tri-X did:

    http://wccftech.com/howto-checking-r9-fury-unlock-...

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AdvancedMicroDevices/comm...

    In other words, his point is that you could potentially end up with a sub-$500 Fury X on a custom PCB + one of the best after-market air coolers.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    I see. I didn't know about that.

    I thought that sapphire would do this ad an underhanded way to do an air cooled fury x since amd doesn't allow non-reference fury x cards (I think?). You're only allowed to do a non-reference card for the fury. So if sapphire wanted to do a suped up fury x, it has to technically be a fury.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, December 19, 2015 - link

    Oh nice thanks for the links. I wasn't aware that there was some success doing this - usually modern cards are too locked down for this sort of unlock to work. Back in the day it was a lot more common. The dual BIOS would probably come in handy if you unlock it and it's not stable. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, December 18, 2015 - link

    I'd think they'd want this out for the Christmas buying season. Once 2016 hits, people will probably be looking forward to the launch of Arctic Islands/Pascal. I know I will. Reply
  • auralcircuitry - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    It's already in stock at Newegg, I ordered one yesterday. Seems they launched early. Reply
  • LordanSS - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    I've owned several Sapphire cards over the years (5870, 7970) and they always were of high quality. My 7970 came with their custom cooler, which was very efficient and silent.

    Unfortunately AMD "lagged" a bit too much on the release of their Fury cards, so I jumped the gun and (at the time) got a 980GTX to play Witcher 3 and other stuff.

    Hopefully, by the time I feel the need to upgrade my video card again (2017 maybe), they'll have the card I need at the right time.

    As I do not live in the United States, (or the northern hemisphere for that matter), the price you usually get for these cards is wildly different. All the time, AMD has the best bang for the buck here on video cards at the top end, which is why I've bought their cards for several generations. When I bought my 7970, the competing 580GTX was actually more expensive (here) and lower performing, so it's always been an easy choice.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    The 980 is an outstanding card so you can't go wrong. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    The thing people never seem to consider is Fury-X is not mature, it's manufacturing design and memory are brand new and have virtually no headroom yet.

    The GTX980, on the other hand, overclocks extremely well. Some cards can be 10% faster than reference. This while using less power and creating less heat.
    Reply

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