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Sapphire RX 5700 PULSE 8GB Review

Rating: 8.0.

AMD's Navi-based RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics cards launched last month, and we received them very favourably with both cards coming in faster than their Nvidia counterparts at the same price. The major letdown was, of course, the reference cooler, so we have been eagerly waiting for custom cards to see what they can do. Well, the wait is over as we can now present our review of Sapphire's RX 5700 Pulse!

Ditching the blower-style cooler for a traditional dual-fan design, Sapphire's RX 5700 Pulse should hopefully offer improved temperatures and acoustics versus the reference card. It is worth pointing that Pulse is a more entry-level family, designed to offer solid performance without much in the way of added frills or extras which can drive the price up. We are expecting to see Nitro cards from Sapphire as well, but at the moment we are still waiting for details about those cards.

As for the price, AMD's RX 5700 has a MSRP of £329 and reference cards have been available at – or just above – those prices pretty much since the initial launch on July 7. Sapphire has confirmed to us that the 5700 Pulse will cost £365, with Overclockers UK also listing the card at that price. This makes the Pulse £36 more expensive than the MSRP, an 11% increase.

 RX 5700 RX 5700 XT   RX Vega 56 RX Vega 64   Radeon VII
Architecture  Navi Navi Vega 10 Vega 10  Vega 20
Manufacturing Process  7nm 7nm 14nm 14nm  7nm
Transistor Count 10.3 billion 10.3 billion 12.5 billion 12.5 billion 13.2 billion
Die Size  251mm² 251mm² 486mm² 495mm² 331mm²
Compute Units  36 40 56 64  60
Stream Processors  2304 2560 3584 4096  3840
Base GPU Clock Up to 1465MHz Up to 1605MHz 1156 MHz 1274 MHz 1400 MHz
Game GPU Clock Up to 1625MHz Up to 1755MHz n/a n/a n/a
Boost GPU Clock Up to 1725MHz Up to 1905MHz 1471 MHz 1546 MHz  1750 MHz
Peak Engine Clock n/a n/a 1590 MHz  1630 MHz  1800 MHz
Peak SP Performance Up to 7.95 TFLOPS Up to 9.75 TFLOPS Up to 10.5 TFLOPS Up to 12.7 TFLOPS Up to 14.2 TFLOPS
Peak Half Precision Performance Up to 15.9 TFLOPS Up to 19.5 TFLOPS Up to 21.0 TFLOPS Up to 25.3 TFLOPS  Up to 28.1 TFLOPS
Peak Texture Fill-Rate Up to 248.4 GT/s Up to 304.8 GT/s  Up to 330.0 GT/s  Up to 395.8 GT/s  432.24 GT/s
ROPs 64 64 64 64  64
Peak Pixel Fill-Rate Up to 110.4 GP/s Up to 121.9 GP/s Up to 94.0 GP/s Up to 98.9 GP/s 115.26 GP/s
Memory Bandwidth 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 410 GB/s 483.8 GB/s  1 TB/s
Memory Interface  256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit 2048-bit  4096-bit
Board Power  185W 225W 210W 295W  300W

To recap the core spec of the RX 5700, the card is a cut-down version of the new Navi 10 GPU with 36 Compute Units (CUs) and 2304 stream processors. The GPU itself is fabbed on TSMC's 7nm process and has a small die size of 251mm².

For clock speeds, Sapphire has pushed things a little bit, with a rated game clock of 1700MHz – 75MHz higher than reference speed. Remember, the ‘game clock' isn't a guaranteed figure but should be representative of the speeds the GPU is able to achieve while gaming. This is something we test later in the review.

Lastly, 8GB of GDDR6 memory is provided with the RX 5700, operating at 14Gbps over a 256-bit bus. These are actually exactly the same memory modules as found on Nvidia's Turing-based RTX cards (bar the 2080 SUPER).

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