SAPPHIRE NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE video card front facing

Introduction

The AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT is AMD’s new flagship video card, with this SKU sitting at the very top-end of performance for desktop PC gaming from AMD.  The AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT was announced in May of 2022 as part of AMD’s 2022 Spring Refresh.  In May of 2022, AMD announced three new video cards in the Radeon RX 6000 lineup, these new RX xx50 series video cards push the performance of previously released video cards by providing faster GPU clock speeds and memory frequencies. 

The Radeon RX 6650 XT was launched with an MSRP of $399, the Radeon RX 6750 XT was launched at an MSRP of $549, and the Radeon RX 6950 XT was launched at an MSRP of $1,099.  We have reviewed the Radeon RX 6650 XT at launch, and we have also reviewed the Radeon RX 6750 XT.  Now it is time to complete the set and review the Radeon RX 6950 XT.

In today’s review, we will take a look at the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE Gaming Graphics Card with 16GB GDDR6, AMD RDNA 2, SKU# 11317-04-20G.  According to the label, the full name is SAPPHIRE NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE GAMING OC 16GB GDDR6 HDMI/TRIPLE DP.  This is a custom video card from SAPPHIRE, and it is based on SAPPHIRE’s NITRO+ PURE branding which gives it a very robust heatsink/fan and custom factory overclock along with a special OC BIOS.  We will go over all of its specifications below.

AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT

The AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT is based on NAVI 21, and the RDNA2 architecture at 7nm.  It has 5,120 Stream Processors, 80 Compute Units, 80 Ray Accelerators, 128 ROPs and 320 TMUs, and 128MB of Infinity Cache.  This is exactly the same configuration as the Radeon RX 6900 XT.  What sets the Radeon RX 6950 XT apart from the Radeon RX 6900 XT is simply a boosted GPU clock speed and faster memory.

The Radeon RX 6950 XT runs at a Game Clock of 2100MHz and a Boost Clock of 2310MHz.  Whereas the Radeon RX 6900 XT runs at a Game Clock of 2015MHz and a Boost Clock of 2250MHz.  In addition, the 16GB of GDDR6 on the Radeon RX 6950 XT runs at 18GHz versus 16GHz on the Radeon RX 6900 XT.  This brings the memory bandwidth up to 576GB/s on the Radeon RX 6950 XT whereas it is 512GB/s on the Radeon RX 6900 XT.

Due to these clock frequency increases, this brings the TDP up to 335W on the Radeon RX 6950 XT while it is 300W on the Radeon RX 6900 XT.  Otherwise, the two are very similar, the Radeon RX 6950 XT is simply a clock boosted 6900 XT on GPU and memory.

SAPPHIRE NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE

The first thing to note about this video card is the price, before now, it did have a price premium of around $1,339.99.  However, recently the price has dropped to the AMD MSRP of $1,099.99, and so now is a great time to get one if you are looking.  The price premium is due to this video card being SAPPHIRE’s NITRO+ branded video card, but it is their NITRO+ PURE video card, which sits above the regular NITRO+.  It has additional features and specs that elevate it as the top-end NITRO+ version, with a thicker and more robust cooling configuration versus the non-PURE version.  The NITRO+ PURE version also has a higher primary BIOS factory overclock, plus a faster secondary BIOS OC factory overclock.

As we mentioned above, one of the things that makes the NITRO+ PURE version better is that it has a dual-BIOS that has two different clock speeds.  In addition, the default clock speed is higher than the non-PURE version.  On the “Primary BIOS” which the card ships at by default, the GPU Game Clock is set at 2162MHz and the Boost Clock is set at 2368MHz.  This is 62MHz higher than the reference spec on the game clock and 58MHz higher on the boost clock.  However, it gets even better, there is a selectable “Secondary BIOS” called the OC BIOS which pushes the Boost Clock up to 2435MHz.  That’s 125MHz over the reference spec.  This BIOS can be selected via the switch atop the video card, or in TRIXX software.

The SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6950 XT PURE video card is based on SAPPHIRE’s TRI-X cooling technology in a thick 3-slot configuration.  It all starts with the High TG Copper PCB which is a high-density 14-layer 2oz Copper PCB.  It has a die-casted Frontplate Heatsink fitted with Angular Velocity Fan Blades and Die Casted Aluminum-Magnesium Alloy Frame and aluminum Metal Backplate enveloped in a sleek Sporty White design.

The Die Cast Aluminum-Magnesium Alloy Frame envelops the sides of the PCB to help strengthen the video card and in itself provides passive cooling.  Overlaying the PCB is the Die Cast Frontplate Heatsink that cools the VRM, Memory, and Chokes with dedicated heatsinks.  The composite heatpipes are tweaked to evenly spread out the heat to the cooling modules.  There are three axial fans on board that is designed for increased downward pressure.  The metal backplate has thermal pads for passive cooling of backside components.  Fuse Protection is built into the circuit of the external PCI-E power connectors.  The video card also supports Fan Quick Connect which makes it easy to clean or replace fans.

The video card measures 12.5” inches long, 5.2” wide, and 2.7” in height.  It is considered a 3.5 slot video card.  This is a big boy; it’s a beefy video card and you will need three+ slots free.  SAPPHIRE rates this video card at 405W Total Board Power and recommends an 850W PSU.  Due to this power demand, this video card requires 2 x 8-pin + 1 x 6-pin Power Connectors.  There are 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI.  It does support ARGB lighting with SAPPHIRE’s Nitro Glow RGB.

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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented...

4 comments

  1. Thanks @Brent_Justice for another great review.

    Even though it's late in the game for this round of GPUs I'm still so glad to see AMD truly be competitive at the top tier. It's been a long time coming. Wow! Being able to OC to 2800 MHz is impressive bringing upwards of 20% improvement over the 6900XT and then also being able to trade blows with the 3090 Ti for rasterized performance is the frosting on the cake. Factor in availability at MSRP for roughly half the price of the 3090 Ti only makes it more attractive. Roughly $1100 for something of this caliber isn't that bad of a price.
  2. That's a quite impressive boost clock.

    When I first saw the stock clocks I was wondering if this just amounted to a factory overclocked 6900xt, as my 6900xt can certainly hit over those clocks, but once you overclocked it it was apparent it was a different animal. No way my 6900xt would sit stable at 2800mhz.

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