Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure Review: Pretty but Expensive

Sapphire’s RX 7700 XT Pure is a great option for anyone that wants a break from the typical gunmetal or black themed graphics cards. If that’s what you’re after, you want AMD’s 7700 XT GPU, and you’re willing to pay $20 extra, read no further: This is the card for you. Otherwise, it has the the same performance and the same benefits and drawback as any other Radeon RX 7700 XT.

Specifically, it’s priced far too close to the faster RX 7800 XT to make much sense, and we’d really like to see at least a $50 price cut. That would also bring it in line with the current RX 6800 pricing, a previous generation GPU that offers a similar level level of performance, even if it’s missing some of the newer features like AV1 encoding support and DisplayPort 2.1 outputs. In short, the 7700 XT doesn’t make our list of the best graphics cards, but a price cut could easily change things.

Note that there’s no Made By AMD (MBA) reference design for the RX 7700 XT, so all the cards are third-party custom designs. Our initial review of the GPU used an XFX QICK 319 card, which comes with a factory overclock and thus ends up delivering effectively identical performance to the Sapphire Pure model. But aesthetics, fans, and coolers can make a difference as well. Here’s a rundown of the specifications, including other relevant GPUs.

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Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure and Other GPU Specifications
Graphics Card RX 7700 XT Sapphire RX 7700 XT XFX RX 7700 XT RX 7800 XT RTX 4060 Ti 16GB RTX 4060 Ti RX 6800 RX 6800 XT
Architecture Navi 32 Navi 32 Navi 32 Navi 32 AD106 AD106 Navi 21 Navi 21
Process Technology TSMC N5 + N6 TSMC N5 + N6 TSMC N5 + N6 TSMC N5 + N6 TSMC 4N TSMC 4N TSMC N7 TSMC N7
Transistors (Billion) 28.1 + 4x 2.05 28.1 + 4x 2.05 28.1 + 3x 2.05 28.1 + 4x 2.05 22.9 22.9 26.8 26.8
Die size (mm^2) 200 + 150 200 + 150 200 + 113 200 + 150 187.8 187.8 519 519
SMs / CUs / Xe-Cores 54 54 54 60 34 34 60 72
GPU Cores (Shaders) 3456 3456 3456 3840 4352 4352 3840 4608
Tensor / AI Cores 108 108 108 120 136 136 N/A N/A
Ray Tracing “Cores” 54 54 54 60 34 34 60 72
Boost Clock (MHz) 2584 2599 2544 2430 2535 2535 2105 2250
VRAM Speed (Gbps) 18 18 18 19.5 18 18 16 16
VRAM (GB) 12 12 12 16 16 8 16 16
VRAM Bus Width 192 192 192 256 128 128 256 256
L2 / Infinity Cache 48 48 48 64 32 32 128 128
ROPs 96 96 96 96 48 48 96 128
TMUs 216 216 216 240 136 136 240 288
TFLOPS FP32 (Boost) 35.7 35.9 35.2 37.3 22.1 22.1 16.2 20.7
TFLOPS FP16 (FP8) 71.4 71.8 70.4 74.6 177 (353) 177 (353) 32.4 41.4
Bandwidth (GBps) 432 432 432 624 288 288 512 512
TDP (watts) 240 245 245 263 160 160 250 300
Launch Date Sep 2023 Sep 2023 Sep 2023 Sep 2023 Jul 2023 May 2023 Nov 2020 Nov 2020
Launch Price $449 $449 $449 $499 $499 $399 $579 $649
Online Price $470 $450 $450 $500 $450 $370 $400 $500

Officially, Sapphire lists a $469 MSRP for this card, $20 more than the base RX 7700 XT price. You’re basically paying $20 for the change in aesthetics, with a bit of red lighting as a bonus. Yes, you read that correctly: There’s no RGB lighting. Instead, Sapphire provides just a red backlit logo (which can be turned on or off via a switch on the card).

Besides the cooler and appearance of the card, there’s not much to set it apart from the XFX model we’ve already reviewed. Sapphire provides a 2584 MHz boost clock, and XFX provides 2599 MHz, compared to a reference 2544 MHz spec. On paper, that means a 1.5% overclock, and a 0.6% lower OC than XFX — both of those are essentially margin of error. But you also get potentially better cooling, and that could be a much stronger selling point.

AMD’s RX 7700 XT ends up competing with the RTX 4060 Ti 16GB on price, while coming in $50 higher than the 8GB variant. You get more VRAM and bandwidth from the 7700 XT, but the usual reduction in ray tracing and AI performance and the lack of Nvidia-specific features like DLSS.

Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure Overview

The Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure looks like it should be a top-tier solution for the base GPU, but the specs say otherwise. This is a minor step up from a reference card, with a negligible overclock but some decent cooling. We’re still a bit surprised at the lack of RGB lighting — would it really have been too much to include RGB LEDs instead of red LEDs? Team Red gamers may not care, but if anyone wanted to go with an alternative lighting scheme, the white cooler shroud would have been seemingly the perfect canvas.

The packaging looks far more colorful, with purple and pink designs on a white box. Inside the box are the usual small installation guide, a white support bracket (still a bit finnicky to install, if you use it), and a manual for the bracket that references the Nitro+ gaming series of Sapphire cards. We tested a Sapphire RX 6950X Nitro+ Pure in the past, and now we have a lower-tier Pure card with the RX 7700 XT.

We also recently reviewed the Sapphire RX 7800 XT Nitro+, which has the more typical gunmetal aesthetics and full RGB lighting. Superficially, there are a lot of similarities between that card and the 7700 XT Pure, but there are clear differences under the shroud. The Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure measures 322x128x51 mm, so, it’s fractionally longer than the Nitro+ but also about 1cm shorter and thinner. It’s also much lighter, at 1130g, 473g less than the more potent Sapphire offering.

The fans are the same “Angular Velocity Fan Blade” design, however, just in white this time. Sapphire’s latest fans have proven very capable with the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX, as well as the 7800 XT, and they work just as well here with the “lesser” RX 7700 XT. As we’ll see later, cooling and noise levels are very much a strong point for the 7700 XT Pure.

Power requirements for Sapphire’s card consist of dual 8-pin connectors. That gives a lot of potential headroom, with up to 375W total power from the PEG connections, plus the PCIe x16 slot. However, Sapphire lists a TBP (Total Board Power) of 240W, 5W lower than the official reference spec. The maximum average power draw we measured while gaming was right on target, though lighter games required less power.

Display outputs consist of dual HDMI 2.1 ports and dual DisplayPort 2.1 UHBR13.5 outputs. HDMI 2.1 offers a peak data rate of 42 Gbps, while DP2.1 UHBR13.5 offers a peak data rate of 52.22 Gbps. Either way, you get up to 4K 240 Hz support with DSC (Display Stream Compression), though DP2.1 can go higher if needed. For example, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 DUHD needs the extra bandwidth for full resolution doublewide 7680×2160 240 Hz support, even with DSC. Not that many games won’t come anywhere near 240 fps at that resolution using currently available hardware.

Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure Test Setup

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We updated our GPU test PC at the end of last year with a Core i9-13900K, and for third-party (post-launch) graphics card reviews, we’ll stick with just that system. We also skip some of the extra tests that we run for launch reviews, like lower and higher resolutions, depending on the GPU, as well as stuff like AI and professional workloads.

You can check our GPU benchmarks hierarchy for a broader view of how performance stacks up against other chips, or refer to the AMD RX 7700 XT review for the professional, AI, and other resolution tests. As you’d expect, the Sapphire Pure card matches the XFX card in our 1080p ultra and 1440p ultra gaming benchmarks.

GPU Test Equipment

We’re using AMD’s release 23.9.1 drivers for this review (23.9.2 came out just after testing was finished), which should be similar to the preview launch drivers in performance. The results from other cards are from the past few months of testing, with a few updates where we noticed larger changes.

We’re including a selection of current-generation and previous-generation hardware in our charts, including cards that are one or two steps up or down from the RX 7700 XT. Of course, you can refer to our complete GPU benchmarks hierarchy to see the bigger picture of how performance stacks up against older cards.

Our current test suite consists of 15 games, nine of which are tested in pure rasterization mode — whether or not the game supports DirectX Raytracing (DXR) — and six of which are tested with DXR features enabled. While many of the games in our test suite support upscaling, that’s not a primary factor in our testing as we stick with native rendering in all cases.

We’re testing the Sapphire RX 7700 XT Pure at 1080p ultra and 1440p ultra, basically at maxed settings (though MSAA is left off in RDR2 as an example). If you want 1080p medium and 4K ultra results, check those links for the results from our initial 7700 XT testing.

Our PC is hooked up to a Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 32, one of the best gaming monitors around, allowing us to fully experience some of the higher frame rates that might be available. G-Sync and FreeSync were enabled, as appropriate. As you can imagine, getting anywhere close to the 240 Hz limit of the monitor proved difficult, as we don’t have any esports games in our test suite.

We run Windows 11 22H2, with InControl used to lock our test PC to that major release for the foreseeable future (though critical security updates still get installed monthly). Our new test PC includes Nvidia’s PCAT v2 (Power Capture and Analysis Tool) hardware, which means we can grab real power use, GPU clocks, and more during all of our gaming benchmarks. We’ll cover those results on our page on power use.

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