Tiny Form Factor, Big-Time Performance
Every week the rule book that says big graphics cards equals better graphics is being torn up.
It seems more and more GPUs are being released that pack epic performance in a compact box.
The card is miles cheaper than the GTX 970 and the R9 Nano but still packs some impressive performance that should allow anyone building a mid-range gaming PC to play pretty much anything at 1920×1080 resolution, at a high frame rate and look great in the process.
When you’re building a gaming PC you should spend a good portion of your budget on your graphics card. It’s the one component that has the biggest impact on how your games look, feel and perform.
It dictates the level of detail, screen resolution and speed at which you can enjoy your games.
I’ve pulled together a pre-made build list that includes this compact AMD graphics card, skip ahead to take a look at the components or click below to buy.
The typical graphic card sits on a large circuit board that can measure up to 12 inches long and consist of a graphics processing unit (basically the card’s own CPU), video memory, a fan (or two) and a heat sink.
This compact AMD graphics card manages to squeeze everything into a much smaller package measuring just 6.7 inches long.
Compact AMD Graphics Card
The card comes in an very small box. I half expected to find a few sticks of RAM I’d ordered and was surprised when I realized it was actually the graphics card!
It’s well-made, benefitting from four solid copper cooling pipes and a large heatsink. The card has a single fan that makes very little noise, even when operating at full speed.
The card also features top-of-the-range components normally reserved for Sapphire’s top-level cards such as the Nitro Radeon R9 390.
Sapphire says that these help to lengthen the card’s lifespan while also allowing the card to run more efficiently and cooler.
The card supports DVI-D, HDMI and dual mini-DisplayPort connections. Helpfully Sapphire includes a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter in the box.
The Parts to Build Your Own Sapphire
R9 380 ITX System
Total Cost: $925
(Please note prices are subject to daily fluctuations)
While the afore-mentioned cards are designed to game at 2560×1440 screen resolutions and above the Sapphire R9 380 ITX is built for gamers who want to play at 1920×1080 resolutions, which means most of the game-playing world.
It is designed by AMD to compete against (and beat) Nvidia’s GTX 960 series of cards.
Tested in Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4 the card achieved the following results:
The card outperformed an Asus R9 290 by a clear 400 points demonstrating how much of an advantage the new AMD cards have over the last generation.
In tests the card was easily able to handle Witcher 3 at 1920×1080 screen resolution at high detail settings, but it struggled to produce a consistently smooth frame rate at ultra detail settings.
The card supports AMD Eyefinity, for multi-screen use of four monitors and is CrossFire ready, so can be used in any multi-GPU setup that you’re planning. It also DirectX 12 ready and supports OpenGL 4.5 too.
|Chipset Architecture||Graphics Core Next (GCN) 28nm|
|Typical Power Draw||190W|
|Length||6.7 x 4.5 x 1.4 inches|
I’m a big fan of the mini-ITX form factor, and that’s not going to change as long as Sapphire and other manufacturers continue to support such good quality small form factor graphics cards.
With this compact AMD graphics card Sapphire has delivered outstanding mid-range performance at a highly competitive price.
If you’re building a gaming PC with aim of playing games at 1920×1080 resolution this could well be the card for you.
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If you’re interested in other components or PC systems please check out my other guides, or for the latest news and reviews head to the blog.
If you have any questions about the Sapphire R9 380 ITX, or would like recommendations on other components or hardware you could use, drop me a line on Twitter, send me a picture on Instagram, or join my community on Facebook.