Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5700 review: A stunning value supercharged by clever software tricks

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Power draw, thermals, and synthetics

We also tested the Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike synthetic benchmark. Fire Strike runs at 1080p, Fire Strike Extreme runs at 1440p, and Fire Strike Ultra runs at 4K resolution. All render the same scene, but with more intense graphical effects as you move up the scale, so that Extreme and Ultra flavors stress GPUs even more. We record the graphics score to eliminate variance from the CPU.

3dm fs Brad Chacos/IDG

We test thermals by leaving either AMD’s Wattman (for Radeon GPUs) or EVGA’s Precision X1 (for GeForce GPUs) open during the F1 2018 five-lap power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

We test power draw by looping the F1 2018 benchmark for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else, and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

power Brad Chacos/IDG

No surprises here. The slightly overclocked Sapphire Pulse draws slightly more power than the reference Radeon RX 5700, while its dual-axial cooler provides much better cooling. It’s also significantly quieter even in Performance mode. Not bad for an extra nine dollars! And while we covered this in more detail in our original Radeon RX 5700 review, it’s worth highlighting again that AMD’s new RDNA architecture on the 7nm manufacturing process has managed to pull ahead of Nvidia’s vaunted power efficiency, delivering more performance at less peak power.

Next page: Should you buy the Sapphire Pulse RX 5700?

At a Glance
  • The Radeon RX 5700 already provided stunning value for 1440p gamers. Sapphire's custom Pulse RX 5700 builds atop that for just $9 more, and pushes performance even further with its excellent Trixx Boost upscaling.


    • Excellent gaming performance
    • Cooler and quieter than reference designs
    • Trixx Boost software uses upscaling for great FPS gains
    • Dual-BIOS for performance or acoustic focus
    • PCIe 4.0 compatible


    • Plastic shroud
    • No dedicated ray tracing hardware
    • Trixx Boost feature not available at launch
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