Q+A with Sapphire Ed! | Level One Techs

The Radeon RX500 series cards are out! Some have called these cards a “Gen 2” 400 series cards – not a lot of tweaks or changes – we’re going to have a sit-down Q&A and demo with Ed from Sapphire next Sunday and we wanted to invite questions about the new cards from our community.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://level1techs.com/article/qa-sapphire-ed

In his opinion, what's the coolest thing that Polaris does differently from the previous architecture that is seen in the RX 550?

I have two quick fire questions for SapphireEd

  1. Will we see any more "ITX Compact" based cards like the ol R9-285 / R9-380 in the future? I really felt like those cards were so under-rated coming from Sapphire. Also it would of been awesome to see it with the 570 or 580. in the 8GB Flavors for small form factor PCs.

  2. What are your honest to god thoughts on the RX 500 series? did you feel like there were no need for these to exist? cause I mean it seems like a waste for people who have already invested onto a RX 470 or a RX 480.


Will anything like the R9-295X2 ever happen again, do you think?

Will Sapphire came out with a watercooled GPU for the coming Vega architecture or will stick to air cooling?

Are dual GPUs (two dies and a double RAM array on a single card), in your opinion, a thing of the past given the amount of power manufacturers are able to pack in a single GPU? Is is true for consumers, professionals or both?

Why where is no new Vapor-X cards? Also how fast is Vega?

Q: AMD has just recently released updated firmware for the R9 Fury X and R9 Nano cards. Might there be any chance of those updates trickling down to other cards like the Sapphire R9 Fury Nitro in the future? Nice card in general by the way.

EDIT: Oops, that might have been me fishing up some exactly one year old news where AMD released new firmware for Fury X and Fury Nano, but it was never explained why vanilla Fury got no update. Nevermind.

Wouldn't it have made more sense to do this after vega :wink:


Does Sapphire have a half height and 75w that doesn't have problems with older boards? I heard there was a bug with the RX 400 series where it would draw a little more than 75W from the PCIe Slot making it unstable on older Motherboards. So do you have ore are planing a RX 560 low profile? I like the idea of using an old SFF Dell or HP and have it be the little engine that could.

Has Sapphire replaced the inferior fan design from their 480 cards? I purchased a Sapphire Nitro+ 480 card. Within two days of system install said card had a fan that was rattling. Not only that, when I contacted Sapphire they deferred me to a very sketchy email/website that I assume was their fan supplier. What has been done to improve this design/situation?

Hey Ed,
Why does AMD Radeon pricing suck in India?

Hoping with Vega that since its HBM a lot of the cards will be this size.

Pretty sure its import laws, hence why apple is building manufacturing sites there to gain more of that market.

Ed, do you think the future is with mounting multiple GPUs on one PCB, since after 7nm, there really is no breakthrough tech that will allow chips to go smaller, so, if they can't go smaller, they must mount more chips on a PCB right?

Also, when are you going to be back on the AMD twitch channel, you were awesome on those streams!

I know it's meant to be around the 500 series, but I'm interested in this also.

Maybe a more general question on if Sapphire plans to offer watercooled options on their cards.

Having to buy a GPU, then a waterblock separately means additional cost as well as wasting the fan cooling components.

“Gen 2” indeed. Any comments to the flashing of rx480 so they can reach rx580 levels of performance. Do you personally discourage or encourage flashing in general.

Question: Why have Sapphire ditched the triple fan designs, such as Trix, Toxic (270X and 280X) and Vapor X (280X and up)...
I just want a big quiet triple fan cooler..

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If someone has an older card and buys a 580, what's the oldest gen card where they wouldn't get a performance benefit from Crossfire?
For example, if a 480 would but a Fury wouldn't.

Also (are we allowed more than one?) will single-slot high-performance cards make a return, akin to the new single-slot 1070?

Does it make any difference to you how a customer uses a graphic card?
In my case: I use one graphic card for my main system (Fedora 25) and one passed into a virtual machine running Windows 10.

Connected to the former question:
Are there any circumstances where a manufacturer (sometimes) wants to restrict the usage of their graphic cards?
For example that I may not pass the second graphic card to a virtual machine.

Still walking inside the "graphic card passed into a virtual machine" scenario:
Are overclocking tools, like the provided ones by the AMD software suit, still safe to use inside a VM?
What happens if (out of whatever technical reason) I break my graphic card? Is it still a warranty case?

I know that these questions are probably not that easy to answer. But I'm still interested in what a manufacturer thinks about them. Especially to get a contrast to the actual companies who produce the chips like AMD or NVIDIA.

I know its an old chestnut.. but cards with upgradable vram

will we ever see them and if not, why not?