Card Layout and Photos
Before digging into the Sapphire specific features of the Nitro R7 370 I did want to cover what the R7 370 is exactly. As with the rest of their numbered (ie 300 series cards) the R7 370 is a rebranded version of a 200 Series card. This isn’t unusual to see previous product lines to carry over with the new architecture only being seen in the top few cards (Fury). What I find unique about the R7 370 is that it is a reboot of the R7 265, it is unusual to see a card actually go up in numbers like this. For those who might not remember and frankly I wouldn’t blame you for not being able to follow this, but the r7 265 was actually a rebooted HD7850 with a little more clock speed. In other words the R7 370 is at its core a higher clocked HD7850. That said that wasn’t and isn’t a bad card.
So the Nitro R7 370 gets you 1024 stream processors and 64 Texture Units. It is clocked at 985MHz where theR7 265 was down at 900MHz and the HD7850 was even lower at 860MHz. So while it is still based on the same Pitcairn GPU there is a little more speed behind it. The 370 is available with 2Gb or 4GB but the Nitro is a 4GB model.
For its cooling design Sapphire’s new Nitro design uses two heatpipes to pull the heat from the GPU out over the heatsink. Unlike a reference card the heatsink takes up nearly the entire card and it uses the two large fans to push air down over it and against the PCB. Reference cards typically push air from one end of the card to the other but because of that they get less surface area. The Nitro cooling used a nice blacked out fan shroud to keep things contained.
The fan shroud does allow the air to get out up top and along the bottom but in a slightly more controlled design that a lot of today’s cards. Also up on the top edge, the metal strip that shows across the top edge of the card also curves around and runs part of the way down the top of the card including the Sapphire logo for builds with a window.
The end of the Nitro 370 is partially open as well for ventilation but what stood out to me was the six pin power connection being down on the end. I’ve gotten so used to seeing the power connections on the top so this was a bit of a surprise. Sapphire also followed suite with what a lot of companies have been doing recently and flipping the power connection and notching the PCB for the clip. This allows them to get the power connection tighter up against the PCB and to have the fan shroud almost up against it as well because they don’t have to leave room for you to get your hands in there.
Like the R7 265 that it is based on, the R7 370 has just the one Crossfire connection that lets you run a total of two cards together. The 290 based cards as well as the new Fury cards skip out on these all together and run Crossfire right through the PCI slot. In other words crossfire bridges are getting rare, we don’t even normally see them bundled with a lot of the cards anymore as well.
The back of the Nitro R7 370 shows us a few things. For starters Sapphire stuck with a black PCB where a lot of times with budget cards like this companies go with whatever is cheapest. I also noticed over on the back edge of the card that while the Nitro 370 only requires a single six pin power connection, they did layout the PCB for two six pin connections for additional power.
For display connections the Nitro R7 370 is keeping it old school. Where most of the newer architecture cards are quickly moving to DisplayPort for nearly all of their connections this card has two DVI ports and then just a single Display Port and a single HDMI. This is a better fit for people building a budget PC anyhow as a lot of people haven’t moved to DisplayPort monitors yet, especially people on a budget. The rest of the PCI slot does have a large air vent as well to help push some air out the back of the PC.