AMD's newest desktop GPU, Radeon RX 6600 XT is an impressive piece of engineering hamstrung by the twin evils of a subjectively high SEP and lack of availability. On the plus side, the restrained power consumption lends itself to a partner card small in size and packing only a single power connector.
Sapphire has exactly this thinking with its Pulse edition model. Equipped with a £349.99 SEP - though etailers that have it in stock are charging £375 or so - it ought to do battle against partner GeForce RTX 3060 and Ti cards.
The company knows it can reuse cooling technology from the RX 5000 Series. There is no exact equivalent, but the heatsink design and dimensions are most closely allied to the RX 5500 XT.
In particular for this card, that means 240mm length, 120mm height and 45mm width. Though size is absolutely restrained compared to monster boards we typically see, this is officially a 2.2-slot card. Worth knowing if you plan to use it in a small-form-factor system.
Pulse sits below Nitro and Toxic in Sapphire's pecking order. Building a decent card to a lower budget necessitates removing some goodies. Gone is RGB, over-the-top cooling, dual BIOSes, and even fan quick connectors from previous Pulses.
No big misses, really, and the 606g weight speaks to how easy Sapphire thinks this model is to cool. TGP is set to a standard 145W and this Pulse matches the default specifications by adhering to a 2,593MHz boost speed. A 500W PSU is ample.
The solitary 8-pin power connector is most welcome for clean building aesthetics. The PCB ends there, too, while the basic heatsink uses twin heatpipes to wick away the heat. Six screws hold the twin-fan shroud in place.
Sapphire uses two CF9010H12D ball-bearing 95mm fans common across other Radeon cards. They duly switch off at idle loads and tend to report into action at around 60°C. Small pads between fan and heatsink do a good job at eliminating vibration.
Peering at the heatsink reveals the single-piece design has the appropriate appendages to keep the VRMs and memory covered, though we'd describe this solution as basic rather than enthusiast.
In fact, we reckon Sapphire goes about it the right way. Perhaps the board could be made even smaller and presented in a strict dual-slot form factor for those space-constrained systems.
Here is where you can see the fan shroud sitting slightly proud of the dual-height I/O bracket. Outputs are immediately familiar.
Sapphire backs this board with a two-year warranty. Those wanting a smidgen of extra speed and better cooling can always opt for the Nitro version of the RX 6600 XT, currently available for £400.
Still, given the design and relatively meagre proportions of the underlying die, along with the use of common GDDR6 memory presented with 8GB capacity across a 128-bit interface, we can't shake the feeling that this card ought to be priced at under £300, especially as no value-adding games are included in the bundle.