Backstopping those frequencies is Sapphire’s legendary vapor chamber technology and its purpose-built Vapor-X heatsink. With it, the R9 290’s temperatures remain well in check, clock speeds are balanced and acoustics are among the quietest we’ve seen. The Intelligent Fan Control also brings something unique to the table by either sacrificing idle temperatures for the ultimate low noise solution or keeping RPMs up on all fans for a more balanced approach. We preferred IFC enabled since all fans engage the second the card detects a continual GPU load so the maximum temperatures between the two modes ended up being identical.
Sapphire focus a lot of their research and development time into dropping board temperatures as much as possible. VRM temperatures on other R9 290X cards may hit 95c under Furmark load, but the VRMs on the Sapphire R9 290X Vapor-X OC hold steady at a staggering 60c-63c under the same conditions. This will help improve longevity and reliability of the board, especially if you are living in a humid, warm country
As for the card itself, Sapphire has done a really good job. The Tri-X fan is a great cooler. We saw it perform well on the R9 290X 4GB from them, and today it again does an excellent job. What we really like, though, is the overclock that Sapphire is offering us. They've given the core a nice bump, but unlike most companies, they have not chosen to ignore the memory clock. Instead, they've also given the 4GB of GDDR5 a slight performance bump. Combined with the core increase, we receive a really nice little performance boost across the board.
The Sapphire R9 290X Vapor-X OC 4GB graphics card is a very balanced graphics card. The designers of this card beefed up pretty much every aspect of this card and came up with a card that looks great, is powerful and very quiet. When looking for a Radeon™ R9 290X graphics card to purchase you’ll want to pay close attention to the cards VRM temperatures and they were excellent on the R9 290X Vapor-X. The combination of the Vapor-X base plate and Tri-X heatsink and fan structure did the trick!
It is great to see Sapphire continually making improvements to their graphics cards. You know so many companies will put out a line of cards when the new GPUs are announced and we will not see a card from them until another new line of GPUs come out. What Sapphire has done with this card is take the already great Tri-X cooling solution and add their vapor-chamber technology to it. This not only improves cooling, but also allows for Sapphire to factory-overclock the card.
Unlike other manufacturers (who slapped on one of their pre-existing heatsinks) Sapphire went back to the drawing board, they redesigned the Vapor-X cooler enhancing it in multiple ways which include, a larger vapor chamber, Tri- X cooling with Intelligent Fan Control, Component Heat Spreader ("Along the edge of the card the PCB is extended and one of the copper layers left exposed. An additional heatsink mounted directly to this copper layer allows heat absorbed into the PCB from the GPU and other components to be transferred to the heatsink and cooled by the airflow. This feature alone can reduce core temperature by 2 degree C.") and a Back plate which assists in heat displacement.
Starting with the build quality and design of the R7 250X Vapor-X we have a card which creates a good first impression with the attractive heatsink shroud and blue PCB. We get decent quality Hynix memory on this value orientated card and Sapphire don't cut any corners when it comes to performance and features, factory overclocking the product to maximise framerates and sticking with a good selection of outputs. In terms of performance we have a card which never went above 61°C when gaming and the difference between idle use and load is only 80w. We found there to be around 90MHz headroom on the core (125MHz memory) for manual overclocking using Sapphires own Trixx utility and in each of the games we tested we were able to play at 1920x1080 with high detail, and in some cases ultra/max. So that brings us to value where the 250X Vapor-X retails for around £89 which for a custom design card which has low power use, good temps and decent framerates at 1920x1080 seems a great deal.
The Sapphire Dual-x R9 280 is a surprising graphics card that delivers power to users looking for a mid-tier graphic card
The Sapphire Radeon™ R9 280 Dual-X card uses established, well-grounded cooling on a capable card
Sapphire’s R9 280X Vapor-X Tri-X OC graphics card is a great product. It is probably the best implementation of the R9 280X I have seen to date – and I have tested a lot of R9 280Xs! The combination of quiet operation, excellent temperatures, solid performance and impressive styling make the Sapphire R9 280X Vapor-X Tri-X OC graphics card a top contender for your high-end Gaming PC