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8 GB Sapphire R9 290X Vapor-X Listed; Costs €730

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments

Sapphire's 8 GB variant of an R9 290X graphics card has finally surfaced.

For quite a while, it's been rather uncertain whether there would be an 8 GB variant of any R9 290X graphics card, and it was rumored that Sapphire would be coming with one. Later, this rumor was disregarded; however, it appears to have now reached shops over in the EU.

The Sapphire R9 290X Vapor-X 8 GB carries the new Vapor-X cooler, which is built with a vapor chamber inside of it for even better thermal performance than the already very impressive Tri-X cooler. It has three fans, a handful of heat pipes and a massive aluminum fin array.

The GPU aboard this specific card is clocked at 1060 MHz, giving it a 60 MHz overclock over reference frequencies. The better part though, is that it is actually capable of sustaining these frequencies, unlike reference coolers on R9 290(X) graphics cards. The 8 GB of GDDR5 memory is clocked at an effective speed of 5.6 GHz.

Pricing for the unit is set at €730 over at in Germany, while the card can be yours for £600 in the UK at Overclockers UK. No word on U.S. availability yet.

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Add your comment Display 18 Comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Urzu1000 , May 12, 2014 8:10 AM
    This is probably not the most intelligent thing to say after reading this article, but I'm a big fan of the Sapphire color-scheme. Black and blue just looks nice on a large graphics card like this.
  • 1 Hide
    David Dewis , May 12, 2014 9:11 AM
    So how much of difference will this make? I'm assuming this will make a bigger difference at 4K
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 10:11 AM
    This is not a production model. There were a handful of cards made (a couple hundred) and unless there is a change, Sapphire will not produce more or distribute them anywhere else. Also, these cards went on sale 2 weeks ago.
  • 0 Hide
    Amdlova , May 12, 2014 10:23 AM
    miss the time when you get an trident 3d image with only 4mb. put an monster 12mb aside (voodoo 2) (only 800x600) in sli can do 1024x768... Old times.... now we have this monster 8gb vram i think iam to old right now. my first graphic card have 16k only. that is x 524288 more times than that time.
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 10:37 AM
    The flaw with these cards in my opinion is that they really mandate the purchase of a second. So the cost is in fact double. One GPU is not enough for 4K so a dual gpu setup is needed to justify the vram. However, then you cannot crossfire this with a card with less vrarm or the extra 4gb of vram goes unused. It is a bit of a run-around, because I cannot see the performance difference in an 8gb crossfire setup being enough to justify the price on the gpus versus a 4gb crossfire setup. Just buy 2 of the 290x vapor-x oc cards for roughly $700 less than these in crossfire.
  • 0 Hide
    n3cw4rr10r , May 12, 2014 1:13 PM
    Would this be better than a R9 295x2? I mean hell its almost half the price. IfI can get this for $750-$800 ....
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 1:22 PM
    Would this be better than a R9 295x2? I mean hell its almost half the price. IfI can get this for $750-$800 ....

    No, that is not a valid comparison. The valid comparison is a set of crossfired 290x with 4gb of ram, preferrably non-reference.

    The reason is the single gpu may have more vram to buffer frames but will lack the processing power. This card is again really intended to be crossfired and used in 4K, eyefinity in my opinion.

    A single card like this is overkill unless you are gaming on a small to medium sized single 4K monitor. This will not be enough for large 4K displays or 4K eyefinity on a single gpu.

    Reading your comment again, the price above is in Euros, converted to USD = $1007.40 plus import fees, taxes and international shipping. You are looking at about $1300/card. It is not a deal but a novelty item like Nvidia's Titan-Z. You do not buy it sensibly.

    I suspect you can crossfire a pair of non-ref 290x cards for that price and get better performance overall with the mining crazed prices coming down so rapidly these days.
  • -1 Hide
    n3cw4rr10r , May 12, 2014 1:25 PM
    Wouldnt running a single gpu be better than two gpus in crossfire, especially in terms of heat and noise?
  • 2 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 1:37 PM
    Wouldnt running a single gpu be better than two gpus in crossfire, especially in terms of heat and noise?

    Yes, on that account it would. A single gpu solution is always the best choice if it can handle your needs. If not the dual-gpu or sli/crossfire is your next choice. Realize that a dual-gpu behaves almost identically as 2 cards in sli/crossfire. The advantage is space, noise and cooling.

    With that being said, you should look at the 780 Ti, this card (but the 4gb oc version), or the MSI lightning 290x (though the prices on the MSI card a unjustifiable higher than this card's 4gb oc version which has the same core clock, but higher mem clocks out of the box), if you want a single card solution.

    Noise and thermal differences amongst those cards becomes nit-picking.

    If you want to have a dual-gpu solution you should look at Titan-Z (not worth the price), the 295X2 if you are concerned about thermals and noise enough to overpay, or 2 non-ref 290x cards with good cooling as the AMD scaling in crossfire is noticeably better than NVIDIA's sli since abandoning the crossfire bridge and communicating across the mem bus, which leaves the price difference between the 780 Ti cards in SLI not the best choice in price or performance.
  • 0 Hide
    firefoxx04 , May 12, 2014 2:43 PM
    This will be nice for multi card setups that would otherwise have more gpu power than they need when coupled with just 4GB vram
  • 0 Hide
    chicofehr , May 12, 2014 3:34 PM
    I have 3x1600 and I could use the 8GB. 3 or 4 gb just isnt enough at 7680x1600. Even older games seem to max out my 3GB on my card. Most games hover around 2850GB all the time according to GPUZ. Never hits 3GB but I think the last 150MB is reserved for something else but its all maxed out in every game that can support eyefinity.
  • 0 Hide
    chicofehr , May 12, 2014 3:35 PM
    I meant 2850MB
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 6:24 PM
    If you had a total 8 gb in crossfire shared as 4gb per card (please note that the 4gb + 4gb does not mean 8gb available total in corssfire, it does not work that way) that would resolve the load issues. The total work load would be shared requiring less per card. So a task needing 4gb of frame buffer can be spread across two cards and never approach the bottleneck.
  • 0 Hide
    wombatp3 , May 12, 2014 7:51 PM
    Just to clarify, OverclockersUK do ship internationally and the UK price quoted in the article includes VAT. As an overseas buyer you would not pay this tax, so the price would be 499 pounds UK. Also, in Australia we don't pay import duty/tax on anything below $1000 australian. This 8 gb card is therefore cheaper than some 4 gb 290x cards here. Future-proofing against the 4K games with very high texture options that will surely come....why not?
  • 2 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 8:12 PM
    I agree if you live in Australia.

    I live in Canada, when this card appeared for pre-order 2 weeks ago I immediately put 2 in the shopping cart. DHL international would ship it to me for approx 30 pounds ~= $60 CAD.

    At 499 pounds to CAD that amounts to $919.98 CAD. Then I will pay duties, roughly around 13-15% putting this at 1039.58. Taken together, the final value is approximately (as the duties are somewhat uncertain), $1100+ CAD. The expected minimum total where I live would then be $2200+ for crossfire.

    I then emptied the shopping cart and pre-ordered two of the 4gb OC versions which feature a faster core and mem clock on for $659.99 USD a piece or $745.79 CAD.

    Total price is $1319.98 USD or approximately $1491.58 after approximate duties. Shipping cost me $30. Total cost is then roughly $1525 CAD, a difference of $700.

    $700 for an extra shared 4gb of vram, slower out of the box clocks, and the uncertainties of international overseas shipping makes this a no-brainer.

    That means, for me, the extra 4 gb of vram in crossfire is not anywhere near worth the price.

    I should just SLI a couple of Titan-Z cards to be "future proof" .... sarcasm included at no extra charge. Come on Nvidia really $3000, I mean the 780 Ti is definitely the hands down best single gpu solution, but the Titan-Z? Does it come with beluga caviar, champagne and a plaque? Do people have to kiss your ass as the default greeting upon learning you own one? Ha Ha Ha ... I laugh at my own jokes... sorry.
  • 0 Hide
    wombatp3 , May 12, 2014 8:21 PM
    Yes, graphics card value should not vary this much depending upon geography. I have always had single Nvidia cards and agree that they rule for single GPU but AMD scaling is better for the crossfire multi-monitor setup I'm putting together for my gaming-mad son. I think Nvidia will be embarassed into a major price-drop on the Titan-Z in the near future. Perhaps they will relaunch it under a pseudonym to disguise the back-down.
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 12, 2014 8:39 PM
    HA HA HA... Totally agree!

    I should mention I have followed these 8gb Sapphire cards closely, very closely. So much so that the day they cancelled them in Europe I was reporting on this (having read stories and German and Czech) and harassing Sapphire for an explanation. 3 days later on their facebook page they confirmed they would not be production cards.

    So what came of them? They have waited until their production versions have become ready at 4 GB. Now the 200-300 cards they intially made, before seemingly AMD intervened or something, are being sold off as rarities.

    If you noted my comment in the second line of this post I said "I have followed THESE sapphire cards..." that is because the 8GB Toxic cards are also already done long ago and will accompany the TOXIC 4 GB 290x release. They will be released I suspect in about 2 more weeks again. Check the existing sched.

    R9 290 Vapor X - just over 5 weeks ago (April 4th) - 2 weeks later hits North American Stores - Available in the UK at launch
    R9 290x Vapor X- 2 weeks after that (April 29th) hits North American Stores approx 2 weeks later - Available in the UK at launch & 8 GB for pre-order

    Currently, moving in on 2 weeks from last announcement, expect to see the TOXIC edition cards in the next week or so. However, the cooler is the same and components should be similar if not the same in quality. So, it is the 290x vapor x oc card with a larger overclock. For those who do so manually it comes down to colour scheme and $$$. The 8GB TOXIC cards should then also appear in Europe whether in the UK or in Germany, exclusively.

    At least I speculate. I have been right about all prior predictions within days.


  • 1 Hide
    KrzysiekX10 , May 31, 2014 4:43 AM
    You should REALLY do some benchmarks of this card! Especially tests with large resolutions AND tests with decent resolutions (1080p) but with supersampling (set either in the game options menu or in the Catalyst menu)!!!
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