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Sapphire Introduces R9 290X Vapor-X OC

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 0 comment

Sapphire's R9 290X Vapor-X OC arrives!

Sapphire has finally revealed its new Radeon graphics card: the R9 290X Vapor-X OC. This graphics card carries the Vapor-X name for a very simple reason; built into its cooler is a vapor chamber.

If you thought that the R9 290X Tri-X from Sapphire was cool, then this is cool on a whole new level (pun intended). The vapor-chamber will draw the heat generated by the GPU away even faster than did the heatpipes in the Tri-X cooler, which combined with the rest of the fin array and triple-fan configuration found on this card will result in temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees C lower than on the older Tri-X card, according to Sapphire. The cooler is still built with the Tri-X design though, as it features the same 10 mm core heatpipe, beside which reside two 8 mm heatpipes and another two 6 mm heatpipes; it's just that there's a vapor-chamber between the heatpipes and the GPU. The fans are also the same 90 mm fans.

This even beastlier cooler has allowed Sapphire to overclock the card beyond the clocks with which it has previously sold cards. The R9 290X Vapor-X OC carries a factory overclock bringing the GPU frequency up to 1080 MHz – 80 MHz above reference. The memory is also overclocked and now runs at an effective speed of 5.64 GHz. Unlike what past rumors may have indicated though, the card does not come with 8 GB of memory, but rather with the standard 4 GB of GDDR5 memory.

Naturally, such an extreme card has to come with a little extra bling. On the side of the cooler users will find a sapphire logo that will normally be illuminated blue, but when you start gaming it'll turn yellow and eventually glow red when the card is running nice and toasty.

The card will be on shelves soon.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 1 Hide
    patrick47018 , April 29, 2014 1:57 PM
    I wish it had 8GB GDDR5...
  • 0 Hide
    Optimus_Toaster , April 29, 2014 2:20 PM
    Any word on a 290 version with a smaller price tag? As for 8GB, I am glad that it is available in 4GB as even 4K doesn't use up that much vram.
  • 0 Hide
    weilin , April 29, 2014 2:43 PM
    Quote:
    Any word on a 290 version with a smaller price tag? As for 8GB, I am glad that it is available in 4GB as even 4K doesn't use up that much vram.


    Already out: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202103
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    SteadyMercury , April 29, 2014 4:09 PM
    Mines been in the mail since yesterday :D 
  • 0 Hide
    SteadyMercury , April 29, 2014 4:12 PM
    As an aside Sapphire reports the card to be running at 1030mhz not 1080mhz...
    http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?cid=1&gid=3&sgid=1227&pid=2167&psn=&lid=1&leg=0

  • 0 Hide
    SteadyMercury , April 29, 2014 4:13 PM
    Quote:
    As an aside Sapphire reports the card to be running at 1030mhz not 1080mhz...
    http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?cid=1&gid=3&sgid=1227&pid=2167&psn=&lid=1&leg=0



    Woops my bad looking at the wrong version
  • 0 Hide
    XGrabMyY , April 29, 2014 5:47 PM
    Quote:
    Any word on a 290 version with a smaller price tag? As for 8GB, I am glad that it is available in 4GB as even 4K doesn't use up that much vram.


    You say that, but you're super wrong. Consoles have 3.5GB of available VRAM to play with, so you can bet your ass most console ports (i.e. 99% of mainstream PC releases) will poorly scale down to a lack of VRAM at 1080p.

    We've already seen it with Titanfall. 3GB of VRAM is the new /baseline/ for a smooth experience. You sound like everyone who has ever said "you'll never need 256MB of VRAM" and substitute 256MB for anything else, and back then we were gaming at about 1080p as well.

    I remember when the 570GTX came out and people said 1.25GB of VRAM was more than enough for 1080p at high settings, then BF3 came out and it easily bottlenecked and lead to crashes from simple memory leaks (which are insanely common in all PC games).

    So shut up, fool.
  • 0 Hide
    c123456 , April 30, 2014 4:59 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Any word on a 290 version with a smaller price tag? As for 8GB, I am glad that it is available in 4GB as even 4K doesn't use up that much vram.


    You say that, but you're super wrong. Consoles have 3.5GB of available VRAM to play with, so you can bet your ass most console ports (i.e. 99% of mainstream PC releases) will poorly scale down to a lack of VRAM at 1080p.

    We've already seen it with Titanfall. 3GB of VRAM is the new /baseline/ for a smooth experience. You sound like everyone who has ever said "you'll never need 256MB of VRAM" and substitute 256MB for anything else, and back then we were gaming at about 1080p as well.

    I remember when the 570GTX came out and people said 1.25GB of VRAM was more than enough for 1080p at high settings, then BF3 came out and it easily bottlenecked and lead to crashes from simple memory leaks (which are insanely common in all PC games).

    So shut up, fool.



    4k resolution is only 8,294,400 pixels. 4GB VRAM therefore would give >500 bytes of VRAM per pixel. You're talking about doubling that to an entire kilobyte. Why do you need so much?
  • 1 Hide
    Zepid , April 30, 2014 9:35 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Any word on a 290 version with a smaller price tag? As for 8GB, I am glad that it is available in 4GB as even 4K doesn't use up that much vram.


    You say that, but you're super wrong. Consoles have 3.5GB of available VRAM to play with, so you can bet your ass most console ports (i.e. 99% of mainstream PC releases) will poorly scale down to a lack of VRAM at 1080p.

    We've already seen it with Titanfall. 3GB of VRAM is the new /baseline/ for a smooth experience. You sound like everyone who has ever said "you'll never need 256MB of VRAM" and substitute 256MB for anything else, and back then we were gaming at about 1080p as well.

    I remember when the 570GTX came out and people said 1.25GB of VRAM was more than enough for 1080p at high settings, then BF3 came out and it easily bottlenecked and lead to crashes from simple memory leaks (which are insanely common in all PC games).

    So shut up, fool.



    4k resolution is only 8,294,400 pixels. 4GB VRAM therefore would give >500 bytes of VRAM per pixel. You're talking about doubling that to an entire kilobyte. Why do you need so much?


    You are confusing the exact use of VRAM, engines have a standard of 3.5GB of VRAM like they said to play with from consoles right now. Why, when your engine scales, wouldn't you take full advantage of that? Porting of console code, x86 or not, will result in greater overhead - if consoles have 3.5GB of VRAM to play with then the game will compile and scale to use 100% of that.

    So you can be sure games, console ports from the next-gen platforms, will top out that 3GB of VRAM most cards have quickly. I would say 3GB of VRAM is the new baseline for modern scaling engines and for console ports. I wouldn't want any less than 4GB of VRAM on my GPU.
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , April 30, 2014 5:46 PM
    If you really want an 8gb version, the few that were made are being sold on Overclockers UK. You can pre-order one now for roughly $1000, DHL will ship it for about 50 to Canada/US.
  • 0 Hide
    Optimus_Toaster , May 1, 2014 4:21 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Any word on a 290 version with a smaller price tag? As for 8GB, I am glad that it is available in 4GB as even 4K doesn't use up that much vram.


    You say that, but you're super wrong. Consoles have 3.5GB of available VRAM to play with, so you can bet your ass most console ports (i.e. 99% of mainstream PC releases) will poorly scale down to a lack of VRAM at 1080p.

    We've already seen it with Titanfall. 3GB of VRAM is the new /baseline/ for a smooth experience. You sound like everyone who has ever said "you'll never need 256MB of VRAM" and substitute 256MB for anything else, and back then we were gaming at about 1080p as well.

    I remember when the 570GTX came out and people said 1.25GB of VRAM was more than enough for 1080p at high settings, then BF3 came out and it easily bottlenecked and lead to crashes from simple memory leaks (which are insanely common in all PC games).

    So shut up, fool.


    There is no need for such abuse.
    Hoewever back to vram and resolution, from reading the 295x2 review you can clearly see that it's 4GB frame buffer doesn't hold it back. Maybe in the future couple of years we'll see a revolutionary game like bf3 was that will push the boundaries of PC gaming, things like watchdogs and star citizen. So you have a point that in the future games will need massive frame buffers for 4K and higher settings. But then consider, would 2 or 3 290x's be enough to power those games anyway?
  • 0 Hide
    thechief73 , May 6, 2014 1:33 PM
    Nice paper launch. We new this card existed already, why the heck bother telling us about it if your not going to provide an availability date. Annoying. ( directed towards Sapphire not Tom's)
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 6, 2014 1:46 PM
    It has been available in the UK for a little over a week, and is available for pre-order with Amazon.com. I already ordered a pair through Amazon. If the releases dates are like the 290 vapor-x, expect it to appear at the end of this week with most other e-tailers and retailers.

  • 0 Hide
    thechief73 , May 7, 2014 10:37 AM
    Quote:
    available for pre-order with Amazon.com.

    Thanks for heads up on Amazon.com, I have been checking ALL the big hardware sites I could think of and I guess that one slipped by me.
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 9, 2014 6:44 AM
    It appears the cards are still not available with anyone as Amazon has updated my delivery estimate as end of the month....BOO!
  • 0 Hide
    thechief73 , May 9, 2014 8:29 AM
    BOO! Is right. 2 - 5 weeks. Looks like the Vapor-X is vaporware. Disappointing and annoying.
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 9, 2014 7:26 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    available for pre-order with Amazon.com.

    Thanks for heads up on Amazon.com, I have been checking ALL the big hardware sites I could think of and I guess that one slipped by me.


    The non-oc version is now available on Newegg. Though, my pre-order is for the OC version which has the 2 highest clocks, tied for core and highest for memory, of any 290x, so I will wait. Also, the amazon OC version I am waiting on is cheaper than the Newegg non-OC version.

    Differences = Core Clock: 1030 vs. 1080, Mem Clock: 5300 vs. 5640

    I intend to overclock manually, so it does not matter that much, but given a $60 cheaper price difference (after taxes and shipping) I will keep my pre-order with Amazon and wait.
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 9, 2014 8:01 PM
    Regarding my suggesting that the cards would appear at the end of the week, I was correct. Sadly for me, just not the exact version I am waiting for.
  • 0 Hide
    forged , May 14, 2014 6:15 PM
    is this better than MSI 290x lightning, in terms of overall quality/perf if pushed to their limits?
  • 0 Hide
    rbarnhart , May 17, 2014 6:35 PM
    Yet to be determined. Reviews are not out yet.

    However, based upon stock clocks, the Sapphire card should be slightly faster.

    That being said, the MSI card is capable of drawing more power and can be cooled under Liquid Nitrogen, meaning crazy overclocking.

    Once again, that being said, the Sapphire card will more than likely overclock better than the MSI card on air. This card will likely overclock close to, or in excess of 1150 MHz on air, while the MSI will not. It depends upon your needs.

    One thing to consider though is this, the MSI card has a 3 slot width, while the Sapphire is 2-2.5 slots in size. That means good luck crossfiring the MSI card, heat dissipation between cards will be poor and also without struggling to find a mobo with a good PCI-e slot configutation at 8x or better for all slots. Meanwhile, you should have no problem with the Sapphire card for either issue, regarding heat, really no problem given the aggressive cooling solution.