Sapphire's Dual-X R9 280 OC Graphics Card Review

Power, Temperature, And Frequency Benchmarks

Now let's take a look at Sapphire's Dual-X R9 280 OC versus a reference Radeon HD 7950 Boost card. From a technical standpoint, Sapphire's only advantage is a 15 MHz difference in the maximum GPU clock rate, helped along by a 25 W-higher TDP limit. That doesn't sound like much , but the combination of a higher thermal limit and a better aftermarket cooler should ensure that Sapphire's card remains in its highest boost state longer than AMD's reference card. Let's see what happens during the BioShock Infinite benchmark:

There you have it. The Radeon HD 7950 Boost drops its clock rate much more often than Sapphire's Dual-X 280. How does the power usage look over the same benchmark?

By the end of the test, there's about a 40 W difference in power draw at times, which is more than the specifications would have us expect. Now, lets examine how this correlates with GPU temperature:

Sapphire's Dual-X employs an aftermarket cooler to keep the GPU temperature lower than the reference card, while using more power and maintaining the peak frequency for longer periods in the process. Were Sapphire's card outfitted with a less-effective reference cooler, we believe performance would be much closer to the Radeon HD 7950 Boost. 

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
37 comments
    Your comment
  • Menigmand
    Why no noise measurements ?
    7
  • patrichpachich
    ill wait for tonga
    1
  • Nuckles_56
    Quote:
    Why no noise measurements ?

    The one thing I was really interested to see
    6
  • blackmagnum
    This... as a newer, faster and more power efficient R9 285 comes out?
    What are the board partners thinking?
    0
  • Omegaclawe
    They got the wrong memory bandwidth for the R9 280 and 7950 cards... it's 384-bit.

    Which is why I'm worried that the 285 won't be able to keep up. Particularly at higher resolutions.

    [Response by Cleeve:

    Doh! Fixed. :) [/Response]
    1
  • elbert
    Wow mantle gives Intel 6 cores relevance in games. Wonder if AMD will design a 16 core now for the AM3? Cant wait to see mantle on Intels new 8 core CPU's.
    1
  • Shneiky
    Am I the only one who finds it unfair to bench an Overclocked card and put it against a reference model?
    0
  • elbert
    The mantle 4770 test for thief was -.1 min fps and only 1fps average increase. Clearly on the 6 core its getting more in both min fps and average.
    1
  • elbert
    The battlefield 4 mantle test lost performance with the 4770 on 1080.
    1
  • cleeve
    550730 said:
    Am I the only one who finds it unfair to bench an Overclocked card and put it against a reference model?


    This is a Sapphire Dual-X review, not a reference 280 launch.

    The Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 comes overclocked from the factory.
    0
  • cleeve
    749236 said:
    This... as a newer, faster and more power efficient R9 285 comes out? What are the board partners thinking?


    This is simply a last look at the 280, relevant from the perspective that these will probably be discounted on the market for a little while.

    As far as performance, we don't believe the 285 will be much faster (possibly even slower), based on specifications.
    2
  • anthony8989
    I agree with Shneiky. The small margins by which the 280 edges out it's win could easily be explained away by the fact that it's an aftermarket card vs reference cards.
    -1
  • Shneiky
    What I mean is - this is OC 280 vs Stock 760. If you get a OC model of a 760 from Asus, EVGA or Gygabyte or whatever - the margin between 280 and 760 will shrink, turning it into a battle of power an acoustics, since you can get custom 280 and custom 760 for comparably the same price.

    P.S Just made a check. In most big on-line retailers in Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the SAPPHIRE DUAL-X R9 280 3GB GDDR5 OC w. Boost cards are actually more expensive than OCed 760s.

    SAPPHIRE DUAL-X R9 280 3GB GDDR5 OC - 270 EUR

    ASUS R9280-DC2T-3GD5 - 245 EUR and it is clocked 40 Mhz higher

    GIGABYTE GV-N760OC-2GD - 230 EUR and it is clocked 100 Mhz and 120 Mhz more with Boost compared to reference model. That is more than 10% over-clock and it is enough to surpass the OCed 280.
    3
  • OcelotRex
    Quote:
    What I mean is - this is OC 280 vs Stock 760. If you get a OC model of a 760 from Asus, EVGA or Gygabyte or whatever - the margin between 280 and 760 will shrink, turning it into a battle of power an acoustics, since you can get custom 280 and custom 760 for comparably the same price. P.S Just made a check. In most big on-line retailers in Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the SAPPHIRE DUAL-X R9 280 3GB GDDR5 OC w. Boost cards are actually more expensive than OCed 760s. SAPPHIRE DUAL-X R9 280 3GB GDDR5 OC - 270 EUR ASUS R9280-DC2T-3GD5 - 245 EUR and it is clocked 40 Mhz higher GIGABYTE GV-N760OC-2GD - 230 EUR and it is clocked 100 Mhz and 120 Mhz more with Boost compared to reference model. That is more than 10% over-clock and it is enough to surpass the OCed 280.


    I agree that the 760 reference was a little misleading along with not including the power and temperature measures from the 760 as well.
    0
  • cleeve
    1063134 said:
    I agree with Shneiky. The small margins by which the 280 edges out it's win could easily be explained away by the fact that it's an aftermarket card vs reference cards.


    You can't buy a reference card on Newegg anymore. All the Radeon R9 280's come with custom coolers.

    There are still a lot of 760's with reference coolers available, however.

    Nevertheless, you guys are probably picking nits and missing the point. The margin of win/lose is so close that it's irrelevant, as I point out in the conclusion page. A random sample of different benchmarked games might show 760 strengths better than the newest titles that we chose for relevancy.

    The point is, they're so close it's almost irrelevant which you choose. Pick based on price and your preferred features, or your prevelance for Radeons or GeForces.

    As far as power/noise measurements, we'll be digging into that much deeper in an upcoming Radeon review. ;)
    0
  • animalosity
    Quote:
    ill wait for tonga


    I'm curious. Why? There seems to be no advantage to the R9-285 at all except lower draw power. That's it. Who cares about a higher clock on the memory when its gimped by a 256 bit memory bus. Do the numbers.

    You can see 176 GB/s memory bandwidth vs 240 from the Tahiti. Both have the same exact number of shader cores and Tahiti also has a slightly higher base clock. Seems to me that Tonga at the same price point has no benefit whatsoever. Don't understand this card.
    0
  • anthony8989
    Quote:
    You can't buy a reference card on Newegg anymore. All the Radeon R9 280's come with custom coolers. There are still a lot of 760's with reference coolers available, however. Nevertheless, you guys are probably picking nits and missing the point. The margin of win/lose is so close that it's irrelevant, as I point out in the conclusion page. A random sample of different benchmarked games might show 760 strengths better than the newest titles that we chose for relevancy. The point is, they're so close it's almost irrelevant which you choose. Pick based on price and your preferred features, or your prevelance for Radeons or GeForces. As far as power/noise measurements, we'll be digging into that much deeper in an upcoming Radeon review. ;)


    I understand and acknowledge that. The point I was making is that you ( perhaps inadvertently ) put this 7950 Boost rebrand in the best possible light by using an aftermarket cooled and OC'd version against the stock clocked and cooled competition. But since there are no reference models of the card available , that may have been AMD's aim - to put this rebrand in the best case scenario. But you the reviewers should try and level the playing field.

    Honestly it's not a big deal. I understand where you're coming from , it's just my opinion is all :D
    0
  • cleeve
    1063134 said:
    Honestly it's not a big deal. I understand where you're coming from , it's just my opinion is all :D


    I hear you, man.

    Like I said, we've got a thorough comparison coming in the near future with more details. This was more of a goodbye to the 280, really, which i believe will be a better option than the 285 unless you *REALLY* want to save power.
    0
  • OcelotRex
    21257 said:
    As far as power/noise measurements, we'll be digging into that much deeper in an upcoming Radeon review. ;)


    That's what I am talking about. To me efficiency is nearly as important as performance assuming a near equal price and close performance. Even 10% less performance at 60 FPS is only 54 FPS something I can't really notice without fraps on.

    I would like to see how the new cards are stacking up to the GTX 7 series though. Since the GTX 760's have seemed to have not fallen in price I might think about selling mine off to get something new.
    1
  • fkr
    you guys can wait and I will enjoy my fully under warranty msi twin frzrs i picked up off of ebay for $125 a piece.

    btw i already sent one into MSI and within 10 days it came back fully repaired. my daughter (autistic) opened up my rig and dumped juice on the GPU and MSI still replaced it without conflict or headache (I did clean with 99% alcohol). they have just earned my money for future purchases
    0