Sapphire Radeon HD 3GB Vapor-X Video Card Review
The Sapphire Vapor-X HD
The AMD Radeon HD is a very powerful gaming graphics card that has been out since February When the card was originally released it the reference design had an MSRP of $, but that was eight months ago! You can now find an AMD Radeon HD 3GB card for $ shipped after rebate! Prices have certainly dropped over the past year and the AMD Radeon HD has fallen into an entirely different price category now.
The AMD Radeon HD (Tahiti
Pro) reference card features a core clock speed of MHz with stream processors and texture units. The card has 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a bit bus that runs at MHz ( MHZ effective). For gamers that want a DirectX 11 graphics card with cutting edge 28nm GPU built using the new Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture this should have you drooling right about now. If it does you are in luck as we are going to be looking at the Sapphire Vapor-X HD 3GB GDDR5 OC with Boost today! This card is factory overclocked and features a custom PCB and GPU cooler!
The Sapphire HD Vapor-X runs $ shipped after a $20 mail-in rebate, which is $20 more than the basic Sapphire Radeon HD Boost at $ shipped after the same rebate. As you can see from the image above this card takes up two slots and looks very nice. The top of the black fan shroud has a Sapphire logo on it that lights up with white LEDs when the card is running, so it would look sharp in a case with a window.
As you can see from the image above, Sapphire went with a blue PCB on this card. The PCB of the card measures ~ in length and if you factor in the length of the fan shroud the entire length of the card is . The card PCB is stands at ~ in height, but with the fan shroud it jumps up to . We used a pair of dial calipers and found the mounting holes around the GPU use a 55x55mm mounting hole pattern in case you are curious about mounting a water block or a third party GPU cooler.
The Sapphire Radeon HD Vapor-X has Dual-link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort connections available for monitors. You should be able to easily hook up a High Definition Stereoscopic 3D display or an AMD Eyefinity setup with three or more displays (To support 3 displays, one of the monitors has to support DisplayPort).
The Sapphire HD Vapor-X has two CrossFire interconnects, so you can
link up to four of these cards together for improved performance if you have the right motherboard and the money to do so. Just to the left of the CrossFireX interconnects youll see a button for BIOS switching. One profile is for the default profile and the other is for an overclocked profile. Here are GPU-Z shots for each profile on our test sample.
BIOS 1: MHz Core & MHz Memory
BIOS 2 (EZ Boost): MHz Core & MHz Memory
The Sapphire HD 3GB OC with Boost Vapor-X Edition has 3GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at MHz (effective) despite what BIOS profile is being used. The base core clock speed on the card is officially MHz, but with a click of a button something that Sapphire calls PowerTune Dynamic Boost rises the core clock to MHz. Most gamers will want to run the card at MHz, so we will be testing this card with the Mhz core clock setting!
The Sapphire HD Vapor-X has two power connectors along the top edge of the card that need to be connected to the systems power supply. One is an 8-pin PCIe power connector and the other is a 6-pin PCIe power connector. To ensure proper operation, Sapphire suggests at least a W or greater power supply with one 75W 6-pin PCIe
connector and one W 8-pin PCIe connector for proper operation.
The Sapphire HD Vapor-X uses Vapor Chamber Technology to keep everything nice and cool. The Vapor-X cooler utilizes four heatpipes (two 8mm & two 6mm) to help transfer the heat from the GPU to the aluminum cooling fins. Above the cooling fins are a pair of 90mm fans that have aerofoil blades and dust repelling bearings. The Vapor-X cooler should easily handle the heat generated from the AMD Radeon HD GPU even under extreme load conditions.
This card features an 8-phase power design and uses a CHiL CHLG controller to keep the voltages in order. The 3GB of GDDR5 memory is made up of Hynix memory chips that are rated to run at MHz or MHz effective.
Lets take a look at the retail box & bundle next and then move on to testing this bad boy out in some games!Questions or comments? View this thread in our forums!
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- Decent price
- Excellent overclocking performance
- Impressive power-saving tech
- Artificially low base clocks
AMD is really putting the pressure on Nvidia now with its second release of the new AMD HD graphics card generation, the AMD Radeon HD
Nvidia is still sitting back waiting for the right moment to strike back, but can it recover from these two quick blows?
Well, we say quick - it's been well over a month since AMD launched its first card of this generation, the AMD Radeon HD
That was a surprise given that, pre-Christmas, we were expecting both cards to hit the streets at the same time in the first week of January with a possible dual-GPU iteration coming around now.
AMD though decided to give its top-of-the-line, $ AMD HD card a bit of breathing space at the start of its life, and now that the AMD Radeon HD is sat here in our labs it's easy to see why its release was delayed.
Essentially it's almost as good a card for over $ less.
So AMD's claims to be delaying so it could wait for AMD Radeon HD units to be in the market (despite launching its big brother, the AMD Radeon HD well before you could even lay eyes on one) seem to be rather thin.
We think it's more likely AMD realised even fewer people would pick up a $ graphics card when there was one for $ that could do the same job practically as well.
To be fair though this isn't the first time this has happened; the previous generation had exactly the same problem in the two top-end Cayman cards – the Radeon HD and Radeon HD
There was precious little difference between the two cards in benchmarking terms, and with some judicious use of BIOS tweakery and ROM flashing fun, there ended up being precious little difference between them architecturally too.
But there must be some differentiating factors, some reason for the £ price difference.
So, what has AMD chopped out of the AMD Radeon HD Graphics Core Next GPU to make the grade?
Prices - AMD Radeon HD
Current page: OverviewNext PageArchitecture
Gigabyte Radeon HD MB Review
AMD ended on a high note, unleashing the market's fastest single-GPU card and beating its adversary to the next-generation graphics yet again.
The Radeon HD outpaced the GeForce GTX by over 20% in our tests and that achievement is made even sweeter by the fact that Nvidia's response is still months away. This lack of competition has granted AMD the confidence to stamp its flagship graphics board with an uncharacteristically high retail price of $ -- territory usually commanded by Nvidia.
Despite offering "only" 42% more performance, the HD 's list price is 60% higher than the 's. What's more, the new card's actual retail rate is more like $, roughly $ pricier than the GTX
That's a tough sell in our opinion, and with limited supplies, prices presumably won't fall until Nvidia reclaims its stomping grounds with Kepler later this year. With that in mind, value-conscious enthusiasts seeking a high-end card will likely find better solutions than the HD
Conveniently enough, AMD offers a potentially valid alternative with its Radeon HD , which is essentially a lower-specced and lower-priced version of the HD The HD is set at $ for the MB version, while the full MB variant is $ Although it's currently possible to find a 3GB model for $, you can expect to pay closer to $ For example, the Gigabyte "GV-RWFGD" card we're looking at today (also called WindForce 3 in some markets) retails for $, touting several noteworthy upgrades.
Gigabyte has redesigned the PCB and included an upgraded cooler that is meant to lower temperatures and improve overclocking. Considering the HD 's respectable performance, we expect a solid showing from the HD Before we hit the benchmarks, let's pop the hood and have a closer look at Gigabyte's HD offering.
Radeon HD WindForce 3 in Detail
Like its snappier sibling, the Radeon HD measures a typical length for today's high-end graphics cards at 27cm (in). For example, the HD also measures 27cm long, as does the GeForce GTX
The HD GPU is fabricated on a 28nm process, making it possible for AMD to squeeze million transistors into a mm2 die.
By default the GPU core runs at MHz, 14% lower than the HD , and the GDDR5 memory operates 9% slower at MHz. These are the same core and memory frequencies as the HD However, Gigabyte's HD is overclocked to MHz and MHz. The 13% increase in core clock speed should have a positive impact on performance.
Whereas the HD utilized a bit bus, the HD 's is bit, boosting the available memory bandwidth from GB/s to a considerably healthier GB/s.
As you'd expect, the HD 's core configuration is cut down from the HD The speedier card has SPUs, TAUs and 32 ROPs, while the HD packs SPUs, TAUs, and the same 32 ROPs (13% less SPUs and TAUs).
What makes Gigabyte's iteration unique is its WindForce 3X solution with "Triangle Cool" technology. The cooler employs three 75mm ultra quiet PWM fans connected to a custom shroud. Under these fans is a massive heatsink consisting of three main parts connected by 8mm copper heatpipes.
At the heart of this setup is the biggest block which has a unique RAM heatsink to cool the GDDR5 modules. This heatsink also features Triangle Cool technology, which uses a series of fins and triangular clip modules to better direct airflow over the heatsink.
Gigabyte says its Triangle Cool technology can reduce temperatures by up to 35% over traditional designs, so we're keen to see just how cool this HD runs.
To feed the card enough juice, AMD includes dual 6-pin PCI Express power connectors. This is the same setup used on the HD , , as well as the GTX and graphics cards.
Naturally, the HD supports Crossfire, so it has a pair of connectors to bridge two or more cards. The only other ports are on the I/O panel where you'll find a dual DL-DVI connector, a single HDMI a port, and two mini-DisplayPort sockets.
All HD s support a max resolution of x on up to three monitors. With a multi-stream hub, using the mini-DisplayPort sockets, the card can power up to six screens.
AMD Radeon HD 3GB GDDR5 PCIe
Learn more here.
- Nearly as fast as the much pricier HD
- Improved power savings when idle
- Support for 4K video and other forward-looking features
- A well balanced GPU
- Excellent powerdraw figures for highend card
- Overclocks like a champ
- Native fullsize HDMI & DisplayPort output
- Dual BIOS
- 3 GB of memory with bit bus
- Adds support for PCIExpress and DirectX
Reviewers Didn't Like
- 4K video content and screens likely won't be common for a year or more
- NVIDIA's Kepler is just around the corner
- Noisy in 3D
- CCC Overdrive limits too low
- Not appreciably faster than competing Nvidia card on every title
- Requires two six-pin power supply cables
- Blocks an adjacent expansion slot
Expert reviews and ratings
Reviews hd 7950
HIS Radeon HD review - Introduction
A couple of weeks ago AMD launched the first series graphics cards based on the Tahiti XT GPU, the Radeon HD It was received positively in the market, a product that competes well with the GeForce GTX
It is time for the second product based of the series though, the Radeon HD launches today. Introduced in a / USD price tag bracket the product will compete with the GeForce GTX (which costs EUR these days). Now the R will actually be a decent notch better than the GTX as the overall performance is closer to a GTX rather than that , which we'll show you.
AMD took the Tahiti XT GPU sliced away some shader units, clocked it a notch slower and planted it onto a new PCB lined up with a new cooler. Overall the R will not disappoint, good performance, impressive power consumption and great heat and noise levels.
Will a EUR pricetag however justify this product ? We are asking this out and in the open as NVIDIA is getting ready to launch Kepler (architecture codename) based products, their new architecture promises to bring in a good amount of performance and that rumor alone haunts the series quite a bit even while it's unreleased (to date).
So welcome to our Radeon HD review, a product offering very good game performance, a great feature set and a frame buffer that will pop your eyes out as this card has 3 GB of it.
With the GPU developed under codename "Tahiti PRO" let's have a look at this Southern Island family member. Next page where we'll startup the technology overview first.
The product reviewed today comes from HIS, but is % the reference product (aside from the stickers and a blue PCB).
The cash-cow of AMD's 28 nanometer "Tahiti" silicon is finally here, as the company launched its new Radeon HD graphics card. The HD is an important model for AMD, as it allows more people access to the new Graphics CoreNext architecture as a result of its lower price. The new SKU was originally slated for a January 09, launch, but was faced with unforeseen delays. Regardless, today is its hard-launch date, meaning you should be able to find a Radeon HD at a store.
The Radeon HD qualifies as being a high-end graphics card due to its pricing, which is comparative to NVIDIA's GeForce GTX with its current market pricing. AMD is aiming at higher energy efficiency compared to its market rival product, and a scope for aggressive cost-cutting, if competition from future NVIDIA product so dictate. In essence, AMD Radeon HD will serve as a fulcrum for both today's high-end price-point, and tomorrow's gamer sweet-spot, again, depending on its competitive environment. This is what makes it an important model for AMD.
The Radeon HD is carved out of the 28 nm "Tahiti" silicon, on which the HD is based. This is done so by lowering the number of Graphics CoreNext Compute Units (CUs) from 32 on the HD to 28, resulting in a stream processor count of 1, compared to 2, on the Radeon HD , and a TMU count lowered from to Every other component is left unchanged, including the memory interface and memory amount. Historically, with NVIDIA GPUs that have bit wide memory interfaces, we have seen the second-best SKU having a narrower memory bus (such as bit wide, for example). This is not the case with HD , which has the full bit wide memory interface with 3 GB of GDDR5 memory.
We also have the following reviews for you today:
The HD , hence, features 1, GCN stream processors, TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 3 GB of memory. The clock speeds are slightly lowered compared to the HD , the core is clocked at MHz, and memory at 1, MHz ( GHz GDDR5 effective), churning out GB/s of memory bandwidth. In this review, we're testing AMD's reference design HD graphics card, which is similar in design to the HD , except it has a lighter VRM, and draws power from two 6-pin PCIe power connectors instead of the 6+8 pin layout on the HD
|ROPs||40||32||48||32||32||2x 32||2x 48|
|Graphics Processor||GF||Cayman||GF||Tahiti||Tahiti||2x Cayman||2x GF|
|Transistors||M||M||M||M||M||2x M||2x M|
|Memory Size||MB||MB||MB||MB||MB||2x MB||2x MB|
|Memory Bus Width||bit||bit||bit||bit||bit||2x bit||2x bit|
View as single pageNext Page »Packaging & Contents
View as single pageSours: https://www.techpowerup.com/review/amd-hd/
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Announced late last month and shipping 3 weeks ago, AMD kicked off the 28nm generation with a bang with their Radeon HD Combining TSMC’s new 28nm HKMG process with AMD’s equally new Graphics Core Next Architecture, AMD finally took back the single-GPU performance crown for the first time since with an all-around impressive flagship video card.
Of course AMD has always produced multiple video cards from their high-end GPUs, and with Tahiti this was no different. The second Tahiti card has been waiting in the wings for its own launch, and that launch has finally come. Today AMD is launching the Radeon HD , the cooler, quieter, and cheaper sibling of the Radeon HD Aimed right at NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX , AMD is looking to sew up the high-end market, and as we’ll see the Radeon HD is exactly the card to accomplish that.
|AMD GPU Specification Comparison|
|AMD Radeon HD||AMD Radeon HD||AMD Radeon HD||AMD Radeon HD|
|Memory Clock||GHz (GHz effective) GDDR5||GHz (5GHz effective) GDDR5||GHz (GHz effective) GDDR5||GHz (5GHz effective) GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||bit||bit||bit||bit|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 40nm||TSMC 40nm|
As has been the case for AMD since the series, AMD has gone with a two-pronged approach to binning and cutting down their flagship GPU for their second-tier card. The first change is an across-the-board reduction in clockspeeds, with the core clock being dropped from MHz to MHz and the memory clock being dropped from GHz to 5GHz. The second change is that the shader count has been reduced from a full SPs to SPs, accomplished by disabling 1 of the GPU’s 8 CU arrays and allowing AMD to use Tahiti GPUs with a defective CU array that would have never worked in the first place.
No other changes have been made, a particularly important consideration since it means all 32 ROPs and the 6 64bit memory channels are still in place. Altogether this gives the 86% of the ROP throughput, 75% of the shader and texture throughput, and 91% of the memory bandwidth of the This should put the in direct competition with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX , which typically trails the by a similar degree. Otherwise compared to the series, this makes the core performance gap between the and a bit bigger than between the and , while the memory bandwidth gap is identical.
The tradeoff of course on a second-tier part is that while performance has been reduced so has power consumption. Just as with the , the takes after its series predecessor, shipping with a W maximum board power limit. With the series AMD has not been publishing any kind of typical power numbers and thereby making the board power limit the only number they publish, but also making for a far more accurate TDP than past estimated TDP numbers as it’s an absolute limit. For gaming scenarios you’re almost always looking at less than W power consumption, though the spread between typical power and the PowerTune cap is not as wide on the as it was the Meanwhile for idle power consumption AMD is not providing an official number there either, but with the use of power islands the difference in idle power consumption between various core configurations has been virtually eliminated. Idle TDP should be 15W, while long idle is 3W.
In a bit of an unusual move for AMD, for the they are doing away with reference designs entirely. All s will be custom to some degree—the first run will use a partner’s choice of cooler alongside a new PCB from AMD specifically for the , while in the future partners will have the option of going fully custom. Furthermore partners will be shipping factory overclocked parts from right out of the gate, and at this point we’re not even sure just how many models will actually be shipping at stock clocks; neither MSI or Sapphire have a stock clocked card as part of their lineup. Overall at the low-end we’re seeing overclocked cards shipping as low as MHz, while MHz is particularly common at the high-end.
The use of customized factory overclocked cards is not unusual for AMD’s lower-end cards, but this is the first time we’ve seen AMD’s partners launch factory overclocked parts out of the gate like this, and it’s the first time we’ve seen AMD launch a part over $ without a reference cooler. As a result the will be a true Your Mileage May Vary situation, with the gaming performance and physical performance characteristics depending heavily on how a partner has configured their card.
|Radeon HD Partner Specification Comparison|
|AMD Radeon HD (Stock)||Sapphire HD Overclock Edition||XFX R Black Edition Double Dissipation|
|Memory Clock||GHz (5GHz effective) GDDR5||GHz (5GHz effective) GDDR5||GHz (GHz effective) GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||bit||bit||bit|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|
For the launch of the AMD shipped us a pair of internal reference cards built on the PCB and cooler. Since no one will actually be shipping a card like this—although they technically could if they wanted to—we also went looking for partner cards, which XFX and Sapphire provided. The XFX R Black Edition Double Dissipation and Sapphire HD Overclock Edition are far more representative of what we’re actually going to see on the market; factory overclocks aside, both use open air coolers, just as with every other card we’ve seen the specs for ahead of today’s launch. Given the lack of any cards using fully exhausting blowers, it would appear that AMD and their partners have become particularly comfortable with open air coolers for W cards.
Last but not least of course, is pricing. AMD is continuing their conservative pricing strategy of trying to price their cards against existing competitive cards, rather than using the cost savings of the 28nm process to bring down prices across the board. As a result the is priced at $, $ below the and almost directly opposite the cheapest GeForce GTX s, making the a de facto GTX competitor. This pricing strategy seems to have worked well for the —cards are still selling at a brisk pace, but the shelves are rarely completely bare—and it looks like AMD is going to continue following it while they can. Meanwhile the fact that the is an entirely semi-custom lineup means that pricing is going to be equally variable, with high-end factory overclocked cards such as the Sapphire and XFX going for $ and $ respectively.
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