Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Vapor-X ReviewWaco -
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How to sum up this card? Overall it performed admirably in all tests and did so with surprisingly low noise. The Vapor-X cooling solution held true to its roots and kept the card both cooler and quieter than most other cooling solutions even when pushing the card to its maximum capabilities. The EZ OC button offers an effortless factory overclock that improves performance for free, though it is really of questionable value since I can't imagine any user ever not enabling the higher clock speeds.
The output configuration on the card is a bit different than others, but not to a degree that will hamper many configurations. As with almost all AMD cards, you will need an active DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI adapter to run Eyefinity resolutions. It would have been nice to see an active adapter included in the bundle with this premium card, although the free HDMI cable is a nice addition.
Unfortunately, there is one real flaw with this card; the price. With the recent drop in prices for the AMD 7900 series lineup, other HD 7950 cards from other venders are sitting as low as $289 shipped to your door and Sapphire's own is priced at $279. This Sapphire HD 7950 3GB Vapor-X, while having a better cooler and PCB design, comes in at nearly $340 with shipping. Personally, I have a hard time justifying that extra $50-$60 when you can get a reference PCB card with a custom cooler for nearly 15% - 25% less cash out of your wallet. Yes, the Vapor-X cooling solution is awesome...but personally I don't think it is 15% - 25% more awesome than the custom coolers from other vendors or even the Dual-X HD 7950, also from Sapphire.
If you're a stickler for noise, this card won't disappoint, but if you can handle a slightly higher noise floor, perhaps you'll want to save the extra money and grab the older Dual-X HD 7950 instead.
- Awesome cooler (temperature and noise)
- Good performance even in Eyefinity
- Effortless stock overclock
- Failed Batman: Arkham City tests (likely an issue with only the review card)
- Cooler is too large to run more than two on a standard motherboard
- Custom PCB requires custom water blocks for Tri/Quad CrossfireX