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Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Toxic 2GB Review

ccokeman    -   April 7, 2010
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Conclusion:

The Sapphire Toxic HD 5870 2GB takes off where the Vapor-X HD 5870 left off. Sapphire upped the ante by increasing the core clock to 925Mhz and adding another 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1225Mhz. This offers up a significant performance boost over the reference cards, for not much of an increase in price. With many HD 5870 cards selling in the $419 to $499 range on Newegg, the $449 suggested price point is more than fair for the benefits of enhanced cooling, custom construction and a nice factory overclock... with a warranty! As expected, the Toxic HD 5870 2GB out-classed the reference card pretty much across the board and for the most part, topped the performance of the factory overclocked model. When compared to the GTX 480, the results were much closer at the higher resolutions than at the lower end of the scale. The gap is narrowed a bit with this card, but it does not close it completely. Overclocking certainly is a tool that can almost erase that gap and actually did in some of the game tests. As an overclocked card, the amount of performance tuning that can be done is going to be limited just by the nature of the clock speeds on the card. At an as delivered 925Mhz core clock you are already at 75Mhz above the factory default clocks for the Cypress core. Even so I was able to pull out another 60Mhz to 65Mhz worth of overclocking on the core and another 70Mhz on the memory, for final clock speeds of 985 (990Mhz for some games) on the GPU core and 1295MHz on the memory, all without any voltage control capabilities. Something I see as an oversight. You have the best cooling Sapphire offers, without voltage control while the reference card has voltage control and well... the reference cooling solution. The overclocking performance did allow the card to deliver an even higher level of performance, so the exercise is worth the time commitment if you choose to push the card even harder.

The Vapor-X cooling solution is a proven technology that Sapphire has used as a point of difference for their Vapor-X and factory overclocked models. This cooling solution works. When leaving the fan speed on auto with the card at stock settings, the fan profile kept the card at a cool 69° C under load with the fan speed at only 47%. When you push the fan speed slider up to 100% while overclocking, you get a 16° drop from the stock 69° C down to 53° C. The only problem with the 100% fan speed setting is that the fan does get a bit loud at this level. Around the 75% range you get a great mix of cooling and low noise. The power consumption numbers show that there is not a lot of difference between running the stock clocks verses the extra overclocked speeds with a maximum system total of 364 watts when overclocked and 362 watts when at stock (Although factory overclocked) speeds. Idle usage was just as close at 180 and 181 watts respectively. When you look at the idle to load delta you are pretty close to the 188 watt board maximum power at 184 watts when overclocked. With the Toxic HD 5870 2GB, its tough to say whether the increased performance is a function of the additional memory, or the increase in clock speeds. Whichever it is, you get a card that you can plug right in and have a cool running GPU that is going to fit in most chassis with its 10 inch in total length. This card offers a substantial increase in performance and cooling capabilities over the reference cards, with support for all the ATI technologies including Eyefinity and CrossfireX for a price point that really makes this card a solid choice over a reference card. You really cant go wrong with the Sapphire Toxic HD 5870 2GB!

 

Pros:

  • Vapor-X cooling
  • Excellent performance
  • Overclocking
  • Great cooling
  • 6+8 pin power connections
  • Eyefinity support
  • Price

 

Cons:

  • Loud at 100% fan speed
  • No voltage control



 

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