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Sapphire HD 4870 2GB Vapor X Series Review

ccokeman    -   March 24, 2009
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Conclusion:

As a stock clocked card, the expectation was that there might be some performance benefit with the addition of another 1GB of memory to the tried and true HD 4870 platform. Even at 2560 x 1600 there was not much, if any, additional performance earned by the inclusion of the additional memory in my testing. That's not to say that in the future the benefit won't be realized, but for now it did not really offer much of an improvement. If you put that problem off to the side, the Sapphire HD 4870 2GB Vapor series has a bit more to offer. The cooling performance of this card is outstanding. The fan is practically inaudible with the card in my test system sitting three feet from me. The temperatures I measured fell in the 65 to 71 (idle to load) Celsius range with the driver controlling the fan speed. The driver would cycle the fan between 1,100 and 2,300 RPM while keeping the temperature below the driver mandated threshold that seemed to be right around 65 Celsius. By bumping the fan speed to 100% manually, the temperatures took a nose dive down into the 41 Celsius idle and 58 Celsius load range. The fan did spool up to 4,300 RPM but still maintained the silence I have been after in a video card. Cool and quiet is now no longer a dream, all without aftermarket help. The Vapor-X cooling has an added benefit for overclockers. Cooler temperatures usually equate to higher potential overclocks. Again, this rings true with the Sapphire HD 4870 2GB Vapor-X Edition. I was able to increase the clock speed from the stock 750MHz to 826MHz, an improvement of 76MHz, or just over 10%, while the memory pulled a cool 186MHz increase. Both of these numbers were far superior to the reference based HD4870 used in the performance comparison. This could be taken as a glimpse into how well the PCB and video card is laid out and constructed with top quality components to allow us, the enthusiasts, to get more from the products we buy. In this case, solid capacitors, better chokes and a custom PCB go a long way toward that goal. But like the old saying goes, you gotta pay to play. With most 1GB HD 4870 cards going in the $190 range, the price on this card is a premium at $259, or about $70 more than your reference cards. It is a premium product though, when all things are considered. The Vapor Chamber cooling is worth the price of admission alone if you are tired of the hair dryers ATI throws on the reference based cards. Your ears will thank you.

Vapor chamber cooling, high end components, custom built PCB, 2GB of memory, native HDMI, excellent overclocking, silent cooling, what more could you want? Sapphire has built another winner when it comes to cool running performance video cards. The company is not afraid to step outside the box and make the cards its customers need.

 

Pros:

  • Cooling performance
  • Quiet
  • Native HDMI
  • Overclocking
  • 2 GB of memory
  • Vapor-X technology works

 

Cons:

  • Stock clock speeds
  • Price premium

 

OCC Gold



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Video Card)
  3. Closer Look (Drivers & Programs)
  4. CLoser Look (Catalyst Control Center)
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing (Setup & Overclocking)
  7. Testing: Far Cry 2
  8. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  9. Testing: BioShock
  10. Testing: Call Of Duty World at War
  11. Testing: Dead Space
  12. Testing: Fallout 3
  13. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  14. Testing: 3DMark 06 Professional
  15. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  16. Conclusion
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