Sapphire HD4870 Toxic Reviewgotdamojo06 - October 6, 2008
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When you get the Sapphire HD4870 Toxic pulled out of the packaging, you are going to see a few different things; the first thing that you are going to see is that Sapphire has wrapped the entire card in an anti static bag to help keep the card safe during the shipping process, by preventing it from obtaining any scrathes on the active cooling solution as well as to help protect it from any static energy discharges during the shipping process or when you are opening up the box. When you get to take a nice look at the card outside of any packaging you are going to see that it has a very large active cooler to help keep the heat that is generated during operation to a minimum, which with the 4800 series is very important as they run quite warm. The cooler is colored black and stands out very well from the dark blue PCB of the card. When you look at the back of the card you can see the backing plate that Sapphire has used on its HD4870 Toxic card along with the other mounting screws.
The first thing that I want to take a look at is the active cooling solution for the HD4870 Toxic card, with this removed, we can take a good look at the other parts of the card. The top of the cooler houses a very large fan that is going to be able to blow an adequate volume of air through the the fins that are attached by the large and thick heatpipes. Venting this volume of air out the rear vents of the Toxic makes sure that the cooler does not increase the inner case air temperature like some cooling solutions do. Speaking of the heatpipes, there are three solid copper heatpipes that are attached to the solid copper base of the cooler, which is going to allow for maximum heat transfer from the ever so hot GPU core. There is a Sapphire and an ATI Radeon HD4870 logo on the left hand side of the cooler and a Toxic and a Vapor-X logo on the right, to allow you to identify the card. The back side of the cooler is where you are going to see how large the copper base of the cooler is, it more than covers the GPU and is almost large enough to cover the RAM modules on the card. Inside of this large copper base is where the "vapor chamber" is located, this is Sapphire's new way of cooling its video cards, it relies on the GPU heating up the gases inside the camber and allowing the gases to rise to the top of the chamber and releasing its engergy or heat to the other side of the chamber where the fan/fins/heatpipes are located.
With the cooler removed, you can see the entire card and what comes on it. In the center of the card, you'll notice the GPU, which is the brains of the card. The back side of the card is where all of the electrical parts are located that allocate where the power is going to be going and regulate exactly what parts get how much volts. Along the outside of the GPU there are a total of eight RAM modules that are made by Qimonda, the part numbers for the modules located on the card are IDGV51-Q5A1F10-40X and FV21476. The GPU core, RV770, was drenched in thermal paste that looked like a little mess; I do not trust the stock paste, so I removed it and replaced it with Arctic Silver 5. There was a RAM sink that coverd the voltage regulators toward the back of the card, as these chips get hot on the card; however, to better show you the card and chips, it is not displayed.
The next part of the card that I want to take a look at are all of the places of connection that are on the Sapphire HD4870 Toxic card, these include the internal along with the externals. The first place that I want to look at is the PCI bracket, this is where you are going to be able to plug your monitors into using either a DVI cable or the DVI to analog dongle. You are also able to install an HDTV using an HDMI cable via the DVI to HDMI dongle or the S-Video adapter. On the exact opposite end of the card is where you plug the two PCI-E 6-pin power cables. The other connections are the exact same as other ATI cards, at the bottom of the card there is a PCI-E connection that allows you to add the card to your motherboard and at the top there are two Crossfire connectors allowing you to make full use of two of the same cards for added performance.
After taking a nice close look at the Sapphire HD4870 Toxic, I am very impressed with the detail and time the company has spent in designing the cooler and the way that it is going to be installed.