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Sapphire HD 4890 Toxic/Vapor-X Review

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Testing the HD 4890 Toxic and Vapor-X Editions will consist of running the card through the Overclockersclub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks to test the performance of the Matrix against many popular competitors to gauge its performance. The games used are some of todays popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where Physx will be disabled in the Nvidia control panel. Clock speeds on each card are left at the as delivered speeds. I will test the HD 4890s at both stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available when you choose to overclock the cards.


Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked settings:

  • Sapphire HD 4890 Toxic 1035/1170
  • Sapphire HD 4890 Vapor-X 970/1195

Lets talk about the HD 4890 Toxic first. As a factory overclocked card there was still enough headroom over the 960/1100 factory clock speeds to make the enthusiast happy. Looking at the fact that the Atomic Edition was able to reach 1060MHz on the R790 core and 1255MHz on the memory, that's where I decided to start the overclocking. Well there is a reason the Atomic is the higher end card. After a re-boot I set the clock speeds a little more conservatively at 1050/1200 and this speed was stable at lower resolutions without AA and AF turned on. But that just wont do now will it because the reason you buy a card like this is so you can play with the eye candy on. I started lowering both the core and memory speeds 5Mhz at a time until i reached a point where I was able to run through a few benchs that I use to check for basic stability ending with 3DMark 06 looping at 2560x1600 with both AA and AF enabled. The end result was 1035 or an increase of almost 8%. The memory saw an increase of 120MHz or an increase of almost 12%. Not too bad for an already overclocked card. In fact this card is clocked 10Mhz less than the standard reference HD 4890 gave up. All told this is a 185MHz increase over what a stock HD 4890 is delivered with. Not too shabby!

The HD 4890 Vapor-X already comes overclocked straight from Sapphire as well, not just to the level of the Toxic or Atomic versions. With this card I went for the gusto since it had Solid Capacitors and Sapphire's proprietary "Black Diamond" chokes. I figured 1000MHz on the GPU core and 1200 MHz on the GDDR 5 memory would be a good place to start but sadly this resulted in an instant lock up and reboot. Scratch off the 1000MHz level for the core. I went and dropped the clock speed to 975 MHz on the core and left the memory at 1200 and could run almost all of the benchmarks(Crysis warhead just would not pass) at this level so further reducing the clock speeds to 970MHz and 1195MHz resulted in stability through all of the benchs and a 1 hour session of Call of Duty World at War. I think the cooling and better voltage control and maybe some extra binning helped this card along to a clock speed 10 MHz higher on the core and over 100MHz higher on the memory than I was able to get out of the stock HD 4890s from Sapphire and Powercolor. The overclocked results on the core fall a bit short of the Toxic but the memory results were actually better than those of the Toxic, Both cards overclocked extremely well. To push the max speeds I maxed ou the fan at 100% to provide the most cooling possible for this test. At this fan level the fan used on the Vapor-X was much quieter than the stock hair drier. An improvement your ears will thank you for. As far as temperatures go when overclocked I peaked at 70 degrees Celsius with an idle temperature of 42 Celsius. Not bad at all for an improved cooling solution.


The HD 4890 Vapor-X

  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty World at War
  5. Dead Space
  6. Fallout 3
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage


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