Sapphire HD 5870 and HD 5750 Vapor-X Reviewccokeman -
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Testing the Sapphire Vapor-X series of cards will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks to test the performance of the 5700 series cards against many popular competitors, to gauge their performance. The games used are some of today's 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 stock speeds. I will test both cards at stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available when you choose to overclock the card to see if it can run with or faster than the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. Games that have recently been added to the benchmark suite include some of the newest titles to market including Batman: Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5, and Darkest of Days. Of course, all settings are left at defaults in the control panels of each respective manufacturer except where noted. I will be using the latest drivers from each manufacturer at the time of this review. Catalyst 9.9 for all ATI cards save the 5800 and 5700 series, which require the 8.66 RC, and 191.07 for the nVidia cards.
- Processor: Intel Core I7 920 150x20
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Eclipse SLI
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20
- Video Card(s):Sapphire HD 5870/5750 Vapor-X
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: NEC DV5700
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition SP1 64-bit
- Case: Thermaltake Armor +
Comparison Video Cards:
- Sapphire HD 5850
- Sapphire HD 5870
- ASUS GTX285 MATRIX
- ASUS ENGTX275
- Asus GTX 260 Matrix
- Sapphire HD 4890 Vapor-X 1GB
- Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X 960/1450
- Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor-X 860/1360
The first thing you want to do, if you plan on trying for clock speeds in excess of the limits in the Catalyst Control Center, is download AMD GPU Clock tool and MSI AfterBurner, to make sure you get all the clock speed you can pull from the two Vapor-X cards. Let's start with the HD 5750 Vapor-X. Much like the standard version I looked at from Sapphire, this card has some overclocking legs. On the initial testing, I pushed it past the speeds the standard version ran up to, but was only able to get about 20 MHz more than the reference cooled card. I used ATI's CCC to run the clocks up since I did not exceed what limits were in the CCC with AMD-GPU clock tool or Afterburner. Still, 20 MHz over the stock cards maximum clock speed is still a 150Mhz increase on the core and a 200Mhz bump on the memory. This bump equaled an increase in performance across the board, for not much effort. The temperatures on the Vapor-X 5750 rose to 53 degrees Celsius, under load, with the fan speed at 100% while overclocked, and reached 58 degrees Celsius with the fan driver controlled at stock speeds. All in all, I was impressed with the amount of performance the little card pucked up when overclocked. An 8 to 10 FPS jump in COD WAW is pretty sweet.
The HD 5870 Vapor-X was a mixed bag of results. The core clock speed on the 1600 processors went from an 870Mhz starting point all the way up to 986Mhz, a 116Mhz improvement, while the memory was disappointing with an increase of only 40Mhz over the 1250MHz clock speed on the Vapor-X 5870! The memory was a shocker, but it really fell into the same bucket as the reference cards memory clocks when overclocked. By using the combination of the two overclocking utilities I was able to pull the 986/1290 clocks from this card. This increase gave the HD 5870 just that much more muscle. When it came to the cooling capabilities, the Vapor-X shines - at the overclocked speeds, the temperatures were 58 degrees Celsius under load and 41 Celsius at idle with the fan at 100%. At the stock clocks, the idle temperature was much better at 34 Celsius, while the load temperature peaked at 60 Celsius, two degrees hotter. But the fan speed never hit 50%! There is no doubt the lower resolutions are a little CPU bound at the clock speeds I test at, so I ran the Extreme preset in 3DMark Vantage, while giving the CPU a small bump up to 3.6GHz, and the scoring jumped by 250 points. All in all, the Vapor-X cards do a fine job of overclocking above what the reference cards can achieve without voltmods or extreme cooling.