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Sapphire Vapor-X R9 280X TRI-X OC Review

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Sapphire Vapor-X R9 280X TRI-X OC Testing:

Testing of the Sapphire Vapor-X R9 280X TRI-X OC will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 334.69 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 14.1 beta 6 drivers. The results generated in my testing were reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.


Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:


Comparison Video Cards:




  • Sapphire Vapor-X R9 280X TRI-X OC: Core 1160MHz, Memory 1700MHz


As the spitting image of the Toxic R9 280X from Sapphire, I was expecting Toxic level overclocking, but had to settle for a bit less than that. Sporting a factory boost clock of 1100MHz, this card already has a big factory overclock on the binned core so there was not a whole lot of margin left for the enthusiast to go after on this sample. Disappointing? Originally yes, but one you factor into the nature of the card and the factory boost clock, and that the voltage controls are locked out. We are working with a maximum voltage of 1.2v instead of the 1.3v we normally have access to.

Putting that into perspective, I had to push 1.3v through the highly binned core on the R9 280X Toxic from Sapphire to reach 1244MHz. Overall we get a decent clock speed of 1160MHz on the Vapor-X for the available voltage curve. Memory overclocking was excellent with a 200MHz boost over the as delivered 1500MHz (6000MHz effective) to 1700MHz (6800MHz effective) by just moving the slider up until 3DMark scoring started to suffer, then backing off about 20MHz. Overall the boost in clock speed pays off in higher results. The voltage limitation means that even with the available voltage maxed out this card is still going to run cool and quiet.



Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  3. BioShock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  8. Batman: Arkham Origins
  9. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  10. 3DMark


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

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