Splen­did Per­for­mance

Sap­phire R9 280X Va­por-X

HWM (Malaysia) - - LAB TEST - Text // keVIn BateS

Bring­ing new in­no­va­tions to graph­ics cards is not easy. With that said, Sap­phire does have the know-how to come up with new in­no­va­tions and in­cor­po­rate them in its lat­est graph­ics cards. With the new Va­por-X cool­ing sys­tem and AMD’s Graphic Core Next (GCN) ar­chi­tec­ture, it’s easy to see why Sap­phire re­mains one of the leading man­u­fac­tur­ers of AMD graph­ics prod­ucts. This month, we will go in-depth into the Sap­phire R9 280X Va­por-X graph­ics card to find out if it lives up to the com­pany’s rep­u­ta­tion.

Hold­ing the graph­ics card in our hands, the first thing that caught our eye was the cool­ing sys­tem. Com­bin­ing both the Tri-X and Va­por-X cool­ing tech­nol­ogy, the card ran silently while still ef­fec­tive in dis­pers­ing the heat that is gen­er­ated by the card. The R9 280X Va­por-X also comes sup­ported with two BIOS as well, which are the Legacy BIOS and the UEFI BIOS. While the Legacy BIOS is the fac­tory de­fault op­tion, users can sim­ply press the Sap­phire logo on the side of the card to en­able the UEFI BIOS.

The spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the card shows that it has 3GB of GDDR5 mem­ory and a base clock speed of 1,000MHz and 1,100MHz with Boost. As it is al­ready pre­clocked by Sap­phire, the card is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than the ref­er­ence R9 280X graph­ics card, which has a base clock of only 850MHz. Users may also set up mul­ti­ple graph­ics cards in their gam­ing rig, as the R9 280X comes with AMD’s CrossFireX Multi-GPU tech­nol­ogy.

While the de­sign is rather sleek and cool, the bulk of the R9 280X Va­por-X’s aes­thet­ics is taken up by the cool­ing sys­tem and the fan hous­ing, leav­ing much of the graph­ics card ex­posed. How­ever, its min­i­mal­ist, ex­posed de­sign does serve a pur­pose, mostly to ac­com­mo­date both the Tri-X and the Va­por-X cool­ing sys­tems.

A lot of thoughts went into the de­sign of the graph­ics card, but what gamers truly care about is how well it per­forms, and the R9 280X per­formed be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions. We first ran 3D Mark’s Fire Strike, which the card pro­duced a high score of 7,552. We pro­ceeded with 3D Mark 11, where the card ob­tained a score of P10,457. We then ran Unig­ine Heaven, at High and Nor­mal Tes­sel­la­tion with 2x Anti-Alias­ing (AA), where the card per­formed well with a score of 1,608 and av­er­ag­ing 63.8FPS.

We moved on to the re­al­world per­for­mance tests, where we chose Hit­man: Ab­so­lu­tion and Bat­man: Arkham Ori­gins as the bench­marks. We started with Arkham Ori­gins at High vis­ual set­tings, which gave us a very high aver­age of 92FPS. We then fol­lowed that with Hit­man: Ab­so­lu­tion, which ran smoothly at 68FPS, even at High graph­ics with FXAA en­abled.

Over­all, the Sap­phire R9 280X Va­por-X graph­ics card de­liv­ers great per­for­mance for just about any gam­ing rig. With such ca­pa­ble per­for­mance, users will want to in­vest in a pow­er­ful power sup­ply as at min­i­mum re­quire­ments, the card will re­quire at least 750W to func­tion well. How­ever, it come built in with AMD’s Pow­er­Play with ZeroCore Power tech­nol­ogy, which does help in man­ag­ing the power con­sump­tion of the graph­ics card.


The graph­ics card achieves a high score of 7,552 in 3D Mark’s Fire Strike.

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