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Thread: Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 Review




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    Default Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 (100269VXL) Review





    Special Thanks to Sapphire Technology for supplying this sample to review!


    With the recent release of ATI's much anticipated 5000 series graphics cards, and all the glory and rave they have brought to light, I thought it would be useful to take a look back on the 48xx series cards as they still have very much to offer to gamers and non-gamers alike. Not everyone who is on the lookout for a new card may be able to afford the high end or even a mid-range 5000 series card, and have no plans to look into the lower end of the bracket, so that may leave some looking at the older generation cards for some time to come.

    With those thoughts in mind, you may be one of the many users looking to see what the 4000 series still has to offer, so let's take a look at Sapphire's 4890 OC Edition Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5. The HD 4890 is built on the 55nm RV790 Core with 956 million transistors, 800 stream processors, and is utilizing 1GB of GDDR5 through a 256-bit memory bus. It has pixel fillrate of 13.9 GPixel/s and a texture fillrate of 34.8 GTexel/s with a memory bandwidth of 134.4 GB/s. The card carries a multitude of connection possibilities including standard VGA, DVI, Dual DVI Via bundled HDMI to DVI Adapter, HMDI, and Display Port connect-ability.

    This review will be covering the following Sapphire 4890 OC Vapor-X model:
    SAPPHIRE - SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD 4890 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E OC


    This particular model has already won 8 noted awards, which you may read about here:
    SAPPHIRE - SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD 4890 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E OC Awards

    Sapphire's overview offers these comments on the cards power and features:

    Tear through the latest games with seamless frame rates and go beyond HD with the power of the ATI Radeon™HD 4890 graphics processing unit (GPU). Building on the strength of the ATI Radeon™ 4800 series award-winning architecture, this GPU stands out from the rest with massive graphics processing muscle. Take ultimate control over your game and crank it up with scalable performance. Go ahead, max out the settings and put the ATI Radeon HD 4890 through its paces.

    The SAPPHIRE HD 4890 Vapor-X model is a new SAPPHIRE original design. It has SAPPHIRE’s Vapor-X cooling module on the GPU together with a heatsink and profiled fan venting heat out of the case. It is quieter and significantly faster than the standard reference model, with core clock speed of 870MHz and 1GB of DDR5 memory clocked at 1050MHz. Any two of the four output options can be used simultaneously, giving maximum flexibility for connection to different display types. An HDMI to DVI adaptor is also included for those who wish to use a pair of DVI monitors.

    Features and Specifications:

    • Award winning Vapor-X Cooler with heatpipe, silent and powerful
    • Sapphire patent pending Black Diamond Choke
    • 4 I/O Display outputs: DP+HDMI+DL-DVI+VGA
    • Factory overclocked at Core at 870 MHz
    • 1GB/256-bit GDDR5 memory interface
    • Memory Clock: 1050 MHz, 4.2 Gbps
    • 800 stream processing units
    • Full solid capacitor design
    • Dual Slot Silent and Powerful Dual Slot Vapor-X Vapor-Chamber Cooler, Under 20 dbA in 2D Operation, under 30 dbA in 3D Operation before 85 degree ℃.
    • 24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) and high performance anisotropic filtering
    • Microsoft DX10.1 support
    • HDMI compliant via dongle
    • PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
    • Dynamic geometry acceleration
    • Game physics processing capability
    • Supports all display resolutions up to 1920x1080
    • On chip HDCP support
    • 7.1 Audio Channel Support
    • Shader Model 4.1 support
    • ATI Avivo™ HD video
    • Dynamic power management with ATI PowerPlay™ technology
    • Quad mode ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance


    Vapor-X Technology & how it works:

    SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Technology: At the heart of quiet efficient cooling for performance graphics.

    SAPPHIRE Technology was the first company to implement cooling for PC graphics cards based on Vapor Chamber Technology and has now implemented it in several successful product series.

    Vapor Chamber Technology was previously used in Aerospace Industry and High-End Server applications to provide more efficient yet compact cooling. SAPPHIRE’s Vapor-X cooler was introduced in 2007 with its HD 3870 ATOMIC Edition graphics card and then rolled out to the global market with the successful HD 3870 and HD 4870 TOXIC Editions and the Vapor-X series.

    Most recently Vapor-X cooling has been used on the stunning SAPPHIRE HD 4890 ATOMIC Edition – the first graphics card on the market to deliver a 1GHz engine speed, as well as the new HD 4890 TOXIC Edition and Vapor-X models for the global market.

    Vapor Chamber Technology is based on the same principles as heatpipe technology. A liquid coolant is vaporized at a hot surface, the resulting vapor is condensed at a cold surface then the liquid is returned to the hot surface. The recirculation process is controlled by a wick system.

    SAPPHIRE Vapor-X flattens the whole system into a slim chamber - which in the graphics application is mounted in contact with the surface of the graphics chip.

    Actually, the coolant is water – but because the chamber is evacuated to a very low pressure, the vaporization process occurs at a much lower temperature than normal boiling point. The complex wick arrangement inside the module controls the flow of water and water vapour so that the system can be used in any orientation.
    Features of Vapor-X:

    Universal directions
    Unlike unidirectional devices such as heat-pipes

    Lower thermal resistances
    less than Cu

    Higher heat conductivity
    2 times faster than Cu’s

    Most suitable thermal diathermanous devices for highly
    concentrated heat sources



    How does Vapor Chamber Technology work?



    Heat sources keep on heating Vaporization Wicks.

    Liquid, like pure water, inside Vacuum Chamber is very easily vaporized under air pressure < 10-4 Tor or less.

    The saturated vaporized liquid, like water vapor, condenses at surfaces of Condensation Wicks and transforms back to its original liquid state.

    The liquid is transported and absorbed together by Transportation Wicks via capillary actions.

    The recycled liquid is reheated and re-vaporized by Vaporization Wicks and these processes repeat.



    Structure and Profile of Vacuum Vapor Chamber:




    1. Sealed Chamber
    2. Vacuum Vapor Space
    3. Compound Mesh Wicks
      • Vaporization Wicks
      • Vaporization Wicks
      • Transportation Wicks

    4. Working fluid



    Advantages of Vacuum Vapor Chamber



    Heat-sink with Vacuum Vapor Chamber technology provides much faster heat propagation speed and can be used to highly increase efficiency of heat exchange.
    The patented complex wick system at the heart of Vapor-X



    So in the SAPPHIRE graphics application, the heat source is the graphics chip. The Vapor-X module is mounted in contact with the surface of the chip. The Vapor-X module is much more efficient than a copper heatsink at carrying away the heat because the whole area effectively transfers heat at the same rate.

    Low noise is generally sought after in modern PC systems, so SAPPHIRE has already introduced a special family of graphics products using Vapor-X technology, known as the Vapor-X Series. This family is aimed at the discerning user who wants low noise and high reliability, but does not want to pay the premium for the specialist faster memory and overclocking capability of the ATOMIC and TOXIC models targeted at the enthusiast user..

    The Vapor-X Series also incorporates several SAPPHIRE developments that contribute to better efficiency and high reliability, such as the use of solid electrolyte capacitors and the (patent pending) SAPPHIRE Black Diamond choke. The high-polymer aluminum capacitors used have characteristics superior to regular aluminum capacitors for longer product life. The choke is an important component of the power regulation on a graphics card, and the SAPPHIRE Black Diamond choke with integral heatsink runs 10% cooler and with 25% more power efficiency than a normal choke.
    Short Video Presentation About Vapor-X Technology

    <object width="660" height="405"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/pfIzG1gd4DI&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x006699&color2=0 x54abd6&border=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="660" height="405"></object>

    You can read more about the Vapor-X process here at Sapphire's website:
    SAPPHIRE- Vapor-X
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 11-23-2009 at 06:01 AM.

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    Default Re: Sapphire HD 4890 OC Edition Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Product and Packaging Images: (Click to Enlarge)


    HD 4890 Packaging:

    &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;

    The card comes in a very large box, distinctively designed in white and silver, tagged with all the cards specifications. There is an image of a penguin on a glacier covering the front and reverse of the box to indicate that the Vapor-X cooling will keep the card running at very cool temperatures, and, it does.


    Inside the package (Contents & Accessories):

    &nbsp;&nbsp;

    The inner packaging is all recycled cardboard, a great sign of Sapphire's well intended efforts to help save our planet! The card itself is held in place very securely with two foam blocks, and the accessories are packed neatly underneath the main crate. The accessory box contains a crossfire connector, two 4 pin molex to 6 pin PCIE molex connectors (500W or greater PSU Required), owners manual, and 4 CD's consisting of 2 Cyberlink DVD program suites, a copy of 3DMark Vantage, and a driver install CD.


    The Sapphire HD 4890 OC Vapor-X card itself:

    &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;

    Here you can see the card in all its glory. These are High Resolution images, feel free to click and enlarge them if you need to locate or inspect any of the more intricate components on the card. Sapphire has incorporated their company logo in a blue emblem on the outer side of the heatsink fan shroud, this lights up with a blue LED when powered on. This is a very nice touch that compliments the new heatsink fan housing design.


    The Sapphire HD 4890 OC Vapor-X card (Under The Hood):

    &nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;

    Again, these are high resolution images of the front and reverse of the card. They show the RV790 core processor, Qimonda GDDR5 memory model # IDGV1G-05A1F1G-40X that has a cycle time of 1.0 ns and is rated to run at 1000 MHz. On the reverse near the rear of the card there is a set of 3 on-board diagnostic LED's. These are D1601: critical temperature fault, D1602: AUX Hot Plug/Unplug Fault (upper connector), D1603: AUX Hot Plug/Unplug Fault (lower connector).


    Sapphire's Power Delivery System & Patented Black Diamond Choke's:

    &nbsp;

    Here you can see that under the rear cooling fin heatsink assembly there is 16 mosfets to deliver clean and continuous power, and 6 of Sapphire's patented Black Diamond Chokes. Additionally, located near the front of the card you will find two more of these chokes.


    Heatsink Fan and Housing Assembly:

    &nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;


    Here, we can see the Vapor-X heatsink and fan itself, located under the PWM fan is the copper vapor chamber heatpipe. This is attached to an aluminum assembly that also covers and cools the memory. The new heatsink cover has been designed to look very slick and futuristic. Inside you can see the air flow is aerodynamically forced out the rear of the main fan shroud towards the PCI mounting bracket to be exhausted out the back I/O side of the case. A small amount of air is directed down and towards the rear heatsink fins pushing air over those components and cooling the chokes and mosfet cooling fin system.
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 11-23-2009 at 05:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Sapphire HD 4890 OC Edition Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Benchmarks Used in Testing Comparisons:

    Futuremark 3dmark 06 Professional v. 1.1.0



    Quote Originally Posted by Futuremark
    Futuremark is the world leader in 3D, mobile and PC benchmarking. Our 3DMark and PCMark lines of PC benchmark software.

    3DMark06 is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX9 performance of your graphics card. A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system’s 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests.
    Futuremark - Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - Download


    Futuremark 3DMark Vantage Professional v. 1.0.1



    Quote Originally Posted by Futuremark
    3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

    A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system’s 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system.
    Futuremark - Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage - Download


    Crysis Benchmark Tool 1.05

    Quote Originally Posted by Crymod
    The tool provides a robust front-end to benchmark Crysis. It provides the ability to queue up many runs and will provide detailed results for each test as well as an overall summary with accurate averages. The first and foremost goals were simplicity and reliability in the tool and in the benchmark scores. Works with retail and demo.

    Features:

    * Run a variety of tests all at one time.
    * Choose windowed, 32/64 bit, DX9/DX10 tests.
    * Logs setting details for each test run plus provides a summary breakdown (with averages if 3 or more loops).
    * Supports custom demos.
    * Allows pause/resume by hitting spacebar, between runs.
    * Auto-save all benchmark runs in Autosave folder.
    * Allows Copy/Paste from results window.
    * Save and import a queue of runs for ease of retesting.
    * Allows image quality comparisons by taking a screenshot on each run at certain frame(s).
    Crytek's Official Modding Portal | Crymod Downloads


    Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark Tool



    This benchmark utilizes actual varying third person game play and results are given based on 4 scenes, there is even a Boss fight scene included. You can test DirectX 9 or 10 as well.
    techPowerUp! :: Download Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark


    Far Cry 2 (Benchmark Tool Included in Full Game)



    This benchmarking tool is included with the full version game, and allows you to choose scenes, change various settings, and create batch runs.
    Code:
    Location: C: (Or Root Directory)\Program Files\Ubisoft\Far Cry 2\bin\FC2BenchmarkTool.exe

    Furmark Benchmark & Burn/Stability Testing Tool V. 1.7.0



    Quote Originally Posted by Ozone3D
    FurMark is a very intensive OpenGL benchmark that uses fur rendering algorithms to measure the performance of the graphics card. Fur rendering is especially adapted to overheat the GPU and that's why FurMark is also a perfect stability and stress test tool (also called GPU burner) for the graphics card.

    The benchmark offers several options allowing the user to tweak the rendering: fullscreen / windowed mode, MSAA selection, window size, duration. The startup interface allows you to tweak the benchmark features such as:

    * Benchmark mode or stability test mode (for overclockers)
    * GPU temperature monitoring and recording in a file
    * Fullscreen or windowed for each type of run mode
    * Window size selection (standard or custom)
    * MSAA samples selection
    * Benchmarking parameters: time based or frames based
    * Contest Mode
    FurMark: Graphics Card Stability and Stress Test, OpenGL Benchmark and GPU Temperature | oZone3D.Net


    Unigine Heaven DX11 Benchmark Tool



    Heaven is created with Unigine's own Unigine engine. This is the first DirectX 11 Benchmark that has been released, and contains some very graphical depth of field scenes, many shadow tests, and tessellation scenes on various items from dragons to actual stones on the roadway.

    These are some of the key features:

    * Native support of OpenGL, DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11
    * Comprehensive use of tessellation technology
    * Advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion)
    * Volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm
    * Dynamic simulation of changing environment with high physical fidelity
    * Interactive experience with fly/walk-through modes
    * ATI Eyefinity support
    Download | Unigine Heaven (3D engine for games and real-time virtual worlds)


    The Last Remnant Benchmark Tool



    The Last Remnant, a fantasy role-playing game by Square Enix. This is an application that calculates your PC's potential frame rate for running the game. It consists of 4 scenes with high resolution textures and fight scenes, and gives an average total result in FPS your PC scored.
    THE LAST REMNANT | SQUARE ENIX


    Lightsmark Benchmark Tool V. 2.0



    Quote Originally Posted by Lightsmark
    Is a multiplatform benchmark/demo with REALTIME GLOBAL ILLUMINATION and PENUMBRA SHADOWS. Before Lightsmark, realtime global illumination was limited to small scenes, small resolutions, small speeds, specially crafted scenes with handmade optimizations. Lightsmark breaks all limits at once, running in reasonably sized scene (220000 triangles) in high resolution (1920x1200) at excellent speed (300+fps). Lighting is computed fully automatically in original unmodified scene from 2007 game World of Padman.
    LIGHTSMARK - next generation lighting benchmark


    Resident Evil 5 Benchmark Tool V. 1.0



    This tool was initially created and released to test the performance of Resident Evil 5 using the Nvidia's 3D Vision stereoscopic technology, it has two modes consisting of a fixed and varible mode benchmark with various user enabled settings.
    Resident Evil 5 by Capcom, Capcom
    Resident Evil 5 PC Benchmark Utility download from Guru3D.com


    Unigine Sanctuary Benchmark Tool V. 2.2



    Tropics is based on the company's own Unigine engine and is some of their earlier work, however it can still be utilized to test today's cards. The scene is inside of a sanctuary with depth of field tests, various shadow types, and even some scenes looking through a unique stained glass window.

    Here are are some of the key features:

    * Support of DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL
    * 5 dynamic lights
    * HDR rendering
    * Parallax occlusion mapping
    * Ambient occlusion mapping
    * Translucence
    * Volumetric light and fog
    * Particle systems
    * Postprocessing
    * Stereo 3D modes
    * Benchmark mode
    Download | Unigine Sanctuary (3D engine for games and real-time virtual worlds)


    Unigine Tropics Benchmark Tool V. 1.2



    Tropics is based on the company's own Unigine engine. The benchmark travels around an island with scenes ranging from palm trees and rolling waters, to sunsets and beachfront piers.

    Here are are some of the key features:

    * Support of DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL
    * Dynamic sky with light scattering
    * Live water with a surf zone and caustics
    * Special materials for vegetation
    * HDR rendering
    * Parallel split shadow map
    * Depth of field
    * Real-time ambient occlusion
    * Up to 2M polygones per frame
    * Benchmark mode
    Download | Unigine Tropics (3D engine for games and real-time virtual worlds)



    X3 Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Benchmark V. 1.0



    This is a rolling demo of the game X3 Terran Conflict, it consists of 4 benchmark levels in various stages of game play in space, in and around space stations and space ships. One level has a direct warning that the scene contains a "Very High Polygon Count".
    EGOSOFT Downloads X: Terran Conflict Demos
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 11-23-2009 at 06:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Sapphire HD 4890 OC Edition Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Testing Setup:

    Hardware:
    Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P Motherboard
    Intel i7 965 EE CPU @ 4.2Ghz
    Mushkin 998679 DDR3 6GB @ 1600Mhz 7-8-7-20
    Crucial CT64M225 64GB SSD x 2 @ RAID 0
    Sapphire Vapor-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 1050Mhz
    Sapphire HD 3870 512MB GDDR3 X 2 Crossfire (Comparison)
    Ultra Products X3 850W PSU ULT40312

    Software & OS:
    ATI Catalyst Driver Version 9.9 x64 (Sorry guys, already halfway finished when 9.10 released, & near completion when 9.11 released)
    Windows Vista Business x64 SP2
    DirectX 10.1 (Download Installer V. 9.27.1734)


    Benchmark Results Sapphire 4890 Vs. 2 x 3870 In Crossfire:

    Futuremark 3dmark 06 Professional v. 1.1.0



    Here we can see the 3870's seem to pull just slightly ahead of the 4890 in almost all instances.


    Futuremark 3DMark Vantage Professional v. 1.0.1

    Standard Results:


    Custom Settings (GPU only Scores):


    The 4890 shows to be very strong in this benchmark, winning all but one test.


    Crysis Benchmark Tool 1.05



    Here we have a clear and obvious winner.


    Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark Tool



    The 4890 easily pulled ahead here as well.


    Far Cry 2 (Benchmark Tool Included in Full Game)



    Again here we see the 4890 takes the lead.


    Furmark Benchmark & Burn/Stability Testing Tool V. 1.7.0



    Here we have some inconsistencies. See my below thoughts on The Last remnant, I believe I ran into some driver or OS related issues which may be showing here as well.


    Unigine Heaven DX11 Benchmark Tool



    Here we see both the 4890 and 2 3870's coming in very close with no AA set, but once you apply AA filters the 4890 clearly jumps ahead.


    The Last Remnant Benchmark Tool



    I ran into some driver or OS related issues with X8AA and X16 AF, so I decided to leave those settings out of my results. I am not sure what caused the issue, but after re-testing many times I found that at these settings something was not right. After my testing was finished I updated to 9.11 and could not reporduce the issue, nor could I after going back to 9.9 drivers, so after finding all of this I decided it would be best to omit those results.


    Lightsmark Benchmark Tool V. 2.0



    Yet again, the 4890 proves to be a very strong card taking the lead by a large margin in all tests.


    Resident Evil 5 Benchmark Tool V. 1.0



    The 4890 shows to be very strong here as well, taking the lead in all tests.


    Unigine Sanctuary Benchmark Tool V. 2.2



    In this test we can see the 4890 scoring in the lead in all tests as well.


    Unigine Tropics Benchmark Tool V. 1.2



    The 4890 is the clear winner here, at 1680x1050 resolution it dominates the 3870's.


    X3 Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Benchmark V. 1.0

    Average Scores:


    1280x1024 Resolution:


    1680x1050 Resolution:


    The 4890 is yet again showing to be much faster than the 3870, at all resolutions and tests included in this benchmark.
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 11-23-2009 at 12:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Sapphire HD 4890 OC Edition Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Overclocking:

    I was both surprised and impressed by this card's overclocking potential, I expected smaller overclocks due to the card not being built using reference design and thus not having the valuable on-board volterra voltage regulator chips. Even without these chips the card seemed to be a very easy overclocker. ATI's Catalyst "Auto-Tune" stabilized at 990Mhz core and 1090Mhz Memory, and I was easily able to set 1000Mhz core and 1200Mhz memory. Stability, however, was not easily obtained at either of those mentioned clocks. This would likely be an achievable goal had Sapphire included the mentioned Volterra regulator chips, so that voltages could be adjusted on the fly.

    I finally settled for all around stability at 960Mhz Core and 1165Mhz Memory, this seemed to be where the card was most comfortable in all benchmarks. Some benchmarks could easily pass with higher core and/or memory speeds, and the opposite, of course, on others. This was to be expected, of course, as different benchmarks stress graphics cards in various ways.

    I will let the graphs speak for themselves here, as obviously overclocking improves scores all around.

    Benchmark Results Sapphire 4890 Stock Vs. 4890 Overclocked 960Mhz Core / 1165Mhz Memory Clock:


    Futuremark 3dmark 06 Professional v. 1.1.0




    Futuremark 3DMark Vantage Professional v. 1.0.1

    Standard Results:


    Custom Settings (GPU only Scores):



    Crysis Benchmark Tool 1.05




    Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark Tool




    Far Cry 2 (Benchmark Tool Included in Full Game)




    Furmark Benchmark & Burn/Stability Testing Tool V. 1.7.0




    Unigine Heaven DX11 Benchmark Tool




    The Last Remnant Benchmark Tool




    Lightsmark Benchmark Tool V. 2.0




    Resident Evil 5 Benchmark Tool V. 1.0




    Unigine Sanctuary Benchmark Tool V. 2.2




    Unigine Tropics Benchmark Tool V. 1.2




    X3 Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Benchmark V. 1.0

    Average Scores:


    1280x1024 Resolution:


    1680x1050 Resolution:


    Audio and Temps:

    Click to Enlarge



    I ran FurMark Extreme Burning Mode stability test for 20 minutes, and the Vapor-X cooling system kept up with temperatures very well. I saw an average temperature of 74-77C during this test with the fan speed manually set to 80% for safety purposes. The highest noted temperature was 81C, of course this is very warm, but this was also during a FurMark run with the fan speed not manually set.

    The fan normally runs at 36-42% and idle temps remained in the 46-53C Range. The fan itself at idle is inaudible to me amongst my other case fans, which are in no way loud. I tested the fan at various speeds and found that any speed under 65% is barely audible, a speed of 70% could barely be heard as well, above 75% and the fan does become comparatively loud. Once the fan speed is set past 85% it is quite loud, almost sounding like a jet engine's roar. Overall, this is a very quiet card, much quieter than the 3870's in compassion above, and they have edited BIOS fan profiles to quiet them down a bit.

    Final Thoughts:

    All in all, I would have to say this is a Very powerful card, and comes at a reasonable price. With the recent launch of the 5000 Series cards you can expect the 48xx series prices to be dropping sometime very soon. This model is quieter than anticipated, due to the Vapor-X design, and runs fairly cool compared to some of the lesser and louder models. The overclocking headroom with this model is still very good despite the lack of voltage control, and I would highly suggest this model to anyone looking to upgrade from a previous generation, or to anyone looking to make the move to the Red Team. If 5000 Series cards are outside your price range, or you are just looking to upgrade from 3800 series cards, then this card may be right inside your comfort zone.


    With the impressive capabilities and feature set on this card, and the overall quietness, it is without a doubt a card that will continue to impress those who obtain it for quite some time.



    The price at time of this review was $199.99 at Newegg.com
    Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X 100269VXL Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards



    I would like to thank Sapphire again for providing this sample to review, it has been a great pleasure!



    Disclaimer: I am not a professional graphics card reviewer, this IS my "first day" So if you do not agree with any of my testing methods please kindly let me know what would work better for you, or things I might change, and I will keep any and all comments in mind for future reviews. Thank you for leaving only constructive comments, please.
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 11-24-2009 at 05:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Definitely worth a look into these cards as prices drop. Maybe when NVidia release their DX11 cards and ATI get aggressive with pricing, retailers will reduce these to sell old stock.

    The performance is good and exactly what I would expect from a 4890 both in terms of stock speed results OC results and OC achieved. As mentioned, if one were able to tweak voltages, especially core voltage then 1000MHz + stable would be entirely possible while keeping the stock cooler.

    Temperatures also seem pretty good. The RV770 is fine up to 120c+ without damage but obviously it's a good idea to be well under that and the Sapphire cooler easily managed to keep things under control. It's good to see the chokes have ridges carved into them to increase surface area as well as there being a nice sized heat sink on the FETs. Many clueless manufacturers have used after market coolers and not bothered heatsinking these components, which themselves can get just as hot as the GPU core (ASUS Glaciator being a prime example of this). Even some bog standard Alluminium sinks would only cost a few /$, if that when bought in bulk.

    Pretending for a moment that these cards are still selling at the full release RRP (they're cheaper now) I would have said the Vapor-X would not be worth the price premium for the cooler alone and to go for the regular Sapphire version (Sapphire have a great warranty and support) and buy a couple of Scythe Musashi HSF's for them. The Musashi will keep the cards cooler than even the Vapor-X by at least 15c, maybe more if you're willing to crank up the super quiet fans.

    That being said, these are selling for 165 compared to 149 for the regular version meaning that you have a factory OC, more solid FETs and Chokes AND a better cooler for 15, which is a pretty good deal. Not such a good deal though if you're willing to go for a more budget concious brand, where a 4890 is yours for 120 clocked at 850/3900.

    Upgrading from a 4870 or Crossfire 4850's probably isn't worth it unless you need 1024MB of Frame Buffer per GPU (2 x 512 MB on a CF or X2 is still 512 per GPU and per GPU counts not total). In which case these will enable you to go for higher resolutions such as 1080p, 1920x1200 and the completely crazy 2556x1920 on a 30"+ monitor.

    A great review Lsdmeasap! I don't think that anyone can complain that you have not covered every gaming scenario including GPU heavy/dependant and CPU heavy/dependant games and a good variety of IQ (Image Quality) settings. I was glad to see my CF 4850 setup is outperforming the card, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a big margin, with the gap closing dramatically at 8xAA. This card has the RAM bandwidth to sustain itself using a moderate res and the highest AA available. Note that 24xCFAA is available on these cards and there is a 16xAA standard MSAA that unlocks when using Crossfire. Play with these settings if you wish noting that 24xCFAA can sometimes totally kill performance depending on the game.

    Thanks for the review. Hopefully Sapphire will appreciate the time you have put in and consider sending you a 5800 series or two for review. Even a couple of 5770's in Crossfire would be amazing to review and bench etc.

    Over all, a very well thought out and put together review. A big thanks for not going crazy on the graph colours for us colour blind readers. I was able to make everything out perfectly. Cheers!
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    Default Re: Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 Review

    I agree, if they would have included the voltage controller chips this card would likely clock fairly high, but I suppose they choose not to so they could leave something for the Toxic and Atomic purchasers to have over these cards.

    I have no doubt x24 AA would kill performance, maybe on some certain thing it might prove useful but I doubt that would be any typical game.


    Thanks for your comments and approval! I thought about the colors but just was not sure. I am glad you can see them as that means everyone else can as well!

    Time for me to catch up helping around here, talk with you soon. And again thanks for your comments and thoughts on this review.

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    Talking Re: Sapphire VAPOR-X HD 4890 OC Edition 1GB GDDR5 Review

    Nice work once again it looks tight!!

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