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::>Graphics cards > 2014 > 07 > Sapphire VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

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24-07-2014


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Graphics card SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST: review and testing

SAPPHIRE Technology company often makes us glad to release balanced graphics accelerators without significant drawbacks. Recently we’ve introduced you to the graphics card SAPPHIRE DUAL-X R9 280 3GB GDDR5 OC WITH BOOST based on efficient graphics core AMD Radeon R9 280, which made a good impression. This e material will be devoted to SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST, which is not only based on faster graphics chip (AMD Radeon R9 280X), but also boasts of enhanced cooling system and improved circuitry.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

The specs:

Model

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 280X (Tahiti XTL)

Technological process, nm

28

Microarchitecture

AMD GCN

Q-ty of universal shader CPUs

2048

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity 2.0, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD Avivo HD, AMD Stream, AMD PowerPlay, AMD ZeroCore, AMD PowerTune

Nominal/dynamic frequency of graphics core, MHz

1000 / 1100

Nominal memory frequency (effective), MHz

1500 (6000)

Memory capacity, GB

3

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

384

Type of inner interface

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Screening  interfaces

1 x Dual-Link DVI-D

1 х Dual-Link DVI-I

1 х HDMI 1.4a

1 х DisplayPort 1.2

Minimal capacity of power unit, W

750

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

308 х 108 х 35 (322 x 121)

Drivers

Drivers can be downloaded here: SAPPHIRE or GPU

Producer website

SAPPHIRE Technology

Based on the table we can see that the graphics card is equipped significant factory overclocking of graphics processor, the nominal frequency is increased from 850 to 1000 MHz, and dynamic - from 1000 to 1100 MHz. All this provides a higher level of performance in comparison with the "reference" counterparts.

Packaging and accessories

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST is shipped in a rather large box decorated in black and blue colors. Its front panel is decorated with the traditional image of the robot. Also, here are some of the features of the tested product:

  • architecture AMD GCN;
  • factory overclocking;
  • complete support of UEFI BIOS;
  • HDMI port and 1.8 m cable.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

The reverse side of the packaging contains a more detailed description of the technology, which has this graphics accelerator:

  • proprietary cooling system VAPOR-X based on the vapor chamber;
  • 3 GB of integrated video memory GDDR5;
  • technology AMD Eyefinity designed to create a multi-screen configurations;
  • proprietary software for overclocking and monitoring (SAPPHIRE TriXX).

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

The side of the box lists the system requirements recommended by a manufacturer. Thus, the minimum capacity of the power supply should be 750 W, and the capacity of computer memory should not be less than 4 GB. In cases of installation of two similar graphics cards in mode AMD CrossFireX a source of power to 1000 W and 8 GB of RAM will be required.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Supplied set of SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST includes:

  • two adapters from two Molex-connectors to 8-pin PCIe;
  • instructions for registration the card to the manufacturer's website;
  • Quick Start Guide;
  • sticker on the computer case;
  • CD with software and drivers;
  • bridge AMD CrossFireX;
  • 1.8 m HDMI cable.

Such set may please the buyer not only by the necessary components and adapters, but also additional accessories in the form of the bridge AMD CrossFireX and HDMI-cable. The only thing that may be required by some users is DVI↔D-Sub adapter for analog monitors, which have to be purchased separately.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

To display the picture the following set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I.

At the moment this set is optimal for high-performance adapters, because it contains all the modern sockets that will connect almost any monitor or TV. Also there is official support of displays with a resolution of 4K Ultra HD (4096 x 2160).

Design and circuitry

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Graphics card is made on the PCB with height of 112 mm. PCB applies color textolite. The graphics chip is equipped with a protective frame, which is designed to protect it from chipping when removing and installing the cooling system.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

The power subsystem SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST is performed according 6+1+1-phase scheme (for the GPU, memory and PLL unit, respectively). Its circuits use a proprietary chokes with low-power consumption SAPPHIRE Black Diamond, as well as high polymer aluminum capacitors with high-life (over 5000 hours).

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Also here are used chips International Rectifier IR3553M, and chip International Rectifier IR3567B is used as controller. It can control 8 phases.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Power supply of graphics accelerator is realized via socket PCI Express x16 and two additional 8-pin connectors PCIe. Connection of cables is a bit difficult due to close proximity of the radiator.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Implementation of technology of combining several graphics cards for increased performance is provided by two connectors AMD CrossFireX, which allows to connect two to four devices.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Near there is a button to switch modes of compatibility between systems with support of UEFI BIOS without it. When it is active there is a blue color of LED which indicates about enabled function is «Secure Boot».

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

The reverse side of the printed circuit board contains several elements of the power subsystem, as well as the screws that secure the cooling system.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Also there is a row of LEDs that indicate the number of active power phases at a particular point of operation of the adapter.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST operates on the basis of chip AMD Radeon R9 280X (Tahiti XTL), which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.7.8 as «Tahiti». It is produced according 28 nm technology process and includes 2048 unified shader pipelines, 32 Rops and 128 texture units. Nominal frequency of the GPU is 1000 MHz, and dynamic - 1100 MHz.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Graphics card is equipped with 3 GB of memory collected by 12 chips SSK Hynix H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC. These chips operate at effective frequency of 6000 MHz, which fully corresponds to the reference value. Exchange of data between memory and the graphics chip is carried out by 384-bit bus with a capacity of 288 GB/s.

Cooling system

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Proprietary cooling system VAPOR-X model SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST has the length of 322 mm and occupies two slots for expansion cards. The front part is covered with a protective casing.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

To create an active airflow FirstDO FDC10H12D9-C fan is applied. Its characteristics are 12 V and 0.35 A, which are mounted on a plastic frame. The diameter of each of them is 86 mm.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Large heatsink contacts not only with the GPU, but with all the memory chips, as well as with elements of power system through a special thermal pads.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

In the center there is a copper vapor chamber, which allows more effectively remove heat from the GPU. Its operation principle is that a liquid refrigerant (2) is evaporated from the hot surface (1), after is cooled and condensed (5) on the cold upper side (4). Then it returns to its original position and the process is repeated.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

Additionally the heat is removed via five copper tubes: two last have a diameter of 6 mm and three central - 8 mm. They are qualitatively soldered to the fins of the radiator, and to the copper vapor chamber, but are not coated with a layer of nickel (accordingly, are subjected to oxidation), which may slightly worse its characteristics during operation.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

During automatic control of fan speed, at maximum load, the GPU was heated up to 66°C. Fans were operated only at 39% (1899 rpm) of its maximum speed. The created noise is "below average", and it was very comfortable for extended use.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

In mode of the maximum rotational speed of the fan blades (4016 rpm), the GPU temperature was dropped to 57°C. Even in this mode, the noise level of the cooling system was average and quite comfortable work.

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 TRI-X OC WITH BOOST

In idle mode the graphics core frequency dropped to 300 MHz, and the fans started to operate very quietly (1447 rpm). In this state the GPU temperature did not exceed 39°C.


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