Sapphire Reveals Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X Tri-X Cards

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Sep 22, 2013
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Speaking of heat, I will never buy another Sapphire card until I see they've improved their cooling solution.

My 7870 was a great card, in terms of performance, but their cooler just didn't cut it. It ran a full 10C hotter than my Asus DCII or Gigabyte Windforce cards.

I eventually removed the cooler to inspect and try to get a better contact. What I found was horrendous: There was enough thermal paste to probably cover 3 or 4 cards and it had spilled all over the edges of the GPU. The contact area (copper plate) of the cooler was milled to a surface quality of maybe a meat tenderizer. It was seriously rough to the touch and the mill marks were clearly visible. The surface angle was actually convex; probably about 3-5 degrees, and it wasn't even convex to center. This might be okay on a CPU, but considering the Pitcairn GPU is actually perfectly flat, it's clearly less than optimal. Some 0000 steel wool helped to smooth out the surface and flatten it, but not without some serious (and what should be entirely unnecessary) elbow grease.

Sapphire makes great cards. Their coolers need some work. This same issue scares me away from the MSI cards as their Frozr coolers look exactly the same; it's like they're manufactured by the same company.

For a card as hot as the 290/290x I'd be weary of any Sapphire solutions until I see some performance reviews.
 

Optimus_Toaster

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Kitguru have already reviewed this card and the cooler keeps it under 70C. I know a lot of happy sapphire customers without any complaint for the coolers and I know that the MSI Twin Frozr coolers are some of the best around (due to owning a twin frozr 3 and 4 card)

Also the card doesn't come with a backplate, and although similar, the 280x toxic edition's cooler is a bit different to this and IMO a lot nicer looking.
 

jimmysmitty

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Which Sapphire did you have exactly? If it was a dual-X I am not surprised as those are entry level cards. But in every review I have seen shows the 280X Toxic having better temps than the Asus DCUII.

Asus and Sapphire make the best when it comes to cooling. My Vapor-X HD7970GHz never broke 70c while bitcoin mining during the summer and I live in AZ.

I do plan on going with a DCUII for the 290X I want but that's because it will better match my Maximus VI, SB z and Corsair 860i in color.
 
Sep 22, 2013
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I hope that's the case; yes I had a Dual X, it was a 7870 GHz OC v2. Still a pathetic cooler implementation when the Asus for the same price had a DCII. Hardly even qualified as "entry level"; that cooler should at least be functional.

That said, I think you meant Asus and Gigabyte make the best when it comes to cooling. Not only is the Windforce the best cooling solution I've had on a card, it's also the quietest, even under full load. I would opt for a Windforce-equiped card any day of the week, but the DCII is about 95% as good.
 

jimmysmitty

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No I didn't actually. I personally don't trust Gigabyte since when I worked at a PC shop, I had multiple versions of their motherboards die out on me. Not as bad as MSIs X58 lineup which had chipset cooling issues but still bad enough.

And from what I can find, the Sapphire 280X Toxic runs at a higher core and memory speed and is around the same temperature as the Windforce. DB wise its +/- but close enough for me.

And between all three, I would probably opt for Asus because of their legendary quality and probably better support out of the three.

And of the cooling solutions that Sapphire provides, once they push them out the Dual-X is their entry level one. Next is Vapor-X, then Tri-X and then they have the Toxic which is a bit modified Tri-X. Mich like Asus tends to have the DCUII, DCUII Vs and the Matrix.
 

kaitheus

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Good luck getting one of these for playing games before a Litecoin miner snatches em up lolz, as that's the current issue atm with AMD GPU stock >.<, rather annoying actually lolz I was ganna pickup a R9 290 when the non-refs came out but that changed :/.
 
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Fair enough, but I think it's hard to condemn a whole brand based on one experience, which is why I said if I see better cooling solutions then I'd be willing to consider Sapphire again. Whereas you are condemning Gigabyte cards based on some bad motherboards, yet they have a pretty solid record in both GPUs and MBs. Even Tom's uses a Gigabyte board in a lot of their testing; I wonder why?

Sapphire may have a varied product line like Asus, but the quality of their entry level vs. the quality of the entry level from Asus is night and day. I would consider their product line again when I see a comparable product for a comparable price. I shouldn't have to pay extra for equivalent performance, not to mention the Sapphire card I had did not have high-quality Hynix VRAM like the Asus DCII.

The Windforce is available in an OC version for every card Gigabyte has put out, AMD and Nvidia, so I'm sure they'll have a competitive card to the Tri-X, clock-wise.


 

cramved

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This looks like a wind force copy a better looking one though. I hate the look of gigabytes cooler I will never buy there card no matter how good they are because they look so bad.
 

06yfz450ridr

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i guarantee every brand that you remove the heatsink on the paste is over flowing, I have never seen one that hasnt.

my dual x 7970 OC runs 10c hotter idling than my 7970 vapor x in xfire, I had to re apply the paste on the dual x with arctic silver and the max temps are almost identical, where as before it was decently higher

for the price what do you expect the lower end sapphire cards are sometimes quite a bit cheaper? they cool just fine even overclocked
 

deadbc77

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I have the Sapphire 7970 Toxic sitting on the shelf.Its a great card.
Was waiting for this one but.... not a fan(no pun intended) of the black, and yellow theme.
So i will stick with their reference 290X
 
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Maybe you leave your card out somewhere where you can see it, but I install mine on the motherboard inside a case, so I don't care if it's pink with sparkles so long as it kicks ass.
 

bemused_fred

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Did you do the bios-flashing....thing that made it into a 6970?



I dunno. That would be pretty badass, actually.....
 

west7

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i have hd7950 vapor-x the card temps is around 63C but the vrm temps is is around 78C° on 10min stress test 83C° i oced the card with alittle overvoltge the vrm temps around 92C° while the 2 fans are spinig at 3000rpm
no more sapphire card for me
 

cbrunnem

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this boils down to you get what you pay for.

plus your experience conflict against direct testing of the cards. your dual x should NOT be 10*c cooler then a windforce.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-overclock-review,3186-11.html


plus sapphire supposedly get better chips from AMD since sapphire is a preferred customer.
 

redeemer

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Hawaii's heat is over exaggerated, the reference cooler is crap that's why the chip gets hot that's why AMD designed the chip to run 94c all day 24/7.

Even the GTX Titan with is magnificent reference cooler hits 80'c at load. Most modern cases will have no problems with ventilation!
 

cbrunnem

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i dont think you know how this stuff works. the 290x uses more power yes but the none reference design will output just as much heat as the reference design... the most heat that that card could put out is the energy it uses which is about 300 watts. no it obviously doesnt put out 300 watts off heat but changing to cooler doesnt change how much heat it puts off. it just changes how quickly heat is added to the air.

you would need the same amount fans regardless of the type of cooler
 
Sep 22, 2013
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I didn't say it was 10C cooler, I said 10C HOTTER, and actually it's 10C hotter than my DCII was (same 7870 model) and 15C hotter than my 770 GTX 4GB Windforce.

I also don't agree with the "get what you pay for" statement, at least not in this specific case. The Sapphire card was not a cent cheaper than the DCII, they were both purchased for a Newegg sale prices of $179 (couple months ago) with an original price of $199.

This means, as I've been trying to say over and over, that the Sapphire was less value for the same money. Both cards could run OC'd at 1150GPU/1250VRAM and not a MHz more without stability issues.

When Sapphire creates a solution that has an equivalent quality for the same price, I'll take a look.... after I see some reviews.

I'll admit, as one poster above mentioned, there is usually excess thermal paste on GPU coolers. But this was an ENORMOUS amount. I wish I'd taken a picture. It covered about 3/4 of the inner part of the GPU... not the core... the WHOLE GPU.

This combined with the fact that the surface of the copper block on the cooler looked like someone hacked it off the master block of copper with a pocket knife was disappointing.

Compared to the reasonable amount of TP on the DCII card with a tiny bit of overflow and the smooth-as-silk finish on the copper block, I'd say the value between cards is obvious.
 
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