Sapphire 4890 Vapor-X PCIe Graphics Card

Test Setup

Test Setup

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configurations used in this review can be seen below:
i7 Rig

CPU: Intel Nehalem i7 920 Skt1366 2.66GHz (@3.8 Ghz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair DDR3 1600mhz @ 8-8-8-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU: Sapphire HD 4890 1GB Vapor-X
Graphics Drivers: Supplied by Sapphire
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w

During the testing of the setups above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage

3D Games
• Crysis
• Far Cry 2
• Oblivion

• Race drive: GRID
• Call of Duty IV
• Unreal Tournament III

Power Consumption

Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Because of this, the readings below are of the total system, not just the GPU. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of Furmark.
Power consumption of the Sapphire HD4890-Vapor-X was nothing really to shout about. While idle power draw was fairly low, when placed under full load the power consumption rocketed. One has to bear in mind that this is for the whole PC setup taken at the socket and not the card itself but still, the 4890 was among the hungriest of GPU's in our list.

Temperatures were taken at the factory clocked speed during idle in Windows and after 10 minutes of running Furmark with settings maxed out (2560x1600 8xMSAA). Ambient temperatures were taken with a household thermometer. As we use an open test bench setup consideration should be given to the fact that the temperatures would likely increase further in a closed case environment.
Despite the amount of power the 4890 consumed, temperatures were kept to a minimum thanks mostly to the Vapor-X cooling atop of the GPU. Idle temperatures were not fantastic but the load temps were nothing short of exceptional, especially when you consider the fan was running at AUTO speed which at the time rarely exceeded 40% ensuring that the graphics card temperatures were kept in line with ATI's specification while the noise emitted from the cooler was next to nothing.
For our overclocking tests I used the RivaTuner utility which worked perfectly with our setup. To test stability I ran 3D Mark 06 and a few runs of Call of Duty 4.
stock overclocked
As with our previous reviews of the HD4890, the card maxed out the sliders on ATI's overdrive facility with both GPU(1GHz) and memory (1200 (4800 effective) ). With the card clocked at these massive speeds it has to be noted that the Sapphire Vapor-X cooler performed admirably, hardly spinning up at all during the test runs.
Here are the effects of the overclocks:
Call of Duty IV showed some good gains throughout at all the resolutions tested. Most impressive was the extra 14FPS gained at the lowest resolution of 1680x1050. It goes without saying that should you purchase the Sapphire Vapor-X HD4890 then you really should consider overclocking the card to the max. However, while there are benefits to be had from overclocking, this card might not need it so without further delay let's start up our suite of benchmarks starting with the synthetics... 
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Most Recent Comments

02-06-2009, 06:21:08

"Can Sapphire's vapor X cooler keep this maniacal overclocker of a card in check or is it just a lot of media hype and hot wind? Find out in our latest GPU review..."

Sapphire 4890 Vapor-X PCIe Graphics CardQuote

02-06-2009, 06:42:45

the card peforms extremely well, but the card looks horrible when will sapphire discover good looking card chassisQuote

02-06-2009, 07:29:13

Sweet review man, massive props to Sapphire for final sticking a non reference cooled card on the market. Any idea when these will be available?Quote

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