Sapphire 4890 Vapor-X PCIe Graphics Card

Conclusion

Conclusion
 
Sapphire have yet again shown other manufacturers how to build a graphics card. The HD4890 Vapor-X may not be the highest  pre-overclocked card available but it is definitely the quietest air-cooled version. There's a lot to be said for high performance, quiet running GPU's and Sapphire should shout from the rooftops about this card as it has silence, stock reference cards can only dream about.
 
The card graphically performs on a par with other pre-overclocked 4890's and while this card has a miserly 20MHz overclock on the core, this speed can easily be increased using CCC's overdrive facility with the minimum of effort should you yearn for the absolute maximum frames per second. The memory overclock however, is already fairly high as overclocked versions go and this helped minimise the deficit of the GPU overclock shown by the majority of the benchmarks we ran today. Again, if you are overclocking the core you may just as well overclock the memory to Overdrive's limit as this cards cooling capacity can clearly take the heat.
 
Another area I was particularly impressed with was the packaging. While the included accessories were nothing above the norm, the improvements Sapphire have made to both the internal structure and external presentation are very welcome indeed. I can only hope that these methods are transferred to the lesser cards in Sapphire line up which at times left a lot to be desired. At present we do not have an exact price for the HD4890 Vapor-X version but I would expect it to be in the region of competing overclocked versions.
 
To summarise, the Sapphire HD4890 Vapor-X is an extremely good example of how innovative cooling solutions can make the difference between a good card and an excellent one. Sapphires Vapor-X technology is one such innovation which differentiates this card from being an also-ran to a 1st place finish. An old adage said that if you can't stand the heat you'd better get out of the kitchen. Well if you have this card in your armoury you can stay in the kitchen all day long. Personally, that would just be a waste of good gaming time which if I haven't already mentioned, this card also happens to excel at.
 
The Good
- Excellent overclocking ability
- Best cooling solution this side of watercooling
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Great connectivity
 
The Mediocre
- No included game
- Conservative GPU overclock
 
The Bad
- Nothing
 
 
 
Thanks to Sapphire for providing the HD4890 Vapor-X for todays review. Discuss in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

02-06-2009, 06:21:08

JN
"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..."

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...112449516s.jpg

Sapphire 4890 Vapor-X PCIe Graphics Card

02-06-2009, 06:42:45

Ghosthud1
the card peforms extremely well, but the card looks horrible when will sapphire discover good looking card chassis

02-06-2009, 07:29:13

ali_james
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?

02-06-2009, 14:51:16

Bungral
Nice review as always my good man!

I wasn't sure that these coolers would make much odds over other after market coolers but those temps are pretty damn good.

08-06-2009, 12:40:40

diogojrv91
very nice review!

Is that cooler good enought?

30-06-2009, 18:05:52

Sgt.Bilko
Well actually I am not quite convinced. You see almost solely based on this review I went merrily our and promptly bought 2 of these cards only to find that .

1) They run a lot hotter than stated. 67 Celcius at idle and run so hot when gaming that my PC crashes. I haven't managed to record the temp just before crash-poin but I have seen it at upto a blistering 93 Celcius!

2) I don't get anywhere near the FPS stated in the article. Infact I get exactly the same when playing CoD World at War online with 2 of these cards in crossfire as I did with one 9800GTX+. Namely 91 FPS.

I have plenty of ventilation in my rig and the fans on the HD4890s are certainly working.

At +4000rpm (confirmed by ATIs own CCC program and CPUIDs Hardware Monitor) they are audible let me tell you.

I don't believe my system is to blame despite it not being cutting edge.

Sapphire recommend a bigger PSU. 650W-750W and monitoring my temps with rivatuner.

I have a 620W PSU and run Vista ultimate 64 bit, which doesn't allow rivatuner to work since I downloaded the latest update if you can call it that.

Sys Specs:- Q9550@3.2GHz with Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme cooler and Noctua NF-P12 fan. ASUS Maximus Formula Republic of Gamers motherboard with X38 chipset and 4 GHZ of Kingston HyperX PC9600 RAM @ 1207MHz being cooled with a Corsair Dominator Airflow Fan.

CoolerMaster Real Power M620 Modular PSU.

Vista Ultimate 64 bit OS.

Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ 500 GB.

All incased in a Aerocool Hi-Tech 7 cabinette with a 40cm fan on the side and 2 x 12cm fans, one infront and one at the back.

Any good advice would be appriciated.

Bilko out.

01-07-2009, 18:49:20

w3bbo
Hey Bilko, believe it or not your system is a quite a lot inferior than our test system.

You CPU is not only slower than our i7 CPU but it is also clocked a lot slower. CPU bottlenecking, which you will almost certainly have with 2 4890's at your current CPU & clockspeed, is the most likely culprit in why you are not seeing good FPS. You are also running with 4GB of DDR2 at a much slower speed than the test systems 6GB of DDR3 which is running 400MHz faster than yours. I don't wish to put your system down as it sounds like a sweet setup but our test setup is specifically designed not to bottleneck any product we throw at it and as such any product we review is done so under optimum conditions.

Rivatuner works fine with Vista 64bit. I use it to overclock NVidia cards.

Your PC is most likely resetting due to power requirements I'm afraid. You would most likely begin to have corruption on the screen or a BSOD if GPU temperatures were an issue. Because your PC is shutting itself down with no warning this points to an overloaded PSU. Comparing your temps to the ones I recieved while writing the review is not conducive to solving your problem. The temps I recorded were taken in an open system in an air conditioned room held at 23c ambient apx. With the recent temps it really is no surprise you are getting high GPU temps. Take a look on any enthusiast forum and everyone is moaning about high CPU and GPU temps at present.

If you do manage to sort your power issue out, I really wouldn't worry about 90c under load conditions on a GPU, running cards close together in crossfire (especially on a maximus X38) will inevitably increase temps but they can take 90c+ all day long.

02-07-2009, 11:20:59

cl0ck_ed
@bilko, i bet that the fps in cod waw are capped at 90fps which shows 91fps. You need to raise the maxfps to 125 or 250 for example.

in the command line, type: /com maxfps 250

02-07-2009, 11:27:21

cl0ck_ed
WOW, what is wrong with the hd4770 and gts250 idle power consumption in your graph! They are bothe 40watts more that the gtx285!! And consume more power than the hd4890

02-07-2009, 12:03:09

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'

CPU bottlenecking, which you will almost certainly have with 2 4890's at your current CPU & clockspeed, is the most likely culprit in why you are not seeing good FPS. You are also running with 4GB of DDR2 at a much slower speed than the test systems 6GB of DDR3 which is running 400MHz faster than yours. I don't wish to put your system down as it sounds like a sweet setup but our test setup is specifically designed not to bottleneck any product we throw at it and as such any product we review is done so under optimum conditions.
Looking at his goods (oh my), I don't think this is his problem.

Whilst using a superior cpu is always the better choice to put the emphasis on the gpu in real games, the cpu does however slant results from artificial benches, with the better exception being vantage (it doesn't seem to benefit as-much). But what can u do, u have to stick with a platform best for longevity of testing, and stay current.

I'd personally expect no bottleneck from the stuff he has due to the cpu. Imo he has something else going on.

02-07-2009, 12:36:04

kamikaasie
Hi all just passed this site for the review about vapor-X 4890

and i must say bilko is just right on somethings.

i did buy 2 xfx hd4870 in crossfire , they run 38a40 idle and 61a66 degrees fullload

i talk about the gpu diode memIO in everest because thats the one that become the hottest point

2 x - xfx hd4870 1gig crossfire with triplehead2go digital 5040x1050

gpu1a (diode displ) 34

gpu1b (diode Mem) 38 IDLE BUT FAN SET ON 50%

gpu1c (diode shader) 33

full load is highest mem temp 66

For both cards almost same temps 1 run little hotter about 2 a3 degrees

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1x sapphire hd4890 vapor-x with triplehead2go digital 5040x1050

gpu 1a = 50

gpu 1b = 58 IDLE BUT FAN SET ON 50%

gpu 1c = 48

edit: i forgot this temp is with memory set back to 900mhz duh

over the full load i do not wanna talk about the 4890 vapor-x (read vapor minus xtra) the memory was over the 87 deg

i go change it for an xfx4890 tomorrow grrrr

i think they play crysis and see that the guy be vaporized in the tree and the idea was born. a bag of baked air, and i never get used to this !!! lol

so i think its a blown up bagg of air and media hype, and please not say i have worst setup or airflow or bottlenecks

i just think this test was taken with a open pc with a big fan on it

my hd2900xt in crossfire where 67 and 71 degrees full load

q6600 @ 3200 39deg

Asus P5E 40deg

4gig corsair dominator at 1160 with cooler

wd 320 sataII 33deg

03-07-2009, 13:41:13

Sgt.Bilko
Well I went out and bought a bigger PSU. A Corsair TX850W.

Now my PC doesn't crash, but guess what... SURPRISE! it's just as hot, infact it can now reach new temps. After Hr of CoD5 WaW online I reached a staggering 101 Celcius (room temp 23.5 Celcius FYI w3bbo).

That is at factory settings...God alone knows what would happen if I tried to overclock these cards coz I'm not trying it!

Now I might be able to live with that, if I bought 2 GPUs that had stock cooling but when they are heralded as the new messia this side of water cooling not just by Sapphire but also you guys. I expect something better.

Even on my slow, antiquated, bottlenecked rig.

While I'm sitting writing this my idle temp is 68 Celcius and fan speeds are at 50%. Again that is factory settings. nothing I have done. That isn't what I would call super-cool.

Now don't get all deffensive again, all I'm saying is be careful how you test/review components. In the real world we have closed cabinets and might not have this years kick-ass rig...I have last years.

Thanx for the heads up about maxfps cl0ck_ed, I had forgotten all about that, I can now see a difference albeit fluctuating:worship.

Bilko out.

Updated Sys Specs:- Q9550@3.2GHz with Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme cooler and Noctua NF-P12 fan. ASUS Maximus Formula Republic of Gamers motherboard with X38 chipset and 4 GHZ of Kingston HyperX PC9600 RAM @ 1207MHz being cooled with a Corsair Dominator Airflow Fan.

Corsair TX850W PSU.

Vista Ultimate 64 bit OS.

Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ 500 GB.

All incased in a Aerocool Hi-Tech 7 cabinette with a 40cm fan on the side and 2 x 12cm fans, one infront and one at the back.

03-07-2009, 13:59:49

monkey7
No need to be this aggressive about the measured temps, I don't doubt the neutrality of w3bbo's measurements, even if they are taken in open air.

If I were you (both of you) I'd make a topic describing your case layout, preferably with a picture of it. This way we could advice on how to make it more effective, 3*120mm should be enough to keep it below 80*C at stock settings.

03-07-2009, 15:24:47

w3bbo
I don't know why you expected temperatures to drop because you bought a bigger PSU. My advice that it was likely down to a power issue was to resolve the crashing, which you blamed on temperatures. It seems I was correct on that occasion.

I could review items in closed quarters but then folk would complain that it is still not right because it is impossible to cater for all scenrio's. Temperatures I report should only be used as a comparison to other temperatures in the graphs I show, i.e 4890 vs GTX285 etc. What runs hotter for me will likely run hotter for you. You cannot compare the temps I got to what you have as they are two totally different setups in two totally different environments I'm afraid.

Have you tried just one GPU and see what temps that reports? I have a feeling that both cards are emitting too much heat for your case to cope with, heating up the case without the exhaust fans being able to keep up.

If your cards are sitting at almost 70c idle then you either have some serious airflow problems in your case or the cards are faulty. Another review site claimed load temps which were as near as dammit the same as I got so I don't believe it's a problem with the card.

As Monkey says, you would be better making a separate post in the hardware section so people here can help you with your problem. We are afterall, only trying to help you.

03-07-2009, 15:53:18

Mul.
Excellent review w3bbo.

I think the moral of the story for some is to not just buy a product based on a review but to also consider one's own needs as well as considering their existing system specifications beforehand. It's also fair to say that every system even with the same specification is likely to perform a little differently and as such trying to hit the same frame rates achieved in a given review is a little unrealistic. What much of these benchmarks are good for are getting an idea of a graphics cards performance relative to another graphics card with the same testbed.

03-07-2009, 20:53:14

cl0ck_ed
Looking at the cooler on this vapor-x card all the heat will be exhausted into the case. Whereas the stock cooler exhausts all hot air out the back. This is probably the reason why you are getting such different results. On an open test bed the cooler will be at an advatage as its exhausted heat will be quickly transmitted away from the card.

I think testing temps of the cards on an open test bed isn't a good idea as for the majority of people it will not give a good indication of gfx card temperatures. I think you sound choose a popular case like the antec 300.

03-07-2009, 21:45:31

kamikaasie
Hi all ;-)

at first place was it not an attack on you but forme to the vapor-x

so sorry for that if feels so, you did write good review thats for sure.

i know cost lot time and sweat and tears to make all work okay

and write, make pictures ect

and i did not buy it on your review i just did buy it some hours earlier,

nothing to blame you, if i did also not

so well done job there of course , i for sure would do it not better

and i am not here complaining the review.

but my pc case is very cool but noisy

2x 25cm front and side

2x 12 cm out back and psu

fan set on memory dominator

zalman copper on processor

if i say temps 67 and 71 fullload hd2900xt crossfire,1 had an artic cooling triplefan (standard 2 heatpipes was first type was to hot to), that was 67 but the fans almost never go rotate only auto at 70 degrees,other was a new type standard with 3 heatpipes-15degrees less then 1th in begin, so i think you can see my case is very cool for that card i think.

but something is right here its an open cooler also, so not all heat go out, also a lot heat come in pc case, they claim its produced so it go out, but it always will go out ofcourse ;-)

so thats the point for now all run hot on idle because fan go to slow,under 1000 on start point, but when go to power mode its also very loud .and it also blow lot VERY HOT AIR in the pc case.

so my opinion , the cooler looks greater then the funtion it have.

maybe they look to much to try win performance but better win in less power and less heat also .

so for my opinion i think the cooler vapor-x as better cooling isnt a well done job.

also not the noise from the fan , thats also more at 40% then the xfx4870 s in crossfire on 60%

my card is 53 degrees now stock but the memory is 64 , so your temps indication are right if not look at the memory

my temps are ok then but memory go 10a15 higher look in everest it gave 3 temps 53gpu 64mem 51environment

also the clocks of memory not go back in idle mode only core go to 240.

so for me its ok so i will keep the fan noise for now better then the hot part

i did not change it because i did change already this for 2 hd4870

so i hope you understand all was not attack but just an uncontrolled impulsive reaction on the hottemps instead the review lol

have fun all nice weekend

04-07-2009, 05:42:54

monkey7
To avoid total offtopicness, I've taken the freedom of posting a new topic for you:

http://forum.overclock3d.net/showthread.php?p=336381#post336381
Reply
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