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.
- Excellent overclocking ability
- Best cooling solution this side of watercooling
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Great connectivity
- No included game
- Conservative GPU overclock