Sapphire HD 2900 XT

Conclusion

Conclusion

The Sapphire HD 2900 XT is a nice card and the 2900 XT is, in my eyes, a good solid release from ATI/AMD. In our game tests the results were mixed with the ATI offering often beating the nVidia 8800's out of the door as regards FPS, especially in Oblivion. The HD2900 XT also showed it's colours in the Futuremark suite, scoring some nice numbers there.

However, one does wonder if it was enough to release a card that merely competed with nVidia's mid-high range cards. It's certainly left the market wide open, giving customers more choice, but has it given them motivation to buy an ATI branded product? I'm not so sure.

Looking at bundle and pricing, the card stands out here. With a great bundle for what you are paying it's sure to grab a few people's attention. The fantastic software on offer will tempt those looking for the complete bundle and at around £240ish (see recommended retailers below), you are getting decent value for money.

tekheads recommended retailer

Although the 2900 XT has failed to grasp ultra high end enthusiasts there's still something there for people who want a nice card for their money. If you can ignore the slightly whiney fan it's worth taking into consideration. That in mind, we're giving it an "OC3D Recommended" award.

Recommended Award

Pro's

+ Good solid performance
+ Cool running card
+ Great looking
+ Excellent bundle
+ Decent overclocking

Con's

- Only competes where perhaps it should have dominated
- Slightly whiney cooler
- 1 x 8 PIN PCI-e cable needed for safe overclocking

Thanks to Sapphire for supplying the review sample

Discuss in our Forums
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Most Recent Comments

09-07-2007, 03:39:55

FarFarAway
I know some of you have been awaiting this one for a while

Sorry about that

Here we go

Enjoy

09-07-2007, 06:56:17

mVp24
As always, nice review Kempez!

09-07-2007, 07:04:16

ionicle
wow, it kicked the 8800's ass at some things :O

in 3dmark it dominated

nice looking card

09-07-2007, 07:45:41

FarFarAway
Tis nice looking, not kind on the ears though

09-07-2007, 07:47:23

mVp24
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
Tis nice looking, not kind on the ears though
I heard a crossfire setup of those. Man oh man hecka loud! If ATI sorted their size/power/noise issue, then I'd have definitely considered an HD2900XT.

09-07-2007, 07:53:10

Ham
Not a fan on the sandwich heatsink. The 8800 Blocks are expensive enough, the 2900s are going too need even more copper = higher price again. Same goes for after-market air coolers.

But at the oblivion results

09-07-2007, 07:58:50

nunzio
Looks nice..

But a question, would this be a good upgrade from my x1900xt or should i go for a 2600xt? I am in two minds, as i dont really play a lot of games. But i do run two 1600x1200 monitors, and would like to be able to do dual screen with dx3d apps.

Or would a 8800GTS 640mb be better, given the price differences between them.

09-07-2007, 08:30:27

Rastalovich
Tremendous review Kemp. I wonder why an 8 pin pci-e thingy isn`t in the bundle ? Seems strange to adopt a personalized connection type and not equip the average user with the means to use it.

That aside, bundle scores very nicely - tbh other manufacturers can learn a whole lot from this. Users love `free` stuff, and when it`s closely associated with the product too it`s great. Jeez a user would be happy with an XL "I score with Ati" shirt folded at the bottom of the box

Slightly off topic perhaps, but I see the Oblivion scores are silly-high in comparison with a 8800GTS... leads me to think if the game was heavily dev`d around an Ati engine. Would answer a few questions tbh. I can`t remember whether it boasts a card manuf when u run it.

Over all tho, I think it turned out as u may have previously thought, a good solid competitor for an 8800GTS. And it seems if u`r a really big Oblivion fan, u should seriously consider it.

09-07-2007, 12:12:28

NickS
Nice review but I think the comment about the "needing the extra 2 pins" was unnecessary. If you take a look @ the rear of your 8800GTX, you'll notice there is in fact a 6 pin and an 8 pin. NVIDIA chose to only solder on 6 of those 8 pins though. ATi could've done the same thing, you don't need 8 pins. ATi's Overdrive unlocks when you use an 8 pin and a 6 pin, but some people @ XS have discovered you can use two 6 pins and short the remaining 2 with a paperclip and Overdrive unlocks

09-07-2007, 12:55:21

FarFarAway
This I know, what I am questioning is why did ATI choose to include this? And why have they chosed not to unlock overdrive if you dont use the 6 PIN. Normal users won't be sticking paperclips into graphics cards and why the hell should they?

I am not just catering for the knowledgable enthusiasts in the reviews, it has to be everyone tbh

09-07-2007, 13:34:24

equk
long review

On the quake4 test. Did you do a timedemo the results seem a bit 'wild'

All of the fps results are a bit wierd how do you get the avg fps etc?

edit: Once again I did three two minute runs on Quake 4 on each card and took the average of all my readings from these.

Sounds like a FRAPS type job?

The oblivion benchmark? is quite interesting.

On the hardware side, the cooler is quite nice

Shame about it being noisy

I thought the review was excellent. I really liked the beginning with the hardware images and little bits of info like the fan being noisy etc

I would be interested to see the HDMI capabilities of the card

09-07-2007, 13:50:15

FarFarAway
Ye I use FRAPS to record FPS and play a manual run through of the game. Not sure why you say "wild", tis just min, max and average FPS. I know it works well cause the FPS stay the same every time and comparing two similar cards gets similar results. Some cards handle games well staying very steady, some really fluctuate ate certain points. That's where my impressions of the game come in so I can say if it was smooth or not (not just let the graphs do the talking)

Ta mate

I would have tested HDMI but I don't have an HDMI TV/Monitor (yet). Still, I know HDCP works well

17-07-2007, 05:27:54

badsykes
There is a flaw in the review and nvidia cards were in disadvantage ..

"Both nVidia cards are using the nVidia !!! 97.92 !!! Forceware drivers.

The ATI card was installed with the Catalyst Control Center 7.6's."

The latest oficial is 158.22 and the latest beta is 163 ... Can the reviewer repeat the tests with latest official if not beta drivers...I hate nvidia very much but the reviews must be fair..

Latest drivers VS latest drivers

7.6 official VS 158.22 official

17-07-2007, 05:44:37

FarFarAway
The review clearly states that these results were taken from a previous review which is the reason for the older drivers.

Yes there would perhaps be a difference, but not to the extent it would skew the results.

I no longer have the 8800 GTS's as they are back with the manufacturers.

17-07-2007, 06:27:40

badsykes
Ya .. sorry..I forgot that the review states that thing.

06-08-2007, 09:57:59

badsykes
Hello Kempez.After 7.8 will be released is any chance to update the review.The AA performance has been improved radically.

06-08-2007, 10:46:07

FarFarAway
I no longer have a 2900XT, and unfortunately I can't redo each review after every driver release, I have enough trouble reviewing the new stuff that comes in!

06-08-2007, 13:25:17

!TIMMY!
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='badsykes'
Hello Kempez.After 7.8 will be released is any chance to update the review.The AA performance has been improved radically.
When will they be out? These 7.7's look nice, but performance sucks.

07-09-2007, 09:23:24

badsykes
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
I no longer have a 2900XT, and unfortunately I can't redo each review after every driver release, I have enough trouble reviewing the new stuff that comes in!
Heh sorry mate :P..I think the reviews for a new VGA should be done after a couple of month..The trend is too early releases but with buggy drivers

08-09-2007, 14:57:50

FarFarAway
Trouble is this isn't when the graphics cards companies want them done, and we kind of have to live by their schedule I'm afraid
Reply
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