Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 3GB Overclock EditionThe AMD Radeon R9 2xx series has been out since October 2013, and we are continuing to see new versions of the R9 200 series. The R9 280 series is basically a rebranded Radeon HD 7950 with a few tweaks. Powered by a single 28nm Tahiti XTL GPU, it features 1792 Stream processors running at 850MHz with a boost to 940Mhz. Compared to the reference R9 280 of 827MHz and 933MHz boost. It's memory consists of 3GB GDDR clocked at 5000Mhz. To keep the card cool, Sapphire has switched from their Tri-X Cooling technology to Dual-X cooling, which has two fans. This overclocked edition is currently available as part 11230-00-40G for $239.99 shipped which includes Sapphires 2 year warranty. Fans of Sapphire might be familiar with their Vapor-X technology used in their higher end cards. As the Dual-X R9 280 is a more mainstream card, they have implemented a new cooling technology, the Dual-X. Dual-X uses multiple heatpipes to help dissipate the heat, dual fans then provide the airflow to cool the radiator and heatpipes. Like with most modern cards, the fans will slow down to near silent operation during normal use and spin up for extra cooling performance under a heavy load. Like many of Sapphire's video cards, the Dual-X R9 280 has a dual BIOS, one is used to boot in legacy compatibility mode, while the second boots with UEFI. All that it takes to switch between the two is a push of a button along the top edge of the video card. The dual CrossFireX connectors can be seen on the PCB behind the button Sapphire has gone with two 6-pin PCIe power connectors for the Dual-X R9 280, these are located along the top right edge of the card. To power the card, Sapphire states a 500W power supply is required, or 850W if you are running a CrossFireX system. The Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 supports up to four monitors, with four full size video connectors. There is a pair of Dual-Link DVI connectors, DVI-D and DVI-I, each of which will support resolutions up to 2560x1600. The DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a connections increases the resolution up to 4096x2160 for Quad HD displays. In addition, the HDMI connection will support 7.1 audio streams and 3D video. With a quick look at the back of the card, we finish the overview of the Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 OC. On the back of the, there is no backplate or other components. At one end of the card are a couple of labels which include the serial number and model number. Features and Specifications: Sapphire Dual-X Cooling Technology Famous for our exclusive cooling solutions like the award winning Vapor Chamber Cooling technology - Vapor-X, SAPPHIRE's reputation for innovative excellence continues to grow with the introduction of our new dual-extractor technology - Dual-X. Dual-X is a highly efficient multi-heatpipe cooler with dual fans that provide quiet and very cool operation during normal operating conditions, and superb cooling performance even under extreme load.
|Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 3GB GDDR5 OC With Boost|
|Display Support||supports up to 3 display monitor(s) without DisplayPort
4 x Maximum Display Monitor(s) support
To support 3rd monitor without DisplayPort cable connected, 2 of the 3 monitors should be the same model with DVI ports connected. The driver version should be v13.12 or above
|Output||1 x HDMI (with 3D)
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x Dual-Link DVI-D
1 x Dual-Link DVI-I
|GPU||850(Boost:940) MHz Core Clock
28 nm Chip
1792 x Stream Processors
|Video Memory||3072 MB Size
384 -bit GDDR5
5000 MHz Effective
|Dimension||262(L)X112(W)X34(H) mm Size.
2 x slot
SAPPHIRE TriXX Utility
|Accessory||CrossFire Bridge Interconnect Cable
6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable x 2
Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 OC Retail Box and BundleTaking a look at the retail packaging for the Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 OC, the key features are called out on the front of the box. These features include a factory overclock, 3GB GDDR5, Dual-X Cooling, GCN architecture (which supports TrueAudio and Mantle), and Eyefinity compatibility. If more information is needed, the back of the box goes into much more detail. Taking out the inner box, we find the card is placed in an bubble anti-static bag, nestled in a cardboard block with an additional piece of cardboard to protect it. While the higher end cards use a form fitted foam block (which is much nicer) this is sufficient to protect the card in transit. Most video cards include some type of accessories, Sapphire includes the standard driver disc, user manual, marketing material and a CrossFire bridge. Two single 4-pin Molex to PCIe 6-pin power adapters and a HDMI cable are included as well.
Test SystemBefore jumping into doing some benchmarks, let's take a look at the test system. All testing was done with a fresh install of Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with no additional software running. All benchmarks are run five times with the results averaged. Each of the benchmarks will be run with pre-configured settings at 1920x1080 resolution. In addition, the same benchmarks will now be run at 3840x2160 (4K) resolution; as many of the cards previously tested are no longer available for re-evaluation at these resolution, only a few will be tested at this resolution. Intel Z77/LGA1155 Platform
The Intel Z77 system used to test the video cards was using the Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard, with the F11 BIOS from 09/03/2012. Installed for memory was 16GB Kingston Hyper-X Blue 1866MHz, running at the rated speed with 9-11-9-27 2T timings. An Intel 520 series 180GB SSD was used for the OS and benchmarks. Testing was completed in a room with an ambient temperature of 65F.
|The Intel Z77 Test System|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570K||Click Here|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z77X-UP5-TH||Click Here|
|Memory||16GB Kingston Blue 1866MHz||Click Here|
|SSD||Intel 520series 180GB||Click Here|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital 3TB Red||Click Here|
|Cooling||Phanteks PH-TC12DX||Click Here|
|Power Supply||Thermaltake M850W||Click Here|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit||Click Here|
Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins was released in October 2013. It utilizes the Unreal Engine 3, and is an action-adventure game where the player takes on the role of Batman. While it is technically the third game in the series, it is actually a prequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.
Batman has a hidden benchmark tool that runs several pre-configured scenes against the video options. This is a great feature to be included and makes it an easy way to make a good comparison across multiple video cards. The resolution was set to 1920×1080, Anti-Aliasing was set to FXAA High and DirectX 11 Enhanced features were enabled as all the cards are DirectX 11 compatible.
Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Electronics Arts. Released at the end of October 2013, it is the first game to use the latest Frostbite 3 engine featuring improved destruction of buildings and the environment very realistically and greatly improved animations. Battlefield 4 was also the first game to support AMD’s Mantle API, which we covered here.
Running at a resolution of 1920x1080 in fullscreen mode, with the graphics quality set to High to utilize the preset configuration. Like previous Battlefield games, there is no pre-configured benchmark for Battlefield 4. In order to have it be as similar as possible, part of the first mission, Baku, will be used. FRAPS will be started just after exiting the sewer tunnel and the same path will be run for each test.Battlefield 4 Benchmark Results: In Battlefield 4, the R9 280 was close to 20FPS faster than the comparable 7950.
Bioshock: Infinite is another first-person shooter, developed by Irrational Games. Released in March, 2013 it uses a modified Unreal 3 engine. The developers included a nice little built-in benchmark system. This makes it a prime candidate for an apples to apples comparison. When starting up the benchmark, we will be using option 3, the Ultra DirectX 11 settings.Bioshock Infinite Benchmark Results: Bioshock: Infinite is very playing on all of these graphic cards at Ultra settings. It narrowly squeaked past the XFX R7950 by around 3FPS with a score of 85.42FPS.
Crysis 3 is a first-person shooter developed by Crytek, using their CryEngine 3. Released in February 2013, it is well known to make even powerful systems choke. It has probably the highest graphics requirements of any game available today. Unfortunately, Crytek didn’t include a standardized benchmark with Crysis 3. While the enemies will move about on their own, we will attempt to keep the same testing process for each test.
Crysis is well know for being highly graphic intensive, previously it was run at Medium settings to make it playable on lower end cards as they have problems running at maximum settings.Crysis 3 Benchmark Results: While many video cards will have issues keeping up with Crysis 3 at High graphic settings, at Medium the Dual-X R9 280 was easily playable with its 48.817FPS at 1080p resolutions.
Thief is a stealth based game, where the main character is a master thief in a medieval world. This is the fourth game in the Thief series developed by Eidos, which was released in late February 2014. It is the second game to support AMD Mantle and the first to support AMD’s TrueAudio.
Thief was tested using the Normal graphics preset, with a resolution of 1920x1080.Thief Benchmark Results: The Sapphire R9 280 was able to handle Thief rather well, however it benchmarked just 1.5FPS faster than the 7950, which makes it pretty much on par with the 7950.