Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Vapor-X Video Card ReviewFri, Oct 05, 2012 - 12:00 AM
The Sapphire Vapor-X HD7950
The AMD Radeon HD 7950 is a very powerful gaming graphics card that has been out since February 2012. When the card was originally released it the reference design had an MSRP of $449.99, but that was eight months ago! You can now find an AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB card for $269.99 shipped after rebate! Prices have certainly dropped over the past year and the AMD Radeon HD 7950 has fallen into an entirely different price category now.
The AMD Radeon HD 7950 (Tahiti
Pro) reference card features a core clock speed of 800MHz with 1792 stream processors and 112 texture units. The card has 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus that runs at 1250MHz (5000 MHZ effective). For gamers that want a DirectX 11 graphics card with cutting edge 28nm GPU built using the new Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture this should have you drooling right about now. If it does you are in luck as we are going to be looking at the Sapphire Vapor-X HD 7950 3GB GDDR5 OC with Boost today! This card is factory overclocked and features a custom PCB and GPU cooler!
The Sapphire HD 7950 Vapor-X runs $309.99 shipped after a $20 mail-in rebate, which is $20 more than the basic Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Boost at $289.99 shipped after the same rebate. As you can see from the image above this card takes up two slots and looks very nice. The top of the black fan shroud has a Sapphire logo on it that lights up with white LED’s when the card is running, so it would look sharp in a case with a window.
As you can see from the image above, Sapphire went with a blue PCB on this card. The PCB of the card measures ~10.5″ in length and if you factor in the length of the fan shroud the entire length of the card is 11.0″. The card PCB is stands at ~4.4″ in height, but with the fan shroud it jumps up to 5.25″. We used a pair of dial calipers and found the mounting holes around the GPU use a 55x55mm mounting hole pattern in case you are curious about mounting a water block or a third party GPU cooler.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Vapor-X has Dual-link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort connections available for monitors. You should be able to easily hook up a High Definition Stereoscopic 3D display or an AMD Eyefinity 2.0 setup with three or more displays (To support 3 displays, one of the monitors has to support DisplayPort).
The Sapphire HD 7950 Vapor-X has two CrossFire interconnects, so you can
link up to four of these cards together for improved performance if you have the right motherboard and the money to do so. Just to the left of the CrossFireX interconnects you’ll see a button for BIOS switching. One profile is for the default profile and the other is for an overclocked profile. Here are GPU-Z shots for each profile on our test sample.
BIOS 1: 850MHz Core & 1250MHz Memory
BIOS 2 (EZ Boost): 950MHz Core & 1250MHz Memory
The Sapphire HD 7950 3GB OC with Boost Vapor-X Edition has 3GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5000MHz (effective) despite what BIOS profile is being used. The base core clock speed on the card is officially 850 MHz, but with a click of a button something that Sapphire calls ‘PowerTune Dynamic Boost’ rises the core clock to 950 MHz. Most gamers will want to run the card at 950 MHz, so we will be testing this card with the 950 Mhz core clock setting!
The Sapphire HD 7950 Vapor-X has two power connectors along the top edge of the card that need to be connected to the systems power supply. One is an 8-pin PCIe power connector and the other is a 6-pin PCIe power connector. To ensure proper operation, Sapphire suggests at least a 500W or greater power supply with one 75W 6-pin PCIe
connector and one 150W 8-pin PCIe connector for proper operation.
The Sapphire HD 7950 Vapor-X uses Vapor Chamber Technology to keep everything nice and cool. The Vapor-X cooler utilizes four heatpipes (two 8mm & two 6mm) to help transfer the heat from the GPU to the aluminum cooling fins. Above the cooling fins are a pair of 90mm fans that have aerofoil blades and dust repelling bearings. The Vapor-X cooler should easily handle the heat generated from the AMD Radeon HD 7950 GPU even under extreme load conditions.
This card features an 8-phase power design and uses a CHiL CHL8228G controller to keep the voltages in order. The 3GB of GDDR5 memory is made up of Hynix memory chips that are rated to run at 1250MHz or 5000MHz effective.
Let’s take a look at the retail box & bundle next and then move on to testing this bad boy out in some games!