Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 Tri-X OC Video Card Review

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Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X OC Retail Box and Bundle

Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 OC Box Front

The front of the Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 shows off the key features of the video card.  These features include a factory Overclock, 4GB of GDDR5, Vapor-X cooler, Tri-X Cooling Technology, two ball bearing fans.  In addition, being an R9 series card, it also has the GCN architecture supporting TrueAudio and Mantle. 

Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 OC Box Back

The back of the box goes into much more detail on what the Vapor-X R9 290 has to offer.  It provides a short paragraph on each of the major features so there will be little doubt what you can expect from the card.  From a consumer standpoint, what would be nice, is a small chart that shows the performance difference over a few similar graphics cards such as the 280x and 290x.

Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 OC Box Internal

Taking the inner box out, we can open it and see the card; which is well protected in a form fitted foam block and an anti-static bubble bag.  A thin layer of foam sheeting protects the top of the card while the lid is closed.

Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 OC Box Accessories

Most video cards include various accessories, Sapphire includes the standard driver disc, a multi-language user manual and marketing materials.  They also include two 4-pin Molex to PCI-E adapters, an HDMI cable and a Sapphire mouse pad.

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  • iknowthetruth

    I ran a the full test on Cloud Gate (max settings) 1080p and wtf I have a Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X OC and everything was running fine till it hit the last test which is the physics test and it got AVG 18.08 fps and 28.6fps high

    Everything else did awesome graphics score is 19845, Graphics Score 68409, Physics Score 5695 (WTF), Graphics test 1 290.72, Graphics test 2 304.46. Either the card has crappy physics handling or the demo is poorly optimized.

    The temp never went past 64c which is really good imho.

    • Matti Alexander Christensen

      your physics is handled by the cpu then.

      • Andrew

        How do I handle it with the GPU then if it’s just CPU?

  • wezlypipz

    This is just a really bad review.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      why ids that?

      • Andrew

        is*

  • MEHMET DUYAR

    this is a monster. G-Force was overtaking.

  • taco

    People considering the 290 would also be looking at its direct competitior, the 780. Astonishing that card was not included in the review. Agree with previous poster, FAIL.

  • DJEleven

    It’s cheaper to go with a custom water loop

  • Kushan Dodanwala

    FAIL!

    If you are doing a review of a custom cooling solution, you should be comparing it to the reference + other custom cooling solutions. Not to a bunch of cards that wouldn’t even be on the radar of a potential buyer.

    Absolutely useless review.

    • koyomi k

      agreed. wow, 7950 all the way to a friggin 560ti? wow.

      • Nathan Kirsch

        It’s what the review had available to him to test against. We’ve reviewed many Hawaii based cards here on Legit Reviews, so if you want to see how a 290 compares to just super high-end current cards take a look at one of those – http://www.legitreviews.com/sapphire-r9-290x-vaporx-oc-4gb-video-card-review_142216

        • Matti Alexander Christensen

          sorry for bursting your bubble, but the temp and noise parts of a review are only usable if: they’re done in the same test system, in the same location, in the same ambient temperature, under the same ventilation conditions, and are of comparable cards.
          if you have comparable cards tested under the same conditions, and they just arent in this review, then you’re slacking, if you have comparable cards tested under different conditions, then they arent usable in relation to this review.

        • Nathan Kirsch

          Which is why we test everything in the same system, with the same ambient temperatures and in the exact room and spot that all the cards have been tested.

        • Matti Alexander Christensen

          well then, all your results from comparable cards could be added to the comparison chart.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Not all of our reviewers have a ton of video cards to test from. We were just trying to spread out the love and give some of those that do reviews a chance to try out some video cards. People assume we get to keep all the cards we review, but we don’t. Sapphire does loaner cards, so this was tested for a couple weeks and sent on to the next site. That causes an issue as we can’t re-test the card in the future and build up a stockpile of cards to test from.

      • Matti Alexander Christensen

        but you could test in identical cases, with identical cooling, in a room with doors and windows closed, at the same temperatures.
        even without aircon, all it requires is the cheapest non restrictive case on the market, a few cheap fans, and a thermometer. even if the reviewer doesnt have aircon he can wait till mid day when it heats up, or nighttime when it cools down. that way the results of all your video card tests could be transferable between reviewers.

  • cvr

    Idle temperatures 45/51°C seem very high compared to the other 290 Vapor-X tests I’ve read (31/36°C). Also this test environment is a bit strange. Who would play in a room at 17°C?

    Apart from that, very nice card. I ll wait for a small price drop before I get one though.

  • sog

    Nice card and nice overclock well done. Thinking of getting a r9 290 there’s some good deals floating around. Now that the mining thing has fallen off.

  • Ponypony

    Thanks for the great review, and for putting it against older cards, like the 7870 (my card).