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Sapphire Radeon R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC Overclocked Video Card Review

Sapphire Radeon R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC Overclocked Video Card Review

We check out the mid-range R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC from Sapphire, and see how it performs when we overclock it. Let's see what Shawn has to say about it.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sat, Aug 16 2014 3:40 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Introduction and Package

Introduction of the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC

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VIEW GALLERY - 39 IMAGES

Lately we've had a chance to look at a whole slew of AMD video cards ranging from some of the more budget friendly mid-level options to some of the most expensive single GPU options from the company. Today, we're checking out the mid-range R9 270X 2GB, under the much loved Vapor-X name.

The R9 270X 2GB has always been a strong mid-range model from AMD, and has performed well since it has launched. Along with some strong performance, the model also hit at a great price point, making it a great option for people who don't want to spend too much money.

The Vapor-X line of cards from Sapphire has always performed extremely strong, but we can't deny that our focus has been on the higher-end versions of AMD cards lately. It will be interesting to see just how the series goes on with the mid-range based R9 270X 2GB.

Instead of testing the card at the out of the box speeds, we'll be firing up MSI Afterburner to see just what kind of performance we can get out of the card via overclocking, and see if the Vapor-X name can stay strong. But first, let's see what's going on with the packaging for the card.

Package - What comes inside the box

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Taking a look at the front of the box, you can see the typical Vapor-X setup, which sees the black and blue combination. Across the top, you can see the Vapor-X R9 270X name. Moving down from there, we have the brand, and some of the main features.

The main features listed include the fact this card is an overclock edition, it comes with 2GB of GDDR5, and it carries the Dual-X cooler with Vapor-X technology.

Turning the box over, you can see we've got a bit of a blurb on the left hand side. The right hand side gives us a run down on the same features, which again include the Vapor-X cooling technology and Dual-X cooler.

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Moving inside, you can see the normal Sapphire bundle, which includes the Quick Install Guide, and a leaflet on the Sapphire Select Club.

We've also got a Driver CD, DVI to VGA connector, CrossFire Bridge, two Molex to 6-Pin PCIe Power Connectors, and the standard HDMI cable that Sapphire so often includes with their higher-end models. It's great to see them offer the HDMI on the mid-range R9 270X 2GB.

PRICING: You can find the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC retails for $199.95 at Amazon.

Canada: The Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC retails for CDN$263.95 at Amazon Canada.

Video Card Details and Specifications

Close up with the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC

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Taking a look at the card, the first thing you might notice is that this particular Vapor-X card carries the Dual-X cooler design, instead of the Tri-X one seen on the higher-end versions. Although, since it is a Vapor-X card, you can see the same black and blue color scheme is present.

While it is smaller, you can see we've still got quite the setup going on behind the dual fan setup. There is a large aluminum heat sink covering the entire PCB, and quite a mean looking copper heat pipe setup. While it's not as big, we've got our fingers crossed, hoping that performance on the Dual-X Vapor-X cooler is strong on this mid-range offering.

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Moving away from the front of the card, and across to the top, we find our two power connectors in the form of a dual 6-Pin PCIe power connector setup. Next to that, we have a switch that lets us switch between two BIOS' that are installed.

Normally, we'd see this closer to the front of the card, but as you can see above, Sapphire has decided to put it at the back of this card. Staying across the top of the card, but moving closer to the front, you can see we have a single CrossFire connector in the event you want to run two of these bad boys together.

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Taking a look at the I/O side of things, you can see a fairly standard setup here, which sees two Dual-Link DVI ports in the form of a DVI-D and a DVI-I. Along with those two connectors, you can see we also have a HDMI and DisplayPort connector to round things off.

Specifications

Of course, being a Vapor-X card means that Sapphire has taken the time to overclock the card out of the box. Looking below, you can see they've pushed the core clock up to 1100MHz, which is a good jump from the default 1050MHz.

As for the 2GB of GDDR 5, Sapphire has also chosen to bump that slightly by 50MHz, which results in a final memory clock of 5800MHz QDR, instead of 5600MHz QDR,

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However, today we'll be taking the clocks even further in order to see just how much performance we can get out of the card. Looking above, you can see we kicked both the core and memory clock up a notch, with the core coming in at 1175MHz, and the memory clock looking strong with a final core clock of 6000MHz QDR.

This is a nice little overclock from what Sapphire offer us, and quite a strong overclock from the reference R9 270X speeds.

Test System Setup & FPS Numbers Explained

Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supporting and supplying us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, and Corsair.

We've got a whole bunch of cards sitting next to our overclocked Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC, starting with the HIS R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo Boost 2GB OC we recently looked at. Moving up from there, we've got the GIGABYTE R9 280 WINDFORCE 3GB OC, and the Sapphire R9 280X 3GB Vapor-X OC.

Moving into the R9 290s, we've got the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo, and the heavily overclocked HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X2 Turbo 4GB to round off the AMD side of things. We finish up with two cards from NVIDIA, which include the reference GTX 770 2GB, and finally, the ASUS GTX 780 ROG Poseidon Platinum 3GB OC.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks:

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS, making sure that you can continue to aim easily, or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better, and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - This is the newest number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it, you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious, and time consuming task, as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. For that reason, we have always just reevaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up-to-date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer, more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will quickly grow. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up-to-date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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Starting off with 3DMark 11, we can see the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC gets a nice little jump on the HIS version of the card, which is also overclocked out of the box.

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

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Looking at something a bit more intensive, you can see that the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC boost looks a little stronger here when compared to the HIS version of the card.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Sky Diver & Catzilla

3DMark Sky Diver

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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Looking at one of our new mid-range benchmarks, you can see that the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC gets a little more than a 5% boost over the pre overclocked HIS version.

Catzilla

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.3

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Looking at Catzilla, you can see the overclock that we managed to achieve on the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC helps give a boost of around 15% at the lower resolution.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven & Phantasy Star Online 2

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

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Looking at Heaven performance, you can see the extra MHz we managed to achieve on the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC pushes performance up by about 5%.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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PSO 2 sees a nice boost from the overclock that equates to around the 15% mark, which is similar to what we saw under Catzilla. As you can see, it's actually enough of a bump that our overall score is pushed into the realm of 6000 points.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2 & Just Cause 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Lost Planet 2 sees a bit of a performance boost across the board; although, at the highest resolution it's not quite enough, as the card does fall short of that 60 FPS number we're on the hunt for.

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Looking at Just Cause 2 performance, you can see overall the numbers are slightly up, with a little bit more breathing room seen at the highest resolution. Overall, you can see we've got playable numbers at all resolutions, which is exactly what we like to see.

Benchmarks -Metro: Last Light & Nexuiz

Metro: Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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While Metro: Last Light sees the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC get a bit more performance across the board, overall, we still fall short of that 60 FPS number we're on the hunt for at all resolutions.

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Like Metro: Last Light, while we see a bit of a performance boost come at all resolutions, the numbers are ultimately too low at all resolutions on this very intensive engine.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2 & Sleeping Dogs

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Looking above, you can see the Sniper Elite V2 numbers are strong at both 1920 x 1200, and 1680 x 1050. While we do see a bit of a performance increase at all resolutions, the bump isn't enough to help us at the most intensive 2560 x 1600.

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Sleeping Dogs numbers are strong across the board, and you can see playable numbers at all resolutions here. We see a bit of a bump in overall performance, but with the HIS version already giving solid numbers, you probably won't feel much of a change here.

Benchmarks - Hitman: Absolution & Tomb Raider

Hitman: Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Hitman: Absolution sees a bit of an FPS jump, and the numbers continue to be solid at both 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x 1200. While the minimum is strong at 2560 x 1600, we would prefer that the average was up just a few more FPS. A slight detail drop could get us those few extra FPS we need.

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Tomb Raider sees a bit of a bump, and at the lowest resolution, the extra MHz we've achieved from the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC helps push the average into that 60 FPS realm. While moving up, we do see a nice FPS bump overall; however, the numbers are just a little too low in the average department to deliver a smooth gaming experience.

Benchmarks - BioShock Infinite & Battlefield 4

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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BioShock Infinite sees a bit of a performance boost across the board, giving us a little bit more breathing room at 1680 x 1050. While we do see a little bit of a performance boost moving up from that, the overall FPS isn't high enough for the game to be playable.

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

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Battlefield 4 performance isn't too bad across the board, and we see a decent minimum at the highest resolution. The 55 FPS average is just a little too low; we'd prefer to get a couple more FPS to go alongside that strong minimum for a nice, smooth gaming experience.

Benchmarks - GRID Autosport

GRID Autosport

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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GRID Autosport sees some good performance at 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x 1200. However, moving to 2560 x 1600, the strong minimum isn't accompanied by the strong average FPS we want and need.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF Testing

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to unplayable FPS, and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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Turning on AA and AF, it comes as no surprise that Metro: Last Light numbers plummet.

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Looking at GRID Autosport, you can see that we're still able to achieve a solid average FPS with AA and AF on. Moving to 2560 x 1600 is just too much for the card, as the 44 FPS average is just too low.

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Just like Metro: Last Light, as soon as we turn on AA and AF here, the FPS plummets to unplayable levels.

Benchmarks - 4K - 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K - 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K monitors are the next step for gamers demanding the best in image quality. With 4x the pixels of a standard 1920 x 1080 monitor (meaning 4x the intensity), 3840 x 2160 brings a new level of intensity to video cards.

To make sure that you're buying the right video card for a monitor that offers such a large resolution, we test the latest and greatest video cards in a couple of benchmarks to give you an idea of just what kind of setup you require.

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At 4K we can see the overclocked Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC gets a nice little boost over the HIS version that equates to around 10%.

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However, moving into a game, you can see that the average FPS is just way too low at this resolution.

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While Hitman: Absolution sees a slight bump in FPS, you can see that the numbers are just way too low overall for the game to be playable.

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Looking at Tomb Raider, the FPS are just way too low as the minimum moves into single digit territory.

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GRID Autosport follows the same trend as our other 4K benchmarks here, with numbers that are just way too low.

Temperature & Sound Testing

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run of 3DMark Vantage at the Performance preset.

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Temperature numbers on the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC aren't too bad, sitting just a little below the half way mark. This is pretty good considering that we're overclocked.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter, we quickly find ourselves yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that, we get a bit more serious, and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode), and in load (3D mode).

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Noise levels are really solid, sitting a decent chunk into the bottom half of our graph here. Again, this is pretty impressive considering that we overclocked the card even further.

Power Consumption Testing

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 -or "Power Thingy" as it has quickly become known as to our readers- we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated video cards installed. Keep in mind that it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember, though. While our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen the power being drawn as much as 10 percent more in particular tests. We test at the exact same stage every time, so tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum -only a SSD is used, with a single CD ROM, and minimal cooling fans.

So, while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items will result in a higher draw.

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At a little over 400 watts, you can see our Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC sits at around the middle of the pack. For a setup like this, we'd recommend a quality power supply in the 650 watt range to cover all bases.

Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts

Coming in at a bit below $200, the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC is priced as one of the stronger R9 270X 2GB cards on the market. Looking at what we've dealt with today, you can see that Sapphire has put together a really nice card that offers some great performance for the price.

While this particular version of the Vapor-X might be based of the Dual-X model instead of the Tri-X version we see on the higher-end R9 cards, the dual fan version continues to do a good job of keeping our core cool at a reasonable noise level. Although, what makes the cooler really stand out is the strong numbers it puts out in both the noise and cooling department when overclocking is thrown into the mix.

Outside of the cooler, Sapphire has put together a nice little bundle for this mid-range card. The inclusion of the HDMI cable on this cheaper card is a nice, and is something that we don't normally see. Combined with the aggressive price tag, it makes for a nice overall bundle, at an excellent price point.

Sapphire does give you a nice little performance boost out of the box, but there's no denying that if you fire up some overclocking software, you can get some extra performance with little hassle. If you bump up that core a little, you can give yourself a nice overall boost in performance, which is going to come in handy sometimes; especially when we find the stock results sit around the low 60 FPS range, or fall just shy of that 60 FPS number we're on the hunt for.

The R9 270X 2GB continues to offer strong value for money for people wanting to spend around that $200 mark. The Sapphire version we looked at today is one we would have no problem recommending. The Vapor-X cooler continues to perform extremely well, and the overall look of the card is great combined with a nice little bundle at a strong price point.

If you're looking for something that's not going to break the bank account wide open, and will continue to offer some strong performance, the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC is a model worth looking at. Especially if you can't venture into the kind of money that would get you the R9 280X 3GB.

PRICING: You can find the Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC retails for $199.95 at Amazon.

Canada: The Sapphire R9 270X 2GB Vapor-X OC retails for CDN$263.95 at Amazon Canada.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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