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Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB Vapor-X OC Video Card Review

Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB Vapor-X OC Video Card Review
Some of AMD's partners doubled the Radeon R9 290X video card memory to 8GB, hoping to create a spark in sales. Here's a review of one of those cards.
By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Nov 17, 2014 10:08 pm
TweakTown Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Introduction of the Sapphire R9 290X 8GB Vapor-X OC




AMD is struggling with video card sales at the moment, and to be honest, it doesn't take a discussion with AMD partners to figure that out. With a huge shift in management, and a bunch of jumbling occurring internally, the company seems to be a bit all over the place. Although, as much as I hate to say it, this doesn't seem all that far away from where the company has been for years now.


If all that wasn't enough for AMD to contend with, the fact that the new Maxwell based NVIDIA cards are just so awesome makes it even more difficult for the company when it comes to meeting the demands of those who want a high-end gaming system. Personally, I have been a long-time AMD loyalist when it comes to my personal system, and I was going to use the R9 295 X2 8GB. However, once the Maxwell cards launched, I jumped straight onto the GTX 980 4GB bandwagon.


So, what is AMD doing to try and grab the attention away from the new GTX 900 series? Well, price drops are the biggest thing, and the R9 290X 4GB is now priced at a similar price point to the GTX 970 4GB. With similar performance, the decision of which one to buy is a little harder than it was a month ago, but the one thing we constantly come back to is the fact that people aren't so interested in buying a card that is a year old now.


Along with the price drops, AMD has also released an 8GB version of the popular R9 290X through its AIB partners. While I think this is cool, if past experiences are anything to go by, doubling the amount of memory on this card won't do a whole lot for performance, and instead just cause the price to jump up. This does feel like a bit of a Hail Mary move by AMD, but it will be interesting to see what double the amount of memory actually does to performance. This will be especially true when we start to look at our higher resolution testing, and the performance of the cards in some of our newer benchmarks that have been added since our X99 upgrade.



Package - What comes inside the box






Looking at the front of the box, you can see we've got the same blue color theme that we've seen on other Vapor-X based cards. You can see the model listed at the top of the box, and below that, you can see mention of the new AERO10 VRM digital power control, which brings with it a ten phase power design. Across the bottom, you can see some of the other major features, which include the massive 8GB of GDDR5, Tri-X triple fan, Vapor-X cooling technology, and two ball bearing fan.


On the opposing side of the box, you can see a bit of a blurb, along with a picture of the card. On the right hand side of the box, we can see some of the main features that we just mentioned, and explanations of some of the more major features. As you can see, most of the push is on the cooling, which is provided by the Vapor-X cooler, Tri-X triple fan setup, and the new IFC (Intelligent Fan Control) technology that stops two of the fans from spinning when they are unnecessary, in order to reduce noise.






Inside of the box, we've got a pretty standard Sapphire bundle, including the normal array of paperwork, and a driver CD. Cable wise, we've got two dual Molex to eight-pin PCIe power connectors, along with the standard HDMI cable that we see in higher-end Sapphire offerings. Along with all of this, you can see that we've also got a mouse pad, which (like the HDMI cable) is something that we've seen Sapphire include with some of its higher-end cards.



PRICING: You can find the Sapphire R9 290X 8GB 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 290X 8GB Vapor-X OC retails for $499.99 at Amazon.

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