Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X Video Card Review


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Sapphire Vapor-X R9 270X 2G Overview

The Sapphire Vapor-X R9 270X graphics card, model 11217-00-40G, sells online for $219 (NewEgg Amazon). The retail kit comes with an accessory package that includes: product manual, driver CD, CrossFireX interconnect cable, DVI to VGA adapter, digital HDMI 1.4 cable, two 4-pin Molex into 6-pin PCI power adapters, and of course the Radeon R9 270X graphics card.

If you’ve owned or read reviews for previous-generation AMD video cards in the past few years, you’re probably familiar with the classic “black slab with red accents” styling that AMD has traditionally used. Even these new Curacao XT-based cards use this same familiar styling on reference models, most of which will merely receive a vendor-specific sticker for branding. Sapphire has decided that these new graphics cards deserve better, and have outfitted R9 270X Vapor-X with an exclusive vapor-chamber cooling system. Sapphire offers an in-depth look at Vapor-X technology here.


The first thing you’ll notice different about this product is its dual-fan Vapor-X GPU cooler. This high-performance cooler is quite elaborate: Sapphire replaces the basic AMD blower-motor fan cooler with a large vapor chamber cooler of their own design. Large heat-pipe rods span away from the base plate out to a massive collection of aluminum fins that dissipate the heat. These fins are further cooled by a pair of 10cm propeller fans, which force large amounts of air over the heatsink without the noise of high-RPM fans.

An aluminum Vapor-X fan shroud wraps around the upper half of this graphics card, protecting the aluminum heatsink and fan blades from damage while at the same time focusing air pressure directly in towards the GPU. During normal operation heated air escapes from around the sides of the card, with oversized vents in the header panel to help exhaust outside the computer case.


The Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X graphics card measures 10.39″ long x 4.06″ wide x 1.38″ tall (264 x 103 x 35mm). Ideally, the R9 270X Vapor-X will be installed into a tower computer case with adequate internal cooling , but the reduced overall size lends itself to compact enclosures designed for mATX form-factor components.


Available output connectors for the Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X graphics card include two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. The primary DVI connector is positioned closest to the board and enables 120Hz dual-link display. The secondary DVI connector is located beside the vents, and can be used for an additional display device.


Sapphire’s Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X video card requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors for proper operation. While AMD suggests 180W typical power consumption (maximum), our own testing indicates the R9 270X Vapor-X card draws approximately 150W during high-demand graphical applications like 3DMark11 and up to 230 watts using FurMark’s “Torture Test”.


Most graphics cards run hot, and leave very little room for additional overclocking. The Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X graphics card operates at 1050 MHz, and boosts to 1100 MHz. Enthusiasts can use their favorite overclocking tool, or utilize Sapphire’s own TriXX software tool. Combined with the ultra-efficient Vapor-X vapor chamber cooler, TriXX works to optimize your overclock and reach maximum potential while remaining stable under stress.


In the next section, we share details on the new AMD ZeroCore Power Management technology featured on Sapphire’s Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X graphics card…


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