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Sapphire R9 280X VaporX Graphics Card

Sapphire R9 280X VaporX Graphics Card

Testing Methodology

The OS we use is Windows 8 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.

Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows Vista occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.

We ran each test a total of 3 times, and reported the average score from all three scores. Benchmark screenshots are of the median result. Anomalous results were discounted and the benchmarks were rerun.

Please note that due to new driver releases with performance improvements, we rebenched every card shown in the results section. The results here will be different than previous reviews due to the performance increases in drivers.

Test Rig

Test Rig
Case Test Bench
CPUs Intel i7-4770K
Motherboards ASUS Maximus VI Formula
Ram Gskill TridentX 8GB (2x4GB) 2666Mhz 11-13-13 Dual-Channel Kit
CPU Cooler Custom Liquid Cooling
Hard Drives 8x Western Digital RE4 2TB 7200RPM 3Gb/s Hard Drives (Raid 5)
SSD 3x Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
Optical ASUS DVD-Burner
GPU Sapphire Radeon R9-280X VaporX
Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card
Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card
Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB Video Card
Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card
GeForce Drivers 327.23                  (GTX 760,770, 780,TITAN and 690)
Catalyst 13.11    (AMD Radeon R9-280X)
PSU Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1475W Gold
Mouse Tt eSPORTS Theron Gaming Mouse
Keyboard Tt eSPORTS Meks G1 Illuminated

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games

We will use the following applications to benchmark the performance of the R9-280X video card.

Benchmarks
3DMark 11
3Dmark 2013
Sleeping Dogs
Tomb Raider
Metro 2033
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Batman Arkham City
Dirt 3 Showdown
Metro Last Light
Sniper Elite V2

3DMark 11

3d11 3D11X

Here you can see the VaporX beats the 770 easily in Performance while in Extreme its slightly behind.

3DMark 2013

firestrike extreme firestrike

In 3DMark Firestrike and extreme the VaporX card does very well and stomps ahead of the 770 by a decent margin.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.

heaven

Heaven shows a very interesting result as the 280X VaporX matches to the number both score and FPS to the GTX 770.

Sleeping Dogs

sleeping dogs

Sleeping dogs being an AMD pushed game I was not surprised to see good performance and the VaporX delivered falling just a mere .4FPS behind the 780.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Even after many years, Metro 2033 is still one of the most demanding DX11 video games available to really push the limits of your system. The VaporX shows a strong 41 FPS average which means for the most part it will play this super demanding title with no stutter and quite smooth.

Batman Arkham City

batman AC

Batman Arkham City is a fun game and utilizes FXAA fully. It is nice to see the full screen anti-aliasing getting picked up by popular titles. Batman AC being a heavily Nvidia based game I knew AMD would not fare as well, and with that the VaporX model fell 4 FPS behind the 770 and even further behind the 780. This folks is where game optimization comes into play.

Tomb Raider

tomb raider

Tomb Raider being a heavily AMD based game I was expecting good performance and the VaporX trounced the 770 and 780 falling a bit behind the TITAN which is a very respectable spot, but once again this si where game optimization comes into play.

Metro Last Light

metro last light

Here we have Metro Last Light which is a brand new game added to our testing platform as it just came out. If you thought Metro 2033 was stressful you have seen nothing yet. The particles and lighting, as well as the PhysX effects all add up to an amazing looking game that can put a stun even the most powerful system in its tracks. For testing we disabled PhysX to ensure a level playing field since it would put extra load on the Nvidia GPU but not the AMD so we ensured the settings were kept equal. The VaporX pulls a nice gain over the 770 at a full FPS and 5 FPS trailing the 780.

Sniper Elite V2

sniper elite v2

Sniper Elite V2 is a fun game which, when first released, was quite stressful but still playable on most higher end cards. By now, most cards have surpassed it, and the 2VaporX is no exception pulling just shy of the 100FPS mark at 97.9FPS average.

Dirt 3 Showdown

Dirt3

Dirt 3 Showdown is a visually beautiful game with excellent lighting and overall motion blurring creating a real visual spectacle of a game. The VaporX slots in right behind the 770 by about 2FPS which is not a bad place to be honestly.

Sapphire Radeon R9-280X VaporX Sapphire as we all know is AMDs premier partner so we always see cool stuff coming from them, but honestly we had already seen a VaporX 280X so we have all simply been waiting for what would come next such as the much rumored 295X or another 290X iteration. To my surprise I got hands on with a newer VaporX 280X model card which is actually a whole new configuration and looks very much like the Toxic model we looked at some time ago now sporting the Tri-X cooler.…

Review Overview

Performance - 9
Value - 9.5
Quality - 9.5
Features - 9.5
Innovarion - 9.5

9.4

Summary : Sapphire innovated their way into an amazing position by taking a proven cooler and finding ways to make it amazing! instead of strictly focusing on overclocking they pulled out the stops to make an amazing "Gamers" card

9

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