Cooling, Noise, and Power

Typically, the difference between similar models in game is only a few FPS. Where manufactures can really set themselves apart is in the cooling department. Sapphire has put a big focus on that with the Vapor-X cooling for example. Because of that our cooling, noise, and power section plays a big role in our testing. I put the Vapor-X 290 through all of our tests to see how it performs compared to the other R9 290’s that I have tested previously, including the Tri-X Sapphire card. When it came to power consumption their wasn’t a single card that pulled less than the Vapor-X 290, the overclock and three fans helped push the Vapor-X R9 290 just past the GTX 780 Ti that held the title before.

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Typically triple fan designs don’t perform that well in idle noise tests so the slightly high performance at idle wasn’t a big shock to me. This is however exactly why Sapphire added the switch on the back of the PCB to turn off two of the three fans at low temperatures. With this turned off our idle noise dropped down to just over 61 decibels. Under load, the Vapor-X ran quieter than the Tri-X. This put the Vapor-X 5 decibels lower than the MSI 290 as well, a better cooling design means lower fan RPMs and less noise.

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With the other R9 290’s all over the top of our temperature charts the Vapor-X R9 290 had to work hard to get down near the middle of the pack, down with some 270X’s. The end result was 70 degrees, two less than the Tri-X and MSI’s card and over 20 less than XFX’s 290. This proves that the vapor chamber design does help cool more, even with a higher overclock.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35010 13 Jun 2014 16:28
Happy Friday everyone! Today I take a look at the Vapor-X R9 290 from Sapphire. This is a monster video card. You may have seen Ed from Sapphire sporting it in his rig at a few events as well.
Algin's Avatar
Algin replied the topic: #35030 17 Jun 2014 00:40
Hello. First just wanted to say hi to all of you, as I'm newest member of this community :)
And now to the question - I'm currently in a market for 290, and I'm torn apart before few brands. I have narrowed my choice between the Sapphire and the MSI gaming.

As you have reviewed both of the cards, and from the charts it is shown that they both trade blows and achieve very similar FPS, which one would you recommend? Is the 5db noise difference really hearable? And how are the VRM temps on those cards? Are they kept in check like below 80C during gaming?

Price wise, in my country (Poland) the MSI gaming wins hands down - the version with 1007 MHz boost costs 1439pln - that's about $471 and is in line with other 290s, while Vapor-x is about 300 pln higher - that is about $100 more. Do you think, that this card is really worth it's premium tag, compared to Msi Gaming?
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35031 17 Jun 2014 04:00
for that big of a price difference I don't think it would be worth it. They are both great cards, given the same or similar prices I would go with the Vapor-X>MSI Gaming>Tri-X

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