Date: February 5th, 2009
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Sapphire USA
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Last but not least in this section is the main connection panel. You have three choices which consist of two DVI monitor connections which you can adapt to a VGA or an HDMI equipped monitor through their respective adapters, or you can take advantage of the video-out port to output HD or standard S-video/composite video signal. As with most videocards, it is very straight forward.
But when it comes to cooling, I see a little bit of an issue with this cooler. For one, there is no dedicated exhaust portion of the cooler for getting rid of the heat produced by the card. Sure, the fan does push cooler air into the cooler directly, but from there it seems there is no easy way for the heat to be removed. The black cover partially obstructs airflow in both directs. A solution would be to remove the edge on either end of the cooler cover so the flow can be restored. But with this setup, heatsoak is going to occur.
Another thing to note is that this card will contribute to increasing your internal case temperatures seeing with its current flow configuration, most of the warm air will be exhausted back into your case. Just make sure you have proper case ventilation. This card gets really warm when being stress tested during games and could easily up your case temps by 2-5C.
With the stock overclocked values of 780Mhz core and 1000Mhz memory set, I tried to push the card to its 100% stable ceiling. Through several hours of testing and benchmarking, I finally found a 100% stable overclock of 810Mhz core and 1150Mhz memory. When I state a stable overclock, I mean an overclock that works and never freezes during any game or benchmark. I could have gone higher, but the card would work fine on one game, and then stop responding during a benchmark and would need a complete reboot. With that being said, if this was a standard cocked core, I would deem this overclock to be substandard. But when this clock is already overclocked when I started, a 30Mhz core and 50Mhz memory clock increase is quite substantial and does unlock some serious performance hidden within this card.
Even when the overclock was in place, the cooler fan only ramped up 10-15% and the VPU temperature never went above 55c.
The Testbed is comprised of:
Intel QX9770 Extreme Quad Core 3.2Ghz Processor Check Prices
Gigabyte P35-DS4 Premium Motherboard Check Prices
Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2Gig PC-8500 DDR2 Memory Check Prices
Windows XP Professional SP3 Check Prices
Maxtor 250gig SATA-150 HD Check Prices
PCI Express Videocards Benchmarked Against:
Sapphire Toxic HD4850
Sapphire Atomic HD3870 X2
Sapphire Atomic HD4870 X2
HIS IceQ 4 Turbo HD4850
Benchmarking Programs Are:
Half Life 2 Episode 2 HOC Benchmark (8x AA / 16x AF)
Far Cry ( 8x AA / 16x AF)
Crysis (8x AA / 16x AF)
Crysis WarHead (8x AA / 16x AF)
Quake Wars : Enemy Territory (8x AA / 16x AF)
Devil May Cry 4 (8x AA / 16x AF)
All tests are done using DX9c seeing we will be running Windows XP for maximum performance. In most games today, there is almost no difference in visual quality that can noticed when you compare DX9c vs DX10.1. DX10.1 involves installing Vista which in itself is a huge performance hindrance that most gamers avoid. Relative performance comparisons can be made seeing the difference will be relatively the same for each DirectX version.
Throughout the testing of this videocard, I will be showing you how this card performed on the system mentioned above using the following programs at 1024x768 and 1280x1024 resolutions. Higher resolutions will be added over the coming months.
Both testing situations will be benchmarked with stock and overclocked settings initialized separately.