Sapphire Technology has quietly started to sell the most powerful single-chip graphics card based on AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics processing unit, the Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X. The graphics board is exclusively available from Overclockers.co.uk now, but over time it can reach different stores as well.
The Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X OC 8192MB graphics card comes with slightly increased clock-rates: the GPU is clocked at 1060MHz (up from 1000MHz), whereas 8GB of memory operate at 5600MHz effective frequency (up from 5000MHz on default graphics cards). The product features one HDMI, one DisplayPort 1.2 and two dual-link DVI connectors to drive ultra-high-definition and high-definition displays.
Thanks to the vapour chamber-based cooling system with three fans, it can be safely said that the Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X OC 8GB will provide a lot of headroom for further overclocking due to the ultimate efficiency of such cooler.
While 8GB of GDDR5 memory sounds impressive, not everyone needs a frame-buffer that large at present. For the vast majority of use cases, 4GB GDDR5 should be enough for fine frame-rates. 8GB will provide a significant advantage to those, who play in 4K resolution (3840*2160) and/or with very high-quality antialiasing settings.
Since the Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X OC 8GB graphics card is currently exclusive and is also the only R9 290X-based model with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, it is clearly not affordable. Overclockers.co.uk sells it for £599.99 ($1015, €730) with taxes. By contrast, the same store offers dual-chip Radeon R9 295X2 graphics boards with 8GB of memory for around £1100.
While one Radeon R9 295X2 will clearly outperform Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X OC 8GB, a pair of the pre-overclocked graphics cards with 8GB of memory from Sapphire will beat the Radeon R9 295X2 in high resolutions at basically similar cost. Therefore, if you are on the market for en exclusive single-chip offering, or a multi-GPU combination that beats the world’s highest-performing graphics card, the Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X OC 8GB is a product to consider.
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KitGuru Says: It will be interesting to see whether other companies will follow Sapphire with the Radeon R9 290X-based solutions with 8GB of memory. While such a large frame-buffer will hardly be useful for everyone, many enthusiasts may actually buy such graphics cards before they get an UHD/4K displays… Alternatively, AMD could produce a reference Radeon R9 290X 8GB in order to offer an alternative to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan Black. However, this will hardly happen…