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Sapphire HD7950 Vapor-X Edition Review

Rating: 9.0.

Last month we reviewed the latest flagship GPU from Sapphire, the incredible HD7970 6GB Toxic Edition. The 7970 Toxic managed to get the enthusiast audience salivating, although most simply couldn’t afford the bank breaking asking price. In an attempt to rectify this today we are looking at the brand new HD7950 Vapor X card – another pimped out, heavily modified solution from the company, but targeted at a more affordable price point. Our sample was one of the first from the factory, before even the retail boxes were printed.

AMD’s HD7950 has enjoyed success this year, targeting the high end gamer who wants to play the latest Direct X 11 titles with all the eye candy maxed at full high definition resolutions.

Previous testing has highlighted that when overclocked, the HD7950 can nearly compete against the more expensive HD7970. Priced between £240 and £290, it has hit the sweet spot for high performance gaming throughout 2012.

Can Sapphire once again lead the way with their heavily customised HD7950 Vapor X solution?

Product AMD HD7970 GHZ Ed
Sapphire HD7950 Vapor-X Edition
AMD HD7950
AMD HD7870 AMD HD7850
Core Clock speed 1050mhz 850mhz-950mhz
1000mhz 860mhz
Transistors 4.31 billion 4.31 billion 2.8 billion 2.8 billion
Stream Processors 2,048 1,792 1,280 1,024
Compute Performance 3.79 TFLOPS 2.87 TFLOPS 2.56 TFLOPS 1.76 TFLOPS
Texture Units 128 112 80 64
Texture Fillrate 134.4 GT/s 89.6 GT/s 80 GT/s 55.0 GT/s
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Pixel Fillrate 33.6 GP/s 25.6 GP/s 32.0 GP/s 27.52 GP/s
Z/Stencil 128 128 128 128
Memory Clock 1,500mhz
1,250mhz 1,200mhz 1,200mhz
Memory Data Rate 6 GBps 5.0 Gbps 4.8 Gbps 4.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 240 GB/s 153.6 GB/s 153.6 GB/s

Sapphire have enhanced this card by offering a dual bios, with the secondary core overclock boost speed set to 950mhz. The remainder of the specifications are the same as the reference card.

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  • Davis

    That is fantastic, although ive a feeling £300 might not be possible with the card. I hope im wrong as I think if they get the price right this could sell well for them.

  • Sven

    They make the best video cards on the planet. Imagine what they could do if they worked with Nvidia.

    Whatever happened to XFX by the way? they disappeared off the face of the planet.

  • Denna

    I still think £300+ is too much for most people, but they are pushing the reference designs pretty much as far as they can do.

  • Anusha

    Excellent review as always Zardon. Quick question – will people actually be able to buy this one? the toxic 6GB has never appeared in the UK as far as I know.

  • Frank Duller

    Strange they didnt opt for the 6GB of memory again. or did they realise that its a waste of money basically?

  • Warren

    thats very tasty but they need to make a 7850 like this for the mass audience and try to keep it around £200 🙂

  • Alexander

    Will they actually be selling this one though? the 6GB Toxic was never on sale anywhere I could find it.

  • Harry

    Excellent, im more an nvidia guy, but Sapphire are pulling out all the stops lately with their designs.

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  • Exar Kun

    Are you sure about the bios settings? At http://www.sapphiretech.com it says:

    “On its standard settings, the SAPPHIRE HD 7950 Vapor-X Edition engine clock runs at 850 MHz with 3GB of the latest DDR5 memory clocked at 5000 MHz effective. When the Dual BIOS button is operated, the base clocks are the same but the PowerTune Dynamic Boost is enabled allowing the clocks to rise to 950 MHz or more on the engine. The fan profile and PowerTune limit is also changed to performance settings. In addition, users will be able to individually tune the card with SAPPHIRE TriXX, the company’s free to download software tool that allows key parameters to be adjusted for maximum performance.”

  • Yes, thats right 🙂 we tested in performance mode with core boost to 950mhz

  • Exar Kun

    Shouldn’t it than say 850mhz for bios 1 and 850mhz-950mhz for bios 2 in the chart on page one if the base clocks are the same? Also the GPU-Z Screenshots on page 2 confuses me because it looks more like bios 1 = 850mhz-950mhz and bios 2 = 950mhz?

    In case the 850mhz-950mhz is correct for the tested bios it would have been interesting to see if the card can handle the 950mhz constantly ingame or frequently falls back to 850mhz?

    I’m so curious because I don’t like this whole boost thing would have been much better to not imitate nvidia in that field an leave it fixed at 850mhz for bios 1 and fixed at 950mhz for bios 2.

    Apart from that little uncertainty you have made a great Review an I wold like to thank you for that. 🙂 The only thing I mist was a small audio file to actually hear the characteristic of the fans at idle and load.

  • The first bios setting – the core runs at 850mhz. The secondary ‘boost’ bios has the core running at 950mhz. It was running at 950mhz constantly according to my analysis when under gaming or synthetic load. We only tested at the faster setting, as I dont imagine any enthusiast would pay a premium for this card to run it at the slower speed. seems almost pointless. Still it is a good fallback option in some instances.

    The table on the first page, basically just shows the full gamut of core clock speeds. but 950mhz was used throughout testing.

    Glad you liked the review.

  • Exar Kun

    Thank you for the fast answer at this late hour 🙂

    Since the 660 Ti didn’t convince me with it’s cut on the memory bandwidth which is already the weakness of the 670 and 680 I will go with this one as soon as it is available providing that the price isn’t ruining the good package. The other Sapphire HD7950 with 950mhz and no boost is most likely louder or hotter I guess.

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