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Sapphire HD7950 Vapor-X Edition Review

The Sapphire HD7950 Vapor X Edition is certain to satisfy a huge audience of gamers who simply can’t afford the more expensive HD7970 6GB Toxic Edition. The build quality of the HD7950 Vapor X is exemplary, just like its bigger brother.

First impressions of the HD7950 Vapor X are extremely positive … while it isn’t equipped with the HD7970 Toxic metal backplate, it feels substantial in hand and weighs significantly more than the reference card.

Sapphire have been consistently releasing high end video cards this year which emit only a modicum of noise. Their choice of high quality 90mm fans with aerofoil blades and dust repelling bearings ensure that airflow is high while noise levels are reduced as far as possible. Commendation should be paid to the engineering team who are evidently tweaking the bios profiles to ensure a perfect balance between noise emissions and cooling proficiency.

Regular readers will already be aware that I continually complain about rising noise levels of products in reviews, so it is always a pleasure to analyse a high end Sapphire graphics card. When we compare the HD7950 Vapor X against the reference HD7950 cooling solution it is difficult to believe they are from the same family.

In regards to performance, AMD’s HD7950 hasn’t disappointed, although the Sapphire HD7950 Vapor X is batting in a completely different ball park.

As our results have shown the Sapphire HD7950 Vapor X is often able to compete against the expensive AMD HD7970 reference card. Even more remarkable, when we pushed the core speed to 1,158mhz via TriXX software, it matched the Sapphire HD7970 6GB Toxic Edition at the slower of the two bios settings in 3Dmark 11, scoring more than 9,200 points.

Right now we have no idea of the retail pricing of this card. Looking online at time of publication, a heavily overclocked card, such as the Gigabyte HD7950 Windforce is priced around £270 inc vat. Taking an educated guess, we would assume that Sapphire’s HD7950 Vapor X will be priced around the £300 inc vat point.

If you want the best equipped, fastest HD7950, then there is no doubt that this is the card you need to buy.

Pros:

  • Fastest HD7950 on the market.
  • Quietest HD7950 on the market.
  • Our sample exhibited huge headroom for manual overclocking with TriXX.
  • HD7970 beating performance when manually overclocked.

Cons:

  • There will be a price premium for pride of ownership.

Kitguru says: Another market leading card from Sapphire, can they do no wrong in 2012?

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Rating: 9.0.

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