Sapphire helps AMD strike back at Nvidia with blazing new graphics card

sapphire unveils amd based 8gb ram r9 290x vapor x
Nvidia won the first battle of the 2014 flagship video card war, but AMD is looking to retaliate where it counts — during the holiday season.

Team Red has graphics and mainboard products manufacturer Sapphire in its corner, and its latest AMD-based graphics card is a whopper. As the name suggests, the R9 290X Vapor-X OC is based off AMD’s newest chip, the Radeon R9 290X. But a series of improvements, upgrades, and optimizations make it a heavyweight contender for Nvidia’s current crown jewel, the GTX 980.

On paper, that is. Because until taking the Vapor-X for a spin ourselves, we won’t jump to conclusions. What we know for sure is the standard R9 290X is no match for the GTX 980. Meanwhile, this overclocked, improved Sapphire product could well give similar Nvidia-powered GPUs a run for their money.

An “industry-leading” 8GB frame buffer is what AMD and Sapphire rely on the most for radical performance boosts. Unlike all other R9 290X graphics cards around, this one boasts 8GB GDDR5 memory running at 1,375 MHz, plus 1,030 MHz core clock speed. It’s worth noting Nvidia and its partners are yet to come out with an 8GB-supporting GTX 980, the franchise so far clocking out at just 4 gigs. The RAM expansion by itself doesn’t a decent powerhouse make, which is why Sapphire takes extra care of cooling —  in an equally whopping way.

Vapor-X technology sees a vapor chamber placed between the GPU and the heatsink and cooler’s base, thus facilitating the dispatch of heat towards the cooler, not the actual GPU. Sounds simple, yet extremely efficient, and the Tri-X structure uses five heatpipes and three fans to keep everything nice and cool.

It’s quiet, too, particularly when not running power-demanding applications. Too often, powerful graphics chips have powerful fans that make a powerful raquet — permanently. Say you’re minding your business and checking out an HD movie. Sapphire’s Intelligent Fan Control enters the equation, and shuts down two of the three system fans.

Universally compatible with UEFI and legacy systems, the R9 290X Vapor-X card is also equipped with HDMI, a pair of Dual-Link DVI-D and a DisplayPort 1.2 connector. It can be hooked up to 4K displays and support high-end graphics without a glitch, and can juggle between three Eyefinity monitors with stereo 3D and the works.

Clearly, it’s Nvidia’s move now, although Sapphire is all sorts of secretive about pricing. The company also says the R9 290X 8GB Vapor-X “is shipping now,” but we can’t seem to find it at the company’s e-tail and retail partners. We’ll be sure to update this article as soon as we know more. Stay tuned.


Nvidia’s next midrange card might be a GTX 1660 Ti, rumors suggest

Nvidia may be working on a non-RTX Turing graphics card called the 1660 Ti. Rumors suggest it will have around 20 percent fewer CUDA cores than the RTX 2060 and will lack ray tracing support.

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.

2019 could be the year AMD has a full lineup of 7nm Radeon GPUs

AMD just came off the reveal of the worlds first consumer 7nm graphics card, but In a new interview, AMD's chief technology officer hints that 2019 could be the year where it has a full lineup of 7nm Radeon GPUs. 

Intel vs. AMD: Which chipmaker stole the show at CES 2019?

Intel and AMD have been competing for years, but rarely do they both debut something exciting at the same time. Intel vs. AMD at CES 2019 saw both companies step up to the plate. Who served it better?

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!