Sapphire Radeon 4890 Vapor-X
After pitting two heavyweights toe-to-toe, we’ve seen no definitive knockout punch, but there are some interesting observations to note. The Sapphire Radeon 4890 Vapor-X is a card that offers a very compelling argument to consumers; it offers outstanding performance in today’s hottest games, easily outdistancing its ATI brethren, and running extremely close with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 275. There are certainly a few game titles that prefer one card over the other, but not to the degree that one can claim any sort of beat-down. The one exception would be Race Driver: GRID that simply loves ATI cards, and the 4890 Vapor-X handily trounced the competition.
More importantly, however, is that the 4890 Vapor-X shone in terms of temperature; while its idle level was higher than the GTX 275, it was considerably cooler at load, to the tune of 8° Celcius with the fan set on Auto. The fan on the Vapor-X also ran very quiet, more so than the Nvidia card, allowing gamers to either run the fan slower (and therefore quieter) to achieve the same temperature results, or else running the fan faster (and therefore cooler temperatures) to achieve the same noise levels. In the end, though, it’s probably a combination of the two, as a higher fan speed produced lower temperature and less noise overall, which is excellent to see. The only drawback here is that the Vapor-X cooler doesn’t have a shroud to entirely direct the hot air outside the rear of the case, but that’s not a terribly big issue because the cooler does work very well overall to keep the card cooler to begin with.
We’ve been informed by Sapphire that the 4890 Vapor-X will be available through all major retail channels wihin a week of this article’s publishing date, so that means the end of May, and will be available at launch for $229 USD. This will certainly create a couple scenarios in which the stock 4890 cards should drop in price since they currently retail higher than what’s being proposed for the Vapor-X, and secondly, this will also pressure the Nvidia camp to examine their pricing schemes for the GTX 275. Given the fact that the 4890 Vapor-X offers higher clock speeds, better performance, and lower temperatures for a lower price than both the stock 4890’s and the GTX 275’s, the value offered here is exceptional. Clearly this bodes well for consumers as a whole who will no doubt benefit from resulting price drops on the other cards.
The only other pricing consideration here, and specifically price-to-performance, is that our recent view of the Sapphire Radeon 4770 proved it to be a card with mid-range horsepower at an entry-level price. It’s not a stretch, then, to say that two 4770’s in Crossfire may be an even better buy, offering performance to beat the 4890 Vapor-X at a slightly lower price. Of course, you need a dual PCI-e motherboard and may have to put up with potential Crossfire issues that are bound to rise in certain games, but it is a compelling option to consider. Either way, Sapphire seems to have their products positioned very well in the market. You really cannot go wrong with either route.
Boasting excellent gaming performance for your hard-earned dollar, the Sapphire Radeon 4890 Vapor-X runs cool, quiet, and fast, and is a superb option for gamers who are looking for a top product at a great price.
Sapphire Radeon 4890 Vapor-X
Our thanks go to Sapphire for providing the Radeon 4890 Vapor-X for this review.