Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review

SAPPHIRE has a new custom cooled version of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition known as the Vapor-X HD 7970 GHz Edition. We examine how well SAPPHIRE's Vapor-X cooling technology allows us to overclock this GHz edition video card. We will compare it to a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and a GeForce GTX 680.


Power Testing

We tested the power utilization at the wall of the entire system without a video card, and with each video card at idle and full load. For full load power and temperature testing we used real gaming and recorded the highest value in each game. To measure power consumption we use a P3 International Kill-A-Watt device to measure power consumption from the wall. The entire testing system, excluding the speakers and monitor, are plugged into the Kill-A-Watt device. Therefore, power consumption numbers include all components, not just the video card.

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The power utilization results for the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 was exactly 1W less than the GTX 680 and the same wattage as the reference Radeon HD 7970 at idle. This is so close idle power can be considered similar between all three video cards. At full load the power increased to 370W on the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 video card. Remarkably, the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 utilized far less power at the same clock speeds and same level of performance compared to the reference Radeon 7970.

Overclocking the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 increased power draw by 10-20% depending on the game, and for that, resulted a modestly improved average frame rate.

Temperature Testing

To measure temperatures on these video cards we used the sensor information from GPU-Z to find the GPU’s highest temperature during the test run. We found that Battlefield 3 provided the highest temperatures from the games used in this evaluation. To get our numbers for the process we played through an entire test run with GPU-Z recording temperature sensor information in the background. We then selected the highest temperature it reported. Idle temperature was recorded after the system idled at the desktop for at least 30 minutes with no other activity happening on the system.

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The VaporX fan unit installed on the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 did a great job of keeping the card well cooled, clocking in 4 degrees Celsius cooler at idle than the reference Radeon HD 7970 at idle and 17 degrees cooler under load. The GTX 680 performed comparably to the reference Radeon HD 7970. While overclocked, the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 temperature did not increase, however, the fans did spin up slightly higher than they did at the stock speed. We also noticed during idle situations, the fans would occasionally turn off. At standard settings, the fans were not audibly noticeable but when increased to 100% they are rather noticeable.