Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

The Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition isn’t a new card in the market, I’ve been using it for many months but I had not published any review of it as news of the looming R9 was abuzz on the Internet.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

Is there a reason to publish a review of a card that would be off the market with the introduction of the new generation of AMD graphic cards? Not only was I expecting the card to be out of the market soon after the introduction of the R9 280X, I also expected the price to plummet below RM 1,000 – I was wrong on both counts. Not only is the card still largely available in the market, the price of the said model seems to be higher than the new generation R9 models!

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card ReviewNormally I don’t talk about price at the introduction of the article but since I already mentioned it earlier, I thought we might as well just clear this up.

Are you surprised about the price? I was, many people were too. Many thought it’s just how the brand or the sellers in Malaysia decided to price the goods but I did some investigation and it seems that even Newegg seems to list the R9 280X a lot cheaper than the HD 7970 Ghz Edition.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review It was then I realized that the HD 7970 comes with AMD’s Never Settle Forever bundle while the R9 280X doesn’t!

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

Buying an HD 7970 card makes you eligible for Radeon Gold Award where you get 3 games free! 🙂 With that cleared, let’s have a look at the card.

The Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X comes with Sapphre’s “Vapor-X” custom cooler, a cooler that not only looks nice but works very well at that.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

Large fans and heatpipes are always a welcome.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

The card is powered by 2x PCI-E 8pin connector.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

And of course there’s the usual I/O port.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review

Here’s the GPU-Z detail of the card.

Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X Graphic Card Review 1

More details at the official product page.

Test Setup

ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K
RAMAvexir Core Series 8GB DDR3-1600
MotherboardASRock Z87M OC Formula
CoolerCooler Master Seidon 120M
Monitor40″ LCD TV
Power SupplyCooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
CasingCooler Master N200 Casing
Operating SystemWindows 8 Pro 64bit
DriverAMD Catalyst 13.4

Benchmark

Here we go!

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Card1080p (avg)
Sapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition71.5
ASUS Radeon R9 280X76.5
ASUS GTX 67055.0
MSI GTX 76055.5

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Heaven 4.0

Card1080p (avg)
Sapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition55.4
ASUS Radeon R9 280X59.5
ASUS GTX 67048.5
MSI GTX 76045.2

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6
*Full HD at 1920×1080 – pardon me for the wrong screen resolution in the shot above.

Card1080p (score)
Sapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition10741
ASUS Radeon R9 280X (13.11)11441
ASUS GTX 67010031
MSI GTX 7609677

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

SceneCard1080p (avg)
Dark TowerSapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition115.27
ASUS Radeon R9 280X121.90
ASUS GTX 670100.84
MSI GTX 76098.32
Desert SunriseSapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition146.16
ASUS Radeon R9 280X153.28
ASUS GTX 670119.75
MSI GTX 760118.76
Concrete JungleSapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition84.92
ASUS Radeon R9 280X87.42
ASUS GTX 67059.56
MSI GTX 76059.62

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

CardScore
Sapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition45.5
ASUS GTX 67056.3
MSI GTX 76055.8

*I didn’t manage to test the R9 on this benchmark.

3DMark

Default settings

CardScore
Sapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition6845
ASUS Radeon R9 280X (13.11)7513
ASUS GTX 6705116
MSI GTX 7605002

Temperature

Furmark Burn-in Test was used to stress the card. Fan settings are at Auto. Room set to ~25c.

CardIdle(°C)Load (°C)
Sapphire HD 7970 Ghz Edition3274

The Vapor-X is an impressive cooler. I could even run it at around 80°c on full load despite lowering the fan speed to some 40% (read : silent!).

The Verdict

The graphic card is most certainly a good one, just make sure you get the 3 games bundle and it’ll be well worth it. If you’re just looking at getting the performance alone then you should just get the R9 280X model.

goldfries recommended

goldfries rated this product :

5 Comments



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