Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 2GB Vapor-X Video Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     September 13, 2009

Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 2GB Vapor-X Video Card Review

Manufacturer’s Product Page: SAPPHIRE- HOME
Product Number:
11150-09-40R (Reviewed)
100269-2GVXL (“Lite” Edition)

Price: Click Here to Compare Prices
Warranty: 2-years

It has been a while since we last looked at a video card here on Hardware Canucks but let’s be honest; there really hasn’t been much going on in the GPU industry as of late as the major players gear up for their next generation products. In the interim both ATI’s and Nvidia’s board partners have released a successive number of products which improve upon the original designs by catering to certain markets. Some carry insanely high clocks while others use passive cooling for all those HTPC enthusiasts out there but one thing has remained constant: companies always want to one-up each other. In the end it is the consumer that reaps the benefits from this competition as prices are driven down while performance, cooling potential and efficiency increase.

Sapphire is one company that has waded into this competitive marketplace with all guns blazing and has released some of the best ATI-based cards on the market. Once having been known for rigidly sticking to the ATI reference design and indeed being used as an OEM for ATI’s “white box” cards, Sapphire has really turned things around as of late. Not only are they releasing highly overclocked versions of their cards but they have also begun to explore the finer points of advanced cooling technologies. These cooling technologies are at the heart of the card that we are reviewing here today: the HD 4890 2GB Vapor-X.

The last time we saw the Vapor-X technology, it was used on a heatsink strapped to a decidedly underperforming HD 3870 but this time we get to see what it’s all about when paired up with a HD 4890. Not only is this the most powerful single-chip ATI card on the market but it also produces a significant amount of heat so this new heatsink may be sorely pressed to keep up with the temperatures. One way or another, Sapphire has found yet another way to add some spice to their lineup.

While Sapphire has been near the forefront of the ATI crowd lately, their higher-end cards have been a bit lacking when it comes to availability. The HD 4890 1GB Atomic we so highly regarded in our last roundup never had widespread availability in North America even though customers were literally lined up around the block waiting for it. This card on the other hand is already available from retailers for around $275CAD / $250USD but at the time of writing this review, it seems the first shipment has already sold out.

All in all it seems the with the Vapor-X version of the HD 4890 2GB, Sapphire has come to the table ready to play. Let’s see how it performs.


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