Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X 1GB Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     November 2, 2009

Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 1GB Vapor-X Review

Product Number: 100281VXSR
Price: $400USD / $450CAD (est.)
Warranty: 2-years

If you have been living under a rock or have been taking a hiking trip through the Himalayas for the last few weeks, you would be forgiven if the ATI HD 5000-series release didn’t register on your radar. Otherwise, you better know about these cards because they are currently kicking ass and taking names across nearly every price point in the GPU marketplace. Unfortunately, much like that ultra-hot girl you remember from high school who was popular for all the right reasons, the HD 5870 and to a greater extent the HD 5850 seems to be all but unattainable for many people. This isn’t due to sky high prices but rather the fact that the cards have been very hard to find due to a combination of popularity and insufficient supply to meet demand.

Even though availability of the HD 5870 hasn’t been what anyone was hoping it would be, ATI’s board partners are still forging ahead with plans to release custom cooled and overclocked versions in a mad dash to differentiate themselves from the competition. While many manufactures we have spoken to in the past few weeks have stated their custom cards will be available closer to the end of November, Sapphire is bucking that trend. Today marks the release of their overclocked, custom cooled and eagerly-anticipated HD 5870 1GB Vapor-X.

We all remember those telltale leaked images of this card from when the HD 5870 was initially launched and to be honest with you, not much has changed since then. Its main claim to fame is Sapphire’s Vapor-X heatsink technology that supposedly allows it to cool off the core better than the already-large reference cooler while having a smaller acoustical footprint. This is actually a pretty bold goal considering (according to us) the stock HD 5870’s cooling setup is anything but loud and it actually does a fairly good job of shunting the heat away from the efficient 40nm core.

Sapphire can talk all they want about the merits of their flagship card but hard part of this equation is getting the cards into people’s hands and at a fair price to boot. From what we hear, the HD 5870 Vapor-X should be listed at a few retailers on launch day but actual availability may take a few weeks to sort itself out. You can also expect to pay a premium of around $10 for this card when compared to reference HD 5870 units which would put it into the $400USD / $450CAD bracket.

Even though $450 may be a hefty amount to pay for a GPU these days, Sapphire is hoping that this card’s advanced cooling, slight overclocks and stunning good looks are enough to draw people’s attention.


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