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Sapphire RADEON HD 4850/4870 Vapor-X

Two very interesting graphics cards in tests.

June 10, 2009



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Sapphire products are so wide-spread that you can most likely find them in every computer shop. Graphics cards from this company have already become the showcase of AMD(ATI) GPUs.

Today we'll publish a small review of two graphics cards with the Vapor-X cooling systems.

Besides, one of these cards is equipped with 2 GB of memory -- that's a record. So we'll see whether this memory volume is really necessary for modern graphics cards or it's just a marketing trick.

Card design


Sapphire RADEON HD 4850 Vapor-X 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4850 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 625/625 MHz (typical)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz ()
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 200x100x32 mm
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 1xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), 1xHDMI, 1xVGA
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: not available
  • Multi-GPU operation: Hardware CrossFire
Sapphire RADEON HD 4870 Vapor-X 2048MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4870 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 750/750 MHz (typical -- 750/750 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 900 (3600) MHz (typical -- 900 (3600) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 260x100x33 mm
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 1xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), 1xHDMI, 1xVGA
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: not available
  • Multi-GPU operation: Hardware CrossFire


Sapphire RADEON HD 4850 Vapor-X 512MB

The graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 8 Samsung memory chips on the front side of the PCB. These memory chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1000 (2000) MHz.

Sapphire RADEON HD 4870 Vapor-X 2048MB

The graphics card has 2048 MB of GDDR5 SDRAM allocated in 16 Qimonda memory chips (8 per each side of the PCB). These memory chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1000 (4000) MHz.



Comparison with the reference design, front view
Sapphire RADEON HD 4870 Vapor-X 2048MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4870
Sapphire RADEON HD 4850 Vapor-X 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4850


Comparison with the reference design, back view
Sapphire RADEON HD 4870 Vapor-X 2048MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4870
Sapphire RADEON HD 4850 Vapor-X 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4850

Both cards have noticeable differences from the existing reference designs. The 4850 card has been modified the most -- its power block has changed places with the core block, so the latter has migrated from the middle of the card to its edge. Nevertheless, the new PCB layout is more compact, so this card is shorter.

The 4870 card features minor modifications in the power supply unit. And it goes without saying that output connectors in both cards differ from the reference set.

Both cards are equipped with solid-state electrolytic capacitors and Diamond Black chokes with integrated heatsinks. According to the manufacturer, it has a positive effect on performance and reliability of the cards.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (all Dual-Link DVIs)

The HDTV review is available here.

All cards require additional power, so each is bundled with a molex to 6-pin adapter, even though all modern PSUs have with such cables.


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Page 2: Cooling

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Page 4: Performance in games



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