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Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X Performance 3D Graphics Card

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Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X Performance 3D Graphics Card

Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X

©Sapphire Technology

The Bottom Line

Jun 26 2009 - Sapphire's Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X model is a nice departure from the standard reference. The cooler does an excellent job of keeping temperatures down while producing very little noise. This combined with the native HDMI with 7.1 audio support make it an excellent choice for those wanting a high performance graphics card for a HTPC setup. Gamers won't be disappointed either with most games easily playing upwards of 1920x1200 with high detail levels and filtering. And with a $230 price tag, it certainly is affordable.
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  • Extremely Fast Performance 3D Performance Supporting 1920x1200 in Most Applications
  • Offers Native DisplayPort and HDMI Connector
  • Very Low Noise Operation


  • Cooler Doesn't Cover Entire Boards Resulting in Hot Spots
  • Only Moderate Overclocking Gains


  • ATI Radeon HD 4890 (R790) Graphics Processor
  • 870MHz Core Clock
  • 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory
  • 1050MHz Memory Clock
  • 16x PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Interface
  • DisplayPort, HDMI, Dual Link DVI and VGA Connectors
  • Vapor-X Slim Chamber Heatpipe Cooler
  • CrossFireX Capable
  • Two 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-Express Power Adapters, HDMI to DVI Adapter, CrossFire Bridge Connector
  • Graphics Driver CD

Guide Review - Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X Performance 3D Graphics Card

Jun 26 2009 - Sapphire's Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X is a drastic movement away from the ATI reference design of the 4890 series cards. Much of this comes from the unique Vapor-X cooling solution that Sapphire has put on previous cards. It is similar to the heatpipe technology used by many coolers today but in a more compact design that was originally developed for thin servers. This allows the card to run the fan at a lower speed to get the same cooling effects as a traditional graphics cooler design. The result is a dramatic reduction in fan noise.

The other major difference with the card is the connector layout. Most cards use two standard DVI connectors. Sapphire has decided to include four graphics connectors to support all the major video connectors including VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. Even though it has four connectors, only two of them may be used at any given time. The HDMI connector also supports carrying 7.1 audio to compatible displays or receivers. Those wanting to run two DVI monitors can do so using the supplied HDMI to DVI adapter cable.

The Radeon HD 4890 graphics processors is essentially a reworked Radeon HD 4870 that allows for high base clock speeds. In the Vapor-X version, clock speeds have been bumped up to 870Mz for the core and 1050MHz for the memory from the reference 850MHz and 975MHz. In most of the 3D games today, this allows for solid frame rates at the 1920x1200 and sometimes even 2560x1600 resolutions. Some demanding game engines like Crysis will run smoothly with high detail up to 1680x1050.

One downside to the Vapor-X is its limited overclocking. The card was able to achieve roughly 100MHz extra on both core and memory clocks. Those looking for higher speeds should look at the Sapphire Toxic version for great potential but in a more reference design.

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