Sapphire chokes very well

Vapor and heatsinks

THE COMPUTEX NEWS from the ATI partner camp was rather slim, no GPUs until October means no new cards. Sapphire did have some interesting updates to show off though.

End plate with four outs

The end of the line

The biggest thing they have is the new end plate on the 4890 Vapor-X card. This one is two steps down from the 4890 Toxic, instead of being a limited edition 1GHz part, it runs at 870MHz. The Vapor-X also has an end plate with 4 different outs, DVI, HDMI, VGA and Displayport. With an adapter, you can have the usual 2 DVIs, no worries there.

Sapphire chokes and caps

Note the chokes, caps and fan ducting

The Vapor-X is notable for two things, noise and efficiency. The efficiency side of things is accomplished through a patented technology that Sapphire is calling Diamond Black. The chokes (square thingies with ridges) above tend to get hot under use, and the hotter they get the worse they perform, and the less efficient they are.

Diamond Black is a simple idea, they put a heatsink on them. Actually, that is only partially correct, if you look closely, the heatsink material is molded around the choke, so it should be very efficient, and possibly cheaper.

The silencing part is simple as well, a single big fan with ample ductwork. No high speed, small diameter screamers here. Air is sucked in from the top and blown out the sides and bottom. If you look closely, you can see the ducting aims exhaust airflow over the caps and chokes to cool them as well.

If you are confused about which card is which, I don’t blame you, I was as too. So here is the short primer on the Sapphire 4890 line. On top you have the Atomic, a limited edition with all the bells and whistles. Right now, it clocks at 1GHz, has a vapor chamber, heatpipes and lots of fans.

One step down is the Toxic, more or less the same thing, but it is clocked at 960MHz. The lowest enthusiast part is the Vapor-X, it clocks at 870MHz and loses the high flow fans for a single one that produces far less noise. It still has a vapor chamber though, and like all of it’s brethren, uses 1050MHz GDDR5.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate