Sapphire CES 2013: Mini-PCs are the Future

Subject: Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 09:11 PM |
Tagged: Vapor X, sapphire, PCs, graphics, APU, amd

 

Sapphire was a quick trip with a few interesting things to show off.  At the moment we are in a quiet period with AMD and NVIDIA graphics releases.  While AMD has released a few of their mobile based 8000 series parts, we are still not expecting a major desktop refresh anytime soon.  This is somewhat bittersweet for the graphics partners.  On one hand they have more time to differentiate their products and create more value for their consumers.  On the other hand there is no major push with new technology that will help the bottom line.

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The company is not only involved with graphics, but has a long history of producing motherboards.  They offer products for both AMD and Intel, but their primary focus is to address the APU market.  FM2 is well fleshed out with Sapphire with A85X, A75, and A55 products.  Sapphire does find it slightly easier to compete in the AMD market than going against the biggies in the larger and potentially more lucrative Intel market.

The area where they are hoping to experience the most growth in is the micro PC market.  These are very small “desktop” style products based on mobile parts.  These are robust little units which do not ship with an OS or the ability to build in an optical device.  Due to Sapphire being such a strong AMD partner, they are primarily focusing on APUs in this market as well.

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The Edge VS8 is the top product for Sapphire in this market.  It is based on a mobile Trinity APU that is quad core enabled running at 1.6 GHz.  The graphics portion is the 7600G, which looks to feature the entire complement of GCN units but obviously clocked down to save on power.  The VS4 features Trinity but with a dual core processor running at 1.9 GHz.

The lower end Edge HD series is a slightly older unit, and the HD3 runs the last generation Llano processor.  They also feature an Intel based HD4 that runs the Celeron 897 processor.

These PCs are shipped without operating systems and can also be bought in a barebones state.  For example the VS8 comes standard with 4GB of memory and a 320 GB HD (spindle based).  By buying a barebones version a user can easily stack as much memory as possible in the machine as well as use a SSD to give that much more performance.

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Sapphire continues to offer their entire line of AMD based graphics cards and are really pushing their Vapor X technology.  Which leads us to our next product.  Sapphire will start introducing their CPU cooling designs to the market and will be using the Vapor-X technology.  Vapor chamber cooling will be coming to the CPU market very soon and at competitive prices.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Win a Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB GHz Edition FleX Graphics Card!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | December 19, 2012 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: video, sweepstakes, sapphire, never settle, giveaway, contest, amd

Remember those really cool game streams we hosted with AMD on Medal of Honor Warfighter, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3?  Well can you believe that one of the winners from our Far Cry 3 event hasn't replied to our request for a shipping address which means only one thing:

We have an extra Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX graphics card to hand out!

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Lucky you!  Since it is the holiday season, we wanted to make this EASY for you.  Here is how you enter:

We'll randomly pick a winner from anywhere in the world to get this kick ass prize on December 26th, so you'll have something to look forward to on the day after Christmas.

Good luck to all of you and our most heartfelt thanks to AMD, Sapphire and of course the fans of PC Perspective for a great 2012!!

Sapphire takes their Vapor-X knowhow to CPU cooling

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 7, 2012 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, vapor-x

Vapor-X graphics cards are certainly recognizable as Sapphire has been creating them for a while now, but a CPU cooler is a completely new thing for them.  With the two fans installed this beast can weigh up to 1.5kg and is 135 x 110.4 x 163.5mm (5.3 x 4.3 x 6.4 in), so make sure that your case is big enough to contain a cooler of this size.  It also sits very close to the board which can be a problem for motherboards who have DIMM slots very close to the CPU socket.  If you can install this cooler you will be impressed by the performance as it beat out the other coolers that Overclockers Club compared it to.  The MSRP is $65, quite affordable for overclockers that need a heatsink of this magnitude.

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"I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how the Vapor-X Universal CPU Cooler handled the thermal load of the Core i7 2600K and especially how it outperformed what has been my go to heat sink for family builds: the Noctua NH-U12P. Sapphire's Vapor-X Universal CPU cooler performed two degrees Celsius better than the Noctua at both stock and overclocked speeds. The Phantek's cooler shows more cooling is available with a massive air cooling solution that provides an 8 °C improvement over the Vapor-X when the CPU is overclocked. The Vapor-X is not meant to compete at that level yet still delivers acceptable temperatures when overclocked."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Sapphire Releases Vapor-X CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 1, 2012 - 10:18 PM |
Tagged: vapor-x, sapphire, hsf, cpu cooler, cooling

Sapphire, a popular graphics card add-in-board partner in the US recently announced a new product that strays from the norm. Called the Vapor-X, it is a new tower-style CPU cooler aimed at enthusiasts.

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The new cooler has the Vapor-X designation because it uses the company’s vapor chamber heatsink technology to take heat away from the processor into an aluminum fin array. The vapor chamber makes contact with the CPU, and from there four 7mm heatpipes transfer heat to the aluminum fins where two 120mm fans and a black plastic shroud channel cool air through. The fans are rated at 77 CFM and a maximum of 40 dBA. Both fans have variable (PWM) speeds from 495 to 2200 RPM.

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The Vapor-X heatsink has a gross weight of 1524.8 grams (approximately 3.4 pounds) including the fans. Dimensions are 135 x 110.4 x 163.5mm, and it is designed to work within the constraints of the LGA 2011 socket without limiting you to low profile memory modules.

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Unfortunately, Sapphire does not list a TDP rating for this heatsink, but it is aimed at high end processors with support for the following processor sockets:

  • AMD:  FM1, FM2, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+
  • Intel:  LGA 1366, LGA 1155, LGA 1156, LGA 775

While it has yet to show up at Newegg, it is reportedly on its way with a MSRP of $69.99. You can find more photos and specifications on Sapphire's product page.

My first major gaming graphics card was from Sapphire, so it is neat to see the company taking its graphics card cooling expertise and applying it to CPUs. The reviews should be interesting – particularly whether the shroud really helps to lower temps.

Source: Sapphire

Sapphire Launches 6GB TOXIC 7970 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: toxic edition, sapphire, radeon, overclocked GPU, gpu, 7970 ghz edition

GPU add-in-board partner Sapphire Technology has launched a new factory overclocked graphics card based on the AMD 7970 GHz Edition GPU (which we did a live video review of recently). That particular chip is built on the 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and brings several improvements over the initial (non GHz Edition) 7970 GPU. The main difference between the two is that the GHz variant is a higher binned part that also features a new GPU boost technology similar to NVIDIA’s dynamic overclocking function.  The new Sapphire Toxic card takes that chip and pushes it to the max with two levels of factory overclocked settings.

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Packing the company’s custom dual 90mm fan and heatpipe-equipped Vapor-X cooler, the HD 7970 TOXIC Edition features 6GB of GDDR5 memory, 2,048 stream processors, and a 7970 GHz Edition GPU. Out of the box, the card has a base GPU clockspeed of 1050 MHz and a boost speed of 1100 MHz. On the memory side of things, it runs the GDDR5 at 6,000 MHz (effective). When you press a button – which the company calls the Lethal Boost Button – the base clockspeed becomes 1100 MHz and the boost speed becomes 1200 MHz. The Lethal Boost also overclocks the memory to 6400 MHz (effective).

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The card also includes a 12 layer black PCB with a new eight phase power design package for the GPU and an additional power phase for the VDDCI and MVDD along with other high-end goodies to deliver the stable voltage necessary for the high factory overclocks. Rear IO on the graphics card includes two DVI ports – one dual link and one single link – one mini-DisplayPort, and one full-sized HDMI port. In all, it is a dual slot card and measures 275mm in length, and 115mm wide. You will be able to purchase the Toxic edition card for $680. It looks like a really good card, but it’s not cheap.

Source: Sapphire

Sapphire's Dual X cooler makes this HD7970 special

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2012 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, dual x 7970m, factory overclocked

The Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition sports two profiles, on set to defaults and one with a mild overclock of 1GHz on the GPU and effective memory of 5.8GHz but it really is the cooler which makes this card special.  The dual fans and extensive heatsinks allow for quieter and cooler operation than the reference design which can be more important to some than a huge overclock and since it is cooler you have a better chance of getting a higher manual overclock if you are so inclined.  Overclockers Club were very impressed with the card and even more impressed by Sapphire's decision to include an Active DisplayPort adapter.

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"The Dual X cooler is really the bonus to this particular card; it is the real feature that sets it apart from not only other 7970s but also other high-end cards. Under full load it shows off its true colors as one of the best cooled cards on the market while remaining quiet (in a relative manner). With the fans at full it can dissipate quite a bit of heat away from the card to keep it cool and ready for more. It might dump a little more heat to the case at idle and run slightly "hotter" at idle, but it is much better than a constant vacuum cleaner noise coming from your case."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

 

Computex: Sapphire Shows Off Passively Cooled Radeon 7770 GPU

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2012 - 02:40 AM |
Tagged: video, sapphire, radeon 7770, passive cooling, graphics card, gpu, computex

Not to be left out of the Computex news, graphics card manufacturer Sapphire Technology unveiled a passively cooled AMD Radeon 7770 graphics card running at reference clock speeds. Following the release of the company’s factory overclocked Vapor-X 7770, the new Sapphire HD 7770 Ultimate 1GB card is the first to sport a passive cooler – other vendors are going in the opposite direction by using custom (active) coolers to push up reference clockspeeds for factory overclocked cards.

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Source: AnandTech

What makes the sapphire card neat is that the company did not have to underclock the GPU or memory in order to make a passive cooler feasible. With this card, you will get a silent GPU with the same specs and speeds as the reference 7770 we recently reviewed. The card looks to take up about two PCI expansion slots and utilizes a horizontal stack of vertically aligned (if that makes sense?) aluminum fins connected to the GPU via four heatpipes. Because of the cooler, the card is about 25% longer than a reference card, so keep that in mind if you are considering this for a HTPC build using a tiny case.

Beyond the cooler, which is arguably the most important aspect of the card, the Saphhire 7770 Ultimate 1GB is nearly identical to AMD’s reference design. The only major change is that Sapphire had to move the GDDR5 memory chips to the opposite (top, when installed in the case) side of the PCB in order to accommodate the cooler. With that said, the video outputs on the graphics card are a small improvement over the reference design with an additional DVI port (thanks to not needing a full fan grill in the second PCI slot) bringing the total to two DVI ports, one full size HDMI, and one full size DisplayPort. Otherwise, the GPU is stock, running at 1GHz while the 1GB of GDDR5 memory is likely running at 1125 MHz (stock speeds). The Cape Verde-based graphics card contains 640 stream processors, 1.5 billion transistors, 1.28 Teraflops of compute performance, and a Texture fill rate of 40 giga-transfers per second (GT/s). The full specifications of the 7770 GPU core can be found in our review.

The MSRP of reference AMD HD 7770 cards is $159 but expect the Sapphire card to come in a bit above that number thanks to the custom cooler. You can find more photos of the passively cooled Sapphire GPU over at AnandTech who managed to snag some good shots of the card at the company’s Computex booth.

In case you missed it, our video review of the HD 7770 card is embedded below in which we show off the (7770 and 7750) card also show off several custom 7770 designs from MSI, XFX, and others. It should bring you up to speed on what the 7770 is and where it stands in terms of performance with other cards from AMD and NVIDIA.

Source: AnandTech

How does Sapphire's overclocked HD7970 fare against the GTX680

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 13, 2012 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: gtx680, hd7970, factory overclocked, sapphire

In one way, the Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition wins this competition because of the simple fact that you can actually buy it.  However, we are also interested in the performance difference as you can occasionally find a GTX 680 for sale, so we need to know how the overclocked HD7970 performs.  Sapphire has placed two separate overclocked BIOSes on this card, one with a 950MHz core and 1425MHz memory as well as a more aggressively set one with a cores of 1000MHz and 1450MHz on the memory.  As it turned out [H]ard|OCP was never able to get the more aggressive BIOS to work, on the other hand when they manually overclocked it they hit 1150MHz core and 1860MHz for the memory at which speeds the card triumphed over the GTX 680 in every test.  Sapphire's card is ~$75 more than a GTX680 but remember, you can actually buy one.

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"The Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition video card has arrived and brings promise of low temperatures with Sapphires Dual-X Cooling System. It also features a Dual BIOS with both a passive and more aggressive profile. Will Sapphires highest end HD 7970 be able to keep up and compete with NVIDIA's flagship GeForce GTX 680?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sapphire Unveils New AMD Radeon HD 7970 OC Edition GPU

Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2012 - 10:36 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, radeon, HD 7970, gpu, amd, 7970

Sapphire Technologies recently launched a new factory overclocked version of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card. The new Radeon HD 7970 OC Edition promises to combine the performance of AMD's 7970 GPU (you can find our review of the 7970 here) with Sapphire's own Dual X two fan heatpipe cooler.

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The Sapphire HD 7970 GPU is powered by one 8 pin and one 6 pin PCI-E power connection, and supports the PCI-E 3.0 standard and Microsoft's DirectX 11.1 technology. Other specifications include 3 GB of GDDR5 memory, a 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU core, a 384-bit memory interface, and a dual BIOS switch depending on whether you want to run at stock clock speeds or use the factory overclocked profile.

Specifically, the Sapphire HD 7970 GPU features a dual bios switch that allows customers to switch between default clock speeds of 950 MHz core and 1425 MHz memory and the factory overclocked speeds of 1 GHz (1,000 MHz) core and 1450 MHz memory. When using the overclocked BIOS, the graphics card will employ more a more aggressive fan profile and also allows raises the maximum limits for overclocking the core, memory, and voltage values.

Further, the Sapphire GPU uses their own Dual X cooler that features a dual slot aluminum heatsink connected to the GPU core by five copper heatpipes. This heatsink is then cooled by two large fans, that Sapphire claims will enable quiet operation even while under load.

Accessories wise, Sapphire provides one DVI, one HDMI, and two mini Display Port video outputs. In the retail packaging, Sapphire provides an Active mini Display Port to single-link DVI adapter, HDMI to DVI adapter, DVI to VGA adapter, two PCI-E to molex power adapters (one molex to PCI-E 8 pin and one molex to PCI-E 6 pin), a mini Display Port to Display Port adapter, a 1.8 meter HDMI 1.4a cable, and a CrossFire bridge.

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The new Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition is available now from authorized retailers, and is retailing for between $580 and $630 at several retailers at the time of writing.

Source: Sapphire

A different way to extend your display

Subject: Displays | February 24, 2012 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, VID-2X, multi monitor

The Sapphire VID-2X offers you a new way to utilize multiple displays without needing a graphics card capable of powering a resolution of 3840x1200.  It can both clone and stretch your desktop and is Plug & Play with no software or drivers to install, simply plug it into a dual link DVI port and it is ready to go.  At an MSRP of $180 it is less expensive than an SLI or CrossFire solution though it is limited in performance by your GPU.  You might be able to stretch your game across three monitors but you might find performance suffers somewhat.  Instead you can consider this a way to get multiple monitors from a single NVIDIA GPU or a way to avoid an active DisplayPort adapter for a Radeon card.  HiTech Legion has several videos of the VID-2X in action which you should check out.

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"Sapphire's VID-2X is a plug and play compact device that was designed to extend your existing monitor into one large field of view, in effect, tricking the system and allowing you to add two additional monitors to your system from just one display port, be it a laptop, netbook, home computer, or office PC. The VID-2X from Sapphire accomplishes this without you having to install any software or drivers. In addition, the VID-2X will make use of the video card installed and, without using system resources, maintain a resolution or output in clone mode of up to 1920 x 1280. The VID-2X offers several connection options using your existing cable option of DVI, with cables included, and once installed, will double your field of view. The Sapphire VID-2X will also adapt to VGA or HDMI display ports with adapters you may have on hand with your existing system."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays