Sapphire is a manufacturer of ATI Radeon based graphics cards that is known for their special designs. Many of their products are nothing like the reference designs from ATI; featuring unique PCBs, cooling solutions, clock speeds, and and/or harwdare configurations.
The item provided for this review takes all of the potential changes listed above and applies them to one over the top graphics card. What we have here is a custom PCB sporting a pair of overclocked Radeon HD4870 GPUs, 2048MB of overclocked GDDR5 memory, and a custom liquid cooling circuit that keeps the card to a single slot solution.
The promotional image above shows the Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD4870 X2 2048MB graphics card and its collector's edition aluminum carrying case. The graphics card itself may be somewhat easy to identify, but for those not expecting to see a CPU cooler plumbed up to its liquid cooling circuit, the whole assembly may look a bit foreign. This review will be a first for us, as it will not only have to analyze the performance of a video card, but it will have to cover a CPU cooler, as well.
Before looking at the sample provided for review, let's take a look at some published data on the Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD4870 X2 2048MB graphics card. The bullet points below cover the key features and specifications, but be sure to check the Sapphire website for the most current details.
Features and Specifications:
» Chipset: HD 4870 x2
» Engine clock: 800MHz
» Stream processors: 800 x2
» RAMDAC: 400MHz x2
» Memory clock: 1000MHz GDDR5
» Memory interface: 256-bit + 256-bit
» Memory Support: 2x 1GB
» Cooling: Single slot liquid cooling
» Bus Interface: PCI-Express Gen 2.0 x16
» Variable display outputs: Dual DVI, HDTV out, VGA & HDMI via adapters
» Max 3D resolution: 2560x1600 (dual-link DVI), 1024 x 768 (TV out)
» Hardware Features: DirectX® 10.1
» ShaderModel: 4.1
» Software Feature: ATI AvivoTM
Each GPU is clocked at 800MHz, and each one has 1GB of blazing fast 1000MHz GDDR5 at its disposal. A reference design HD4870 card has a GPU that runs at 750MHz and memory that runs at 900MHz, so this card provides a boost in terms of clock speed and by doubling up on processors/memory.
This card is definitely a top shelf item... While I don't have a definite number for the price, early estimates indicate that it will sell for around $650 (US), which is definitely quite an investment for a video card! The Sapphire Radeon HD4850 X2 that was recently reviewed at Bigbruin.com currently sells for about $310, while a variety of manufacturers produce Radeon HD4870 X2 cards with prices between $490 and $560 (US).