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Jan 27, 2015

Sapphire Radeon R9 290X with 8 GB Memory Launched

Overclocked graphics cards are the name of the game immediately after every new video board release, but today we aren't looking at yet another NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960. Instead, the AMD crowd is retaliating, so to speak.

Perhaps that is not altogether appropriate to say, since the board that Sapphire has just released is in no way meant to compete with NVIDIA's newest Maxwell model. Which is not to mean that it is weaker. Quite the opposite, Sapphire has launched one of the best single-GPU cards yet, the Radeon R9 290X Tri-X 8GB. This video card is an incarnation of the Radeon R9 290X single-GPU top-tier adapter from AMD, only with 8 GB instead of “only” four.

The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB
The GPU, known in most circles as the Hawaii, runs its 2,816 GCN stream processing units (Graphics Core-Next) at a clock of 1,020 MHz. Considering that the normal board is content with 1,000 MHz (1 GHz for short), you can already see the factory overclock at work. However, one could also make a good case for the overclock being more or less minor. That's where the dual-BIOS comes in. The point is to allow buyers to manually overclock the graphics adapter themselves, and for the secondary BIOS to act as the fallback plan. If overclocking goes too high and too far, leading to a no-boot scenario, the card can be rolled back to factory settings with a single switch.

That said, the 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM are run at 1,375 MHz (5.5 GHz Effective frequency) through a 512-bit interface. As for the cooler, it is a triple-fan monstrosity (fans with dust repelling bearings and dual ball races) with a black and red color theme and five heatpipes, a central 10 mm one, and four subsidiaries. Aerofoil section blades make sure airflow is strong and efficient with little noise. All in all, the video card, with its 6-phase power design and two 8-pin power ports, can pull as much as 375 Watts total including PCI-Express power.

Availability and pricing
The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB graphics card should be put up for order soon, for around one thousand dollars / euro based on current trends and the prices of other high-end adapters. Sapphire didn't give any numbers in the PR. Or it could end up at under six hundred, or between six and seven hundred. A second search through retail channels confirms that the potential price range is surprisingly wide.

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB side view

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB full view
Images credits to Sapphire


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