Graphics Card Reviews

Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290x 8GB Tri-X Video Card Review

« Under The Hood | Conclusion »

Test System and Testing Procedures

Processor Intel Core i7-4770K (Retail)
CPU Cooler Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme with Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound
Motherboard MSI Z97m Gaming
Memory Patriot Viper 3 “Black Mamba” 2x8GB DDR3 2100 MHz CL11
Storage Samsung 256GB 840 EVP
Case DimasTech Easy XL 3.0
Drivers AMD Catalyst 14.12, NVIDIA 347.25
Video Card(s)  EVGA GTX 770 SC, MSI GTX 970 Gaming
Monitor Asus VS247
Operating System Windows 7 x64 Ultimate SP-1 with latest patches and updates

Latest working BIOS, updates and drivers were used at the time of the review. Each test was conducted at least three times for accuracy. All benchmarks were performed at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 unless otherwise specified.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks

  1. 3DMark (Firestrike) – Default Preset
  2. Unigine Valley 1.0 – Ultra Quality, 8xAA
  3. Unigine Heaven 4.0 – Ultra Quality, 8xAA, Extreme Tessellation

Gaming Benchmarks

    1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Ultra Preset with FXAA on. 60 second playthrough
    2. Tomb Raider – Ultimate Preset. Built-in benchmark.
    3. Bioshock Infinite – Ultra Preset with DDoF ON. Built-in benchmark
    4. Battlefield 4 – Ultra Preset with 4x MSAA. 60 second playthrough
    5. Metro: Last Light- Very High Preset with 16x AF & Tessellation at Very high. Built-in Benchmarks

AMD’s VSR was used at 2560×1440 & 3200×1800 where as Nvidia’s DSR was used at 2715×1527 & 3840×2160



Synthetic Benchmarks

3DMark Firestrike from Futuremark is a Semi-synthetic DirectX11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. Firestrike performs advanced geometry, illumination and particle tests with its Graphics benchmark and performs physics simulations using the CPU. For our video card test, only the graphical score is taken.


Unigine Valley 1.0 and Heaven 4.0 are GPU intensive synthetic benchmarks that utilize tessellation, advanced lighting, dynamic environments and other DirectX11 graphical features. Both of these are excellent for video card stability and temperature testing and even supports Stereo3D and multi-monitor benchmarking.



Gaming Benchmarks

The first in our real-world gaming benchmarks involves the ultra-popular The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which runs on Bethesda’s Creation Engine and utilizes a DirectX 9 API. Benchmarks were performed during the initial escape scene in the beginning at Helgen while Alduin the ancient dragon razes the hold to the ground.



Tomb Raider is a re-launch title of the decades old video game series utilizing a DirectX 11 Crystal Engine to render a 3rd-person action adventure game. It has a built-in benchmark used for cross-video card comparison.


Bioshock Infinite is the third title in the alternate-universe first-person shooter franchise utilizing Unreal Engine 3. The built-in benchmark was used for video card comparison.


Battlefield 4 is an intense military first-person shooter game that utilizes DICE’s Frostbite engine. A 60-second playthrough in the single player Singapore campaign was used for the benchmark.


Metro:Last Light is a post-apocalyptic first person shooter that combines stealth and horror elements that uses the A4 engine.


Crysis 3 is labeled as the GPU killer. Just like the Original Crysis had the GPUs crying for their mother,  so does Crysis 3. Crysis 3 brings back Prophet to New York in 2047. Crysis 3 uses the latest Cryengine for stunning visuals. The level we chose was just after entering the tunnels. This features good visuals and a mixture of environments as well as a good firefight towards the end.


Overclocked Performance

Stock values: 1030 MHz Core and 1375 MHz Memory

Overclocked values without voltage adjustment: 1135 MHz Core 1525 MHz Memory


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