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Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Review

Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Introduction:

As AMD's largest partner, Sapphire has had the leeway to build some truly inspiring products previously leading up to the launch from the R9 series Hawaiian Islands based video cards. Previous year's HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition, the HD 5970 Toxic Edition, and the HD 4870X2 Atomic Edition are prime samples of taking the best that AMD has to offer and making it better. You ask, "aren't the reference versions good enough for gaming?" Sure they may be, for that average gamer that's satisfied with the mean average. If you want more, then you start studying the non-reference designs to see what each partner has to offer. In Sapphire's case, it has been at the forefront beginning with the HD 3870 Atomic Edition last January 2008. A card which was equipped with one of if not the first cooling systems having an integrated Vapor-X based contact surface to transfer the thermal load on the fin array. More recently Sapphire has had steps to increase refine the emblem with Black Diamond single and double sided chokes coupled with a solid capacitor design to relieve the component operating temperatures well over 20 °C.

Last year's HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition used a massive cooling strategy to maintain temperatures well below those of the reference card. To do this Sapphire used a pair of fans pushing though a totally large fin array to hold temperature in check. On the R9 280X Toxic Edition we percieve the introduction of Sapphire's Tri-X three fan cooling solution that takes up less space vertically and uses an enormous 10mm heat pipe to transfer the thermal load out of the core. Another improvement is the addition of dual firmware support for both UEFI-enabled and standard BIOS configurations. Ready to take advantage in the latest AMD and Windows technologies, the Sapphire R9 280X Toxic is, like its predecessors, a factory overclocked video card ready for the demanding enthusiast. Priced at roughly $349, it enjoys an expense premium seen on many non-reference designs, specially those that use non-stock components.

If earlier times performance of Sapphire is any indication of how this card is built and runs, compared to the rest with the R9 280X world can be used on notice.

Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Closer Look:

Sapphire packaging needs a step inside a bold new direction with gold accents against a black background that don't prominently features "Ruby", a fixture around the front of Sapphire's packaging for countless years. Usually the Toxic and Atomic Editions feature some type of her, but this one features a mechanized soldier all set to go to battle. Both Sapphire specific and AMD standard feature sets are highlighted on the front panel and include the Toxic feature set, HDMI cable, the fact this card can be a factory overclocked edition, which Sapphire's own TriXX overclocking and tuning utility is roofed. AMD specifics will include a 3GB frame buffer, Eyefinity support, which the R9 280X uses AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture. The back panel looks more closely at just what the Toxic Edition offers the end user with an image of the card that matches the color scheme around the package. Opening up the sleeve gets you on the standard no frils inner box that holds the R9 280X Toxic and the accessory bundle.

Inside the package we have seen that the card is protected from ESD damage and also transit damage by shipping the cardboard in a foam enclosure that surrounds the cardboard on all four sides. Inside a separate box within the card is the accessory bundle that holds both the documentation and hardware. All told you get the quick installation guide, registration information, driver/software disc, a six-foot HDMI cable, Crossfire Bridge connection, dual 4-pin molex to 6-pin PEG power connections, and a single mini DisplayPort to regular size DisplayPort adapter.

As enticing because the specifications sound, the proof is in the pudding as they say. Let's dig a lttle bit deeper in the Sapphire R9 280X Toxic to view how it implemented the answer.

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