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Sapphire Technology, one of the world’s largest makers of graphics cards, has introduced two new graphics boards based on AMD Hawaii graphics processing unit with increased performance. The new Sapphire R9 290 and R9 290X graphics cards feature improved coolers and boosted-up clock-rates, which makes them faster that other adapters based on the same chips.

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X powered by Hawaii graphics processing unit (GPU) with 2816 stream processors features GPU clock-rate up to 1040MHz, whereas a reference-design graphics card sports GPU clocked at 1000MHz. The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X based on Hawaii graphics chip with 2560 stream processors boasts with 1000MHz frequency, up from 947MHz by default. Both graphics adapters feature 4GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1300MHz (5200MHz effective rate), up from 1250MHz (5GHz effective) on adapters designed by AMD, which gives 4% memory bandwidth improvement (332.8GB/s).

Both models are based on reference design printed-circuit boards with custom cooling developed by Sapphire. The Sapphire Tri-X cooler, first introduced on the R9 280X Toxic edition to great acclaim, uses three fans with dust repelling bearings and aerofoil section blades to deliver highly efficient airflow at low noise levels, and the fan cowling is designed to ensure the airflow is routed across the hottest areas of the card, according to the manufacturer.

Cooling is especially important in the R9 290 series because performance is capped by the system as the GPU temperature reaches higher levels. Therefore, by providing better cooling, maximum performance levels can be raised. Sapphire has also tailored the fan speed profiles on the Tri-X models to a transitional linear mode which the company believes achieves the best sustainable performance with lower GPU temperatures. Internal testing has shown the Tri-X cooler can achieve operating temperatures much lower than the reference design. In addition to superior cooling and performance, Sapphire has also implemented Dual BIOS on the Tri-X models, ensuring that the cards boot and deliver maximum performance in systems with both UEFI and legacy BIOS implementations.

Sapphire Tri-X models are in production now and will be available from Sapphire’s usual etail and retail partners. Retail products will also include specially packaged models with a promotion for a free copy of the Battlefield 4 game.

Tags: AMD, Radeon, Hawaii, GCN, Sapphire


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