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Tri-X Just Got Better 03/14/2014
An improved version of the Tri-X cooler. Most people would say it's impossible, but Sapphire found a way.
1 hour of Unigine Heaven @ 1080p max settings has me at 65C with the stock fan profile -- 1800 RPM. Running the fan at 30% speed (1500 RPM) puts me at 72C.
By comparison, my EVGA ACX 770 ran at 75C and my ASUS 280x DCII at 74C, with the same settings and much higher (noisier!) fan profiles above 1600 RPM.
The long and short of it is, this is the best 280x cooler on the market by a significant amount. I can safely run the fan at the LOWEST speed setting for both idle, and gaming. That's simply unheard of.
Stock clocks are 1100/1500, so the artifacting issues plaguing other cards which run at 1600 MHz RAM won't be a problem here.
The only temperatures I can monitor with this card is the GPU Core temperature. VRM/VRAM, everything else, can't be seen. This makes me worried. I physically inspected the cooler to make sure the circuitry was receiving proper cooling and it all seems to be mounted under the vapor block, so I assume everything is okay. I'm hoping new versions of GPU-Z (and others) will include an update to fix this, if it's not Sapphire's fault. Otherwise hopefully Trixxx will show the other temperatures. I'm not hopeful, though.
If I run into problems down the road with overheating, I'm taking the issue up with Sapphire.
Minimum fan speed is 1400 RPM, about 20%. That's pretty high for idle settings.
My case is a Silent H440 with all fans at 800 RPM, and the Vapor-X remains inaudible among my other fans up to about 40%, 2000 RPM.
The fans' RPM go insanely high, but not low enough! C'mon Sapphire.
The Tri-X cooler on this card was originally popularized by the R9 290 and 290x, being the best cooler on the market for these cards, even beating the DCII among others.
It looks like Sapphire took that Tri-X cooler, put a vapor cooler under it, and put it onto a 280x. The results are beyond spectacular.
I compared the PCB of this card to other 280x's on the market (including all of Sapphire's) and can't find anything that matches it, so it seems to be a brand new design from Sapphire.
I don't know if that's good or bad yet...
If you're unsure how fast the 280x is, there are *plenty* of benchmarks around the internet so I won't bore you here.
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