Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290 Tri-X OC Review
Under the hood
The cooler which fits the video card consists of a solid copper base with vapor chamber technology, the heat being drained towards the aluminum fins by 5 heatpipes (one 10mm, two 8mm and two 6mm). Sapphire has used three 85mm fans for cooling, the disadvantage compared to the Tri-X non-Vapor-X model is that the card occupies now 2.5 slots, this way multi-card configurations are quite difficult to arrange. The Sapphire logo on the cooler is illuminated in three different colors depending on GPU temperature: blue (0-60 degrees C), yellow (60-80 degrees C) or red (over 80 degrees C).
The VRM powering the GPU is cooled by a separate aluminum radiator and has 6 phases, each composed of polymeric and ceramic capacitors, a ferrite coil, IOR 5335M integrated Driver MOS (the PCB is designed for the 60A model, but unfortunately they are not used) driven by a controller produced also by International Rectifier. The VRM for GDDR5 memory has just one phase composed by three metal transistor, ferrite coil, ceramic, tantalum and polymer capacitors. The last important VRM present on this graphic card is intended for the PLL voltage consisting of an integrated Dr. MOS, polymer, ceramic and tantalum capacitors and a ferrite coil.
We can see that the coils are shaped with grooves for efficient heat dissipation, while the VGA card requires two PCI-Express 8-pin power connectors for operation. At the top of the card we can find an elevated portion of the PCB designed to make contact with the cooling system. This way, the heat stored in the PCB can be eliminated, the thermal aspect being extremely important, especially with a GPU so power hungry as Hawaii.