Sapphire flexes custom 7-series Radeons


— 12:55 AM on June 9, 2012

Computex — Sapphire had a little bit of everything on display at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan this year. The most interesting products we saw belonged to the company's line of Radeon graphics cards. At the top of the line, the Radeon HD 7970 Vapor-X pairs a new vapor-chamber cooler with the ability to boost the core clock to 1100MHz with the touch of a button. An eight-phase power solution feeds the GPU, which sits atop a 12-layer circuit board populated by fancy electrical components and a whopping 6GB of memory.

The Vapor-X won't be cheap, naturally. For those with shallower pockets, there's this guy:

The less exotic Radeon HD 7950 FleX Dual-X features a mere 3GB of RAM (did I just write that?), but it has a special trick up its sleeve. The card boasts an integrated DisplayPort adapter, allowing it to power three-screen Eyefinity configurations via its HDMI and dual DVI outputs—no external DP adapter required. A pair of DisplayPort outs are included, as well, allowing the card to fuel five-screen arrays without auxiliary adapters. To speed the rendering of all those extra pixels, the FleX has its GPU clocked at 860MHz, a 60MHz boost over the GPU's stock speed.

Anyone looking to build a game-worthy box for the living room should appreciate Sapphire's passively cooled Radeon HD 7770, which manages to keep its gigahertz GPU cool without the aid of fans. The dual-slot heatsink is massive but completely silent, and a custom circuit board was needed to accommodate it. The underlying graphics chip has enough horsepower to play the latest games at the 1080p resolution typical of big-screen TVs, making this card a good candidate for home-theater PCs.

Sapphire's professional-grade FirePro graphics cards won't appeal to gamers, but one of them powered a rather impressive display wall. Using a single card paired with a stack of the company's Vid-2X display expanders, Sapphire was able to do this:

Take that, Eyefinity. The dozen-screen array was a sight to behold, especially since each one of the screens ran at 1080p, producing a total resolution of 6480x3840.

   
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