Sapphire flexes custom 7-series Radeons

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 6480×3840.

Comments closed
    • Haemoo
    • 7 years ago

    Radeon HD 7950 FleX Dual-X

    Only 2 X’s, come on we can do better!
    Sapphire TOXIC X1900 XTX more like it.

    The motherload:
    XFX GeForce 7900 GTX XXX Edition

    • Rageypoo
    • 7 years ago

    Those monitors are a waste of space. Why buy that many displays with a fat ugly bezel when you could just pay someone to build u those specs?

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    I would certainly enjoy reading a review of that passive card whenever it becomes available.

    • StuG
    • 7 years ago

    7770 passive, nice!

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      For arm and leg, no doubt about it.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        The passive 7750 Sapphire makes is only like $15 more than their regular 7750. I’d pay a $15 premium for a silent card.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Why would you want to do an array like that instead of buying a projector?

      • Geo2160
      • 7 years ago

      Resolution of course.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Large screens like that are used for display purposes, you don’t sit three feet away from it, and even if you did you wouldn’t be able to see the whole screen.

        It has a ridiculous amount of bevel lines in it too, so it would only given an illusion of a full picture a decent distance away.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 7 years ago

          If Sapphire demonstrates that their FirePro graphics can drive twelve 23″ 1920×1080 displays, don’t you believe that it would also work if their customer used it with a dozen 55″ 1920×1080 displays?

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            All I could think of when you said that was the most amazing movie theatre ever

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 7 years ago

            I was thinking of a manufacturing plant DCS control console or a day-trader’s financial workstation.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            Exactly. [quote<]Sapphire's professional-grade FirePro graphics cards won't appeal to gamers[/quote<]Suggesting a projector as an alternative is to completely miss the point; it's like wondering why you would buy a pickup truck when a minivan can carry more people -- maybe you're interesting in transporting something other than people. And maybe you're interested in [url=http://dual-monitors.org/images/Multiple-Screen-Computer-Workstation-Desktop-Desk-and-Multi-Monitor-Display-Array-Console-Superpc.JPG<]displaying[/url<] a lot of [url=http://www.villagetronic.com/vtbook/pics/ibm_6_disp_r500w.jpg<]different[/url<] [url=http://videowalls.multi-screens.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Multi-Operator-Multiple-Monitor-LCD-Screen-Display-Array-Computer-System-Control-Room-Console-Super-PC-31.jpg<]things[/url<] [url=http://www.portalislc.com/img/applications.jpg<]simultaneously[/url<], not one big image.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Firepro graphics cards are used for directcompute and similar things. Insinuating that a workstation level graphics card is made to drive a lot of displays completely misses the point.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Firepro graphics cards are used for directcompute and similar things.[/quote<]No, the AMD graphics cards for DirectCompute are branded as [url=http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/pages/firestream-peak-performance-2010june23.aspx<]FireStream™[/url<] And I'm not "insinuating" anything. The FirePro line has for many years been used in [url=http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/WORKSTATION/GRAPHICS/APPLICATIONS/Pages/applications.aspx<]professional workstation level[/url<] graphics. That's what it's for. (And look at the illustrations AMD uses -- multi-monitor everywhere).

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yuh?

            Multimonitor is different then having a completely unusable array of 12 monitors in front of you because it’s so big you can’t see the whole thing.

            You’d either be sitting too far away for the detail to matter or too close to make use of most of the monitors.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            The point of our little dispute is that a projector is a bad alternative to what this videocard is intended to be used for. Multiple hi-res screens, each providing different information, can’t be duplicated by any common projector, even setting aside how unsuited a projector is for the cramped workspaces and office lighting environment a workstation is likely to find itself in.

            Of course you’re absolute right: this particular implementation is overkill — nobody is likely to put a dozen screens together like this (though half a dozen is certainly common enough). But this is an intentionally excessive tradeshow demo intended to show off capabilities and catch the eyes of show-goers, not be a boring but practical setup. And by the way, the retail packages don’t include the booth babes either.

            • dpaus
            • 7 years ago

            If anyone’s actually interested in a real-world example….. My firm produces software for Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs); the big rooms where city officials gather to actr as a central coordinating point for a disaster situation (the otherwise horrible movie ‘Volcano’ has a depiction of one). We use FirePro cards to drive multiple 60″ (or larger, if their budget can support it) 1080p displays, arranged in a grid, each of which shows a dynamic view of some aspect of the constantly-evolving situation. A single projector would not work; we typically place three to six 1080p displays in the grid (although we often also add a single high-lumen projector to provide a larger, ‘summary’ display for elected officials and members of the press).

            Bezels aren’t an issue in this application; each screen is showing a dedicated display (although they are frequently arranged so that related displays are adjacent to each other). What’s important is the ability to provide multiple, simultaneous, dynamic, high-resolutions displays affordably.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            That starts edging ultimately into a scenario of having multiple displays functioning as stand alone devices. You could just use multiple cheaper graphics cards to achieve the same thing affordably ($20 graphics card can drive three or so displays of non-3d information), but this is starting to edge off what I was originally referencing.

            The picture in the front article is of a single image that is extended across an array of 12 side by side displays. Perhaps I misunderstood what was being shown of here, but it certainly looks like it’s just a big version of eyefinity (which is seen as one big monitor).

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            You’re looking at it academic point of view and I’m looking at it from a real world usability scenario, which includes comparing it to other solutions.

            I don’t think I was disputing how over the top this is, rather that there are other better solutions that can do this either from a media presentation (projector) perspective or cheaper such as with multiple cheap video cards. One doesn’t have bezels and both are cheaper.

            If someone wants 12 screens, then go with it, but there are better ways to do this then with a ridiculously expensive workstation graphics card.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            If you look at this sheering from the amount of displays PoV, you could simply add more low end graphics cards to a system and get the same result.

            Unless what they plan to do is fluid rendering on a massive billboard, I don’t think this serves a purpose…

            • GTVic
            • 7 years ago

            Even an actual real world example doesn’t convince you. Which planet are you from?

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            You shouldn’t make replies using a different account, especially when you’re replying to something that was dated before the information you’re referencing was posted.

        • Ifalna
        • 7 years ago

        Sure but these bezels would annoy me.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      So that you can display more pixels in the same amount of space. This allows you to fit more information per square inch (or square foot, I should say) than most projectors. Granted, the costs are much higher, but I highly doubt that anyone who needs to display that much information to their clients would care about the cost of a dozen 24″ panels and a relatively inexpensive system to power it all, not to mention the fact that even average-quality monitors will look much better in more scenarios than a lot of projectors, whose images and contrast ratios get washed out by light far too easily.

      In other words,

      Resolution, of course.

        • internetsandman
        • 7 years ago

        So using more words to reiterate the same point that Geo2160 made in order to maybe better get the point across gets downvotes? =(

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Geo left what he said open to interpretation. You attempted to interpret resolution (wrongly) for people instead of letting them draw their own conclusions.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I think you miss the whole distance portion of this… Where you aren’t going to be sitting 3 feet from a screen of this size. I’m all about PPI, but you’d be sitting too far away to get anything meaningful out of this.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          It’s not “a” screen, it’s a set of screens, and you’re only looking at any one of them at any one time. Sure, this particular implementation is overkill, but it’s proof of capabilities at a tradeshow, not an actual example of usage.

    • can-a-tuna
    • 7 years ago

    Impressive display array.

      • vargis14
      • 7 years ago

      Fancy airport flight display for one thing…could be a lot of commercial uses …Even a bar with 12 football games on all 4 walls 🙂
      darn k400 keyboard rocks but battery is dying 🙂 kept switch on too much

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