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Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X
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by Rob Williams on November 9, 2009 in AMD-Based GPU

It’s no secret that the Radeon HD 5870 is the fastest GPU on the planet, but what do you get when you take it, toss in a more robust cooler, quieter operation, higher clock speeds and not one, but two free games? You get the Vapor-X, from Sapphire. Despite all that it packs in above the reference version, it modestly carries just a $20 premium.

Call of Duty: World at War

The Call of Duty series is one that needs no introduction. Although only six years old, CoD has already become a stature where both single-player and multi-player first-person shooters are concerned. From the series’ inception, each game has delivered stellar gameplay that totally engrosses you, thanks in part to creative levels, smart AI and realistic graphics.

World at War is officially the 5th game in the series, and while some hardcore fans claim that Treyarch is simply unable to deliver as high caliber a game as Infinity Ward, the title does do well to hold everyone over until Modern Warfare 2 hits (November 10, 2009). One perk is that World at War focuses on battles not exhausted in other war games, which helps to keep things fresh.

Manual Run-through: The level chosen for our testing is “Relentless”, one that depicts the Battle of Peleliu, which has American soldiers advance to capture an airstrip from the Japanese. The level is both exciting to play and incredibly hard on your graphics hardware, making it a perfect choice for our testing.

Except where the dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 is concerned, the HD 5870 is the undeniable champion, with the Vapor-X boosting the performance up a smidgen overall compared to the reference card.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
22
61.988
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire Vapor-X)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
27
50.927
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
29
49.698
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
24
41.563
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
22
39.187
ATI HD 4890 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
21
42.778
ATI HD 4870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Normal Detail, 0xAA
23
42.097
ATI HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Normal Detail, 0xAA
19
40.066
NVIDIA GTX 260 896MB (XFX)
2560×1600 – Normal Detail, 0xAA
20
38.685
NVIDIA GTX 250 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Normal Detail, 0xAA
19
37.054
ATI HD 4770 512MB (Gigabyte)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA
19
36.639

As gorgeous as World at War may be, it runs absolutely flawlessly at our maxed settings with 4x anti-aliasing. Aside from the GTX 295, the HD 5870 Vapor-X is the first card we’ve tested to break the 50FPS barrier, although the reference-clocked version comes incredibly close.


  • john

    The overclocking section is ridiculous, why do you use third party software for overclocking nvidia cards, and stock software for ati. The bias is so blatant.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      NVIDIA doesn’t have overclocking capabilities inside of its driver, hence the reason of using a third-party solution. We stuck to what was simplest. Today (this review is three years old), we’d opt to use third-party solutions for AMD as well, such as Sapphire’s TriXX. Overclocking isn’t a major focus of our reviews, however.

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