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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.

World in Conflict: Soviet Assault

I admit that I’m not a huge fan of RTS titles, but World in Conflict intrigued me from the get go. After all, so many war-based games continue to follow the same story-lines we already know, and WiC was different. It counteracts the fall of the political and economic situation in the Soviet Union in the late 80’s, and instead provides a storyline that follows it as if the USSR had succeeded by proceeding with war in order to remain in power.

Many RTS games, with their advanced AI, tend to favor the CPU in order to deliver smooth gameplay, but WiC favors both the CPU and GPU, and the graphics prove it. Throughout the game’s missions, you’ll see gorgeous vistas and explore areas from deserts and snow-packed lands, to fields and cities. Overall, it’s a real visual treat for the eyes – especially since you’re able to zoom to the ground and see the action up-close.

Manual Run-through: The level we use for testing is the 7th campaign of the game, called Insurgents. Our saved game plants us towards the beginning of the mission with two squads of five, and two snipers. The run consists of bringing our men to action, and hovering the camera around throughout the duration. The entire run lasts between three and four minutes.

The performance shown above isn’t too much of a surprise given the ongoing theme, but surprisingly, the GTX 295 truly excels here, likely thanks to the fact that it has near 2GB worth of GDDR to deal with, as performance-wise, the HD 5870 should theoretically beat it.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA, 16xAF
40
55.819
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire Vapor-X)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA, 16xAF
35
48.59
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA, 16xAF
35
47.195
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 16xAF
34
49.514
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 16xAF
36
46.186
ATI HD 4890 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 16xAF
31
46.175
ATI HD 4870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 16xAF
28
40.660
NVIDIA GTX 260 896MB (XFX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 16xAF
23
39.365
ATI HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 16xAF
28
37.389
NVIDIA GTX 250 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA, 4xAF
24
32.453
ATI HD 4770 512MB (Gigabyte)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, 4xAA, 16xAF
22
31.561

In another first, the HD 5870 is the first single-GPU card to pass our grade at the game’s top settings with 4xAA. The GTX 295 managed 8xAA with an even higher average FPS, but that card still remains a poor choice at current time for various reasons (namely, the price, at $500).


  • 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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