INTRODUCTION:

The Radeon R9 280, not to be mistaken for the 280X, is AMD‘s latest graphics card to hail the R9 moniker. In reality, this card is the reincarnation of the Radeon HD 7950 of the yesteryear and with that said, we’re looking at the probably, last iteration of the said GPU in the form of the SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC Boost.

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This card features a 3GB VRAM with 1500MHz memory clock speed, a wide 384-bit GDDR5 bandwidth, and a 870MHz core clock speed that boosts up to 940MHz whenever it is needed or possible. Let us check it out, shall we?

FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS: CLICK HERE

Display Support supports up to 3 display monitor(s) without DisplayPort
4 x Maximum Display Monitor(s) support
Output 1 x HDMI (with 3D)
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x Dual-Link DVI-D
1 x Dual-Link DVI-I
GPU 870/Boost:940 MHz Core Clock
28 nm Chip
2048 x Stream Processors
Video Memory 3072 MB Size
384 -bit GDDR5
6000 MHz Effective
Dimension 262(L)X112(W)X34(H) mm Size.
2 x slot
Software Driver CD
SAPPHIRE TriXX Utility
Accessory CrossFire™ Bridge Interconnect Cable
8 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
HDMI 1.4a high speed 1.8 meter cable(Full Retail SKU only)

UNBOXING & BUNDLED ACCESSORIES:

The last time I used a SAPPHIRE card is when I still have my HD 7750. That said, I was surprised when I saw the new packaging from SAPPHIRE which is quite pleasing to the eye.

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The back is full of description, or should I say, words that describe on why you should buy this card. There are no specification sheets here though. SAPPHIRE might thought that user’s don’t want to read it anyway.

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Accessory-wise, the R9 280 from SAPPHIRE came with a plenty.  We’ve got the familiar software DVD, the quick installation guide, a SAPPHIRE case badge, CF connector, 2x Molex to 2x 6-pin PSU power connector, and a Meter long HDMI cable which is a refreshing thing to see from the usual things we used to see from the other manufacturers. Ehem.

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THE SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC BOOST:

Out of the box, the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 280 sure looks classy with its Two tone Black & Silver theme. Dimension-wise, the card is just around 10 Inches in length, and 4.5 Inches in width.

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With a Blue PCB, the back of the card is devoid of any wowing factor. That said, we wished SAPPHIRE added a back-plate or a side plate for rigidity.

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The R9 280 features Two CrossFire interface connections, just like what you will get with AMD’s HD 7900 Series of cards. With these, you could configure a system with Two or more R9 280s. Max is a QuadFire configuration anyway.

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Power is provided via Two 6-Pin power connectors. Each could input a maximum of 75W for the card so that’s 225W of total power in theory.

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Display wise, we have 2x DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a full sized Display Port. The card supports AMD’s Eyefinity Multi-Display technology.

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TEST SYSTEM / SPECIFICATIONS:

We have been selling stuffs here, so the usual test system of ours has been updated. As usual, to provide precise test results, the test systems will run on an updated copy of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1. The BIOS/UEFI, Chipset, and Video Card drivers of the test system will be updated too, as much as possible. No other silly forms of softwares should be running while the benchmarks are on going, unless it is needed, or stated. As for the gaming benchmarks alone, tests should include 720P, 1080p, and 1440p (2560×1440) resolution results if permitted by the games, and benchmarking tools, or if necessary. Games without benchmarking tools of their own will have the FPS recorded with FRAPS. Below are the test system’s specifications:

CPU Intel Core i5 4670K
MOTHERBOARD GIGABYTE Z87X-OC
CPU COOLER Cooler Master Seidon 120XL
MEMORY ADATA XPG V2 @2400MHz 16GB
GRAPHICS CARD SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC
INT. STORAGE Kingston SSDNow V+200 128GB
PSU Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
DISPLAY DELL S2340L 23″ IPS
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Updated)
SOUND CARD On board
EXT. STORAGE 2TB Western Digital My Passport
We would like to thank GIGABYTEWestern Digital, and ADATA for providing our test equipment for this review.

PERFORMANCE (SYNTHETIC/GPU COMPUTE):

3DMARK (2013) is a multi-platform benchmarking tool from FUTUREMARK, consisting of comprehensive tests that aims to gauge your gaming hardware; be it a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop PC.

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CINEBENCH R11.5 is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates the computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.

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CLBenchmark is an easy to use, no frills high performance compute benchmark. It compares the strengths and weaknesses of different hardware architectures such as CPUs, GPUs and APUs.

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RESULTS: Right out of the bat, the SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC proved to be a worthy successor to the HD 7950 when it comes to the GPU Compute performance tests; Even toppling the R9 280X at MAXON’s CINEBENCH OpenGL benchmarking tool.

PERFORMANCE (REAL WORLD):

Resident Evil 6, is a survival horror video game developed and published by CAPCOM. It’s one of my favorite PC games, mainly because I’m a fan of the series. It also has a built-in benchmarking tool to measure your PC’s performance. It’s only DirectX 9.0 compatible at the moment, though.

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Tomb Raider (2013) is the fifth game, and the reboot of the Tomb Raider series. It is developed by Crystal Dynamics, and published by Square-Enix. We disabled Tress FX for this benchmark.

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GRiD 2 is a racing video game developed and published by Codemasters and is the sequel to the award winning Race Driver: GRiD. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on May 2013.

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Company of Heroes 2 is a WWII based real-time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Sega for the Microsoft Windows platform. It is the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2006 game Company of Heroes.

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Battlefield 4 is EA and DICE’s latest first person shooter utilizing the all new Frostbite 3 game engine featuring better tessellation effects and destruction compared to its predecessor.

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Dota 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) video game developed by Valve and is the stand-alone sequel to the Warcraft III based Defense of the Ancients (DotA) mod.

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RESULTS: Gaming performance wise, The SAPPHIRE R9 280 displayed prowess over its smaller brother, the R9 270X. Do note however, that the R9 280 is trading blows with the GTX 760, a similarly priced product from the Green team. Nonetheless, the performance of the card satisfied us during our gaming sessions, even worthy to be used with games that supports 1440p without anti-aliasing, of course.

PERFORMANCE (OVERCLOCKING):

Overclocking the SAPPHIRE R9 280 is far fetch from my old HD 7950, despite sharing similarities. With an 850MHz default clock, I thought I will never go past, or beyon 1000MHz with stock voltages, but I was surprised since we got a 1100MHz core clock; A solid 250MHz increase. The memory frequency on the other hand just had a 100MHz increase but it’s all good anyway for a card that doesn’t require to exert much into the power delivery when overclocked.

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RESULTS: The overclocked SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC showed that when further overclocked, performance gains are still noticeable, as seen on our 3DMARK 2013 Fire Strike benchmark results, toppling off the baseline score with 12% increase in performance.

TEMPERATURE/POWER CONSUMPTION:

FurMark is a very intensive OpenGL benchmark that uses fur rendering algorithms to measure the performance of the graphics card. To record the GPU’s maximum temperatures, I will run Furmark’s Fur Rendering Burn-in Test, and let it run for 30 Minutes. As always, we try to keep the results consistent by keeping the ambient temperature checked at 27ºC. We also check to see how GPUs impacts power consumption. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken, and load data is taken 30 minutes while FurMark is running. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket.

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RESULTS: Temperature results are great if not the best, if compared to the cards that came before it. Idle temperature is top notch, and maximum load temperatures are even comparable to the R9 270X with a reference cooler. The card does this without exerting much noise so props for SAPPHIRE by introducing a good cooling solution withe R9 280.

Power consumption on the other hand is a mixed bag of results. But not bad though, as it bested the much more power efficient GTX 760 at full load by Watts.

VALUE & CONCLUSION:

The SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC is a faithful successor to the already successful Radeon HD 7950. It showed good performance across the benchmarks particularly at the GPU Compute side of things. Gaming wise, with a bump over the reference clocks first hand, it should be enough to let you play games at maximum settings. – Full HD. Should you want to play utilizing 2K WQHD Displays, you have to remember that you need to tone down some settings, including anti-aliasing on some of the hottest games of today including Battlefield 4. Same thing goes for the GTX 760 anyway.

Thermals are probably what the best this card is at, as we never saw it soar past the 70ºC mark; A far-cry to the temperatures of its bigger brother, the R9 280X. This is great, since you could really rely on it for extend periods of gaming. – Mining included.

With a modest 12, 900 Pesos SRP, the SAPPHIRE R9 280 DUAL-X OC is a card worthy to be on your list. It features good gaming performance, great thermals, cool bundled accessories, and is a worthy opponent against the offering from the Green team.

THE VERDICT

PROS:
  • OUT OF THE BOX PERFORMANCE
  • BUILD QUALITY
  • COOLING PERFORMANCE
  • BUNDLED ACCESORIES

CONS:
  • BLUE PCB

SILVER