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Sapphire R9-290X Tri-X “Sapphire Takes a Shot at Cooling the Monster”

A Closer Look at the Sapphire Radeon R9-290X Tri-X

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X1 Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X2

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The packaging is very much like other Sapphire cards you see on the market with a robotic entity on the cover and the bottom showing some key spec bubbles .

The rear has a few short descriptions on the key features to help show what the card offers.

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X5

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Here we see the accessory pack which is quite good with power adapters for both connections, a HDMI cable and all documentation/CD included. I do like that they include a HDMI cable as so many manufacturers skimp on small value added items like these.


Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X3 Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X4

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The Card as you see here has a massive triple fan cooler which is the “Tri-X” design from Sapphire and resembled in color and design the TOXIC cooler we saw on the 280X.

The PCB itself appears to be a reference unit.


Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X6

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The display connectivity is same as reference sporting:

  • 2x DVI (Not Analog compatible)
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x Displayport

This connector array is all digital and the DVI ports cannot be adapted with a DVI>VGA adapter so be warned, then again if your buying a 650 dollar card I really hope it’s not being connected via DSUB anyways. but if for some reason you did find the need there are displayport to VGA or HDMI to VGA adapters and just for giggles I tested an HP branded HDMI>VGA adapter and it did in fact work.


Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X8 Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X9

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Here following the reference theme the Tri-X model uses a 6Pin/8Pin arrangement to feed the card.

At the board edge you will notice the massive cooler and shroud overhangs the PCB by over an inch to give even more cooling surface area for the cooler, so keep in mind that this is one pretty long card 305mm or just ever so slightly over 12″ some chassis may have a tough time fitting. also do keep in mind that the cooler is stated as 2.2 slot width so it is just over dual sot which means these cards cannot be run right next to each other so if planning a multi card config plan accordingly. 


Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X10 Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X11

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Here you can see the cooler/plate combo disconnected from the card and on its own, The main GPU cooling plate is a copper model which is fixed to some seriously large heatpipes feeding the heat directly to the fin array, and the main Aluminum plate of the cooler works as a cooler for the board components such as memory and VRM while also working as a stiffening brace for the PCB itself.

Looking at the PCB you can see it is 100% reference design which is a good thing as normally reference designs are rock solid and I like this because it gives me a good even comparison on what kind of benefit the Tri-X Cooler gives over the reference cooler design since thermal properties of two reference boards should be similar.


Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X12 Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X13 Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X14

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The memory of the Tri-X model is Hynix model H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C which is quite capable memory chip as Ive seen it used on various Nvidia model cards and with a good memory controller and power can run in the area of 7GHz+.

The VRM like the reference model uses good quality inductors and superfet metal cased mosfet components for better thermal dissipation over plastic potted components.

Lastly we look at where the magic happen with the Hawaii GPU which as you can see on one pretty big GPU Die.


Review Overview

Performance - 9.2
Value - 8
Quality - 9.5
Features - 9
Innovation - 9.2


Sapphire set out to fix a major issue and they not only fixed it but made it a better card by exceeding expectations!

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