The Video Card
Video cards now are more than just an ugly colored PCB, GPU, a cheap flimsy enclosure, some fans and the output ports. Video cards have become works of art and not only does the GPU do the work, the enclosure itself does tons as well. So let’s check this one out.
To start out with, towards the front of the card, close to the output ports, you can see the “LED MODE SWITCH” and the “V BIOS SWITCH”.
The red LED Mode Switch on this card allows you to change the LED lights on the card, the color, add a little breathing effect, temperature effect and all together turn off the lighting on the “SAPPHIRE” logo. I will show you later in the review how this works. So what does the “V BIOS SWITCH” do?
The V BIOS Switch, the little almost hidden switch circled in red above, allows you to change from one of the two onboard BIOS’ or firmware on the card. This is great for overclocking profiles. On one BIOS you might have your new super high overclock and on the other, you might have the stock speeds. This will come in handy in case you get a little too loose setting the voltages and/or frequencies leaving your card totally helpless in a black screen, BSOD or one of the other friendly situations overclocking can leave you on. Switching back to the stock V BIOS options, you can recover right where you left off on that overclock without having to start from square one.
Moving on to the rear of the card, we find the 8-Pin PCI-Express connection.
Since this card only requires 175Watts to operate, even overclock, yes a single one. The card requires 175Watts and the 8Pin PCI-E can only provide 150Watts but the PCI-e slot (2.0 or 3.0) itself provides an additional 75Watts. This means you have an additional 50Watts to overclock with, use it wisely. Here we can also see a portion of the cards heatsink fins, which is also part of Sapphire NITRO Free Flow design.
Turning the card around a little more, we reach the bottom of the card.
The bottom of the card is pretty plain, we find the PCI-e connector itself but seemingly attached to it, we find the heatpipes. These two 10mm heatpipes help keep the memory and GPU nice and cool.
The backside of the card has an aluminum backplate to keep this beast cool.
The back of the card is also a part of the Free Flow design Sapphire implemented helping to keep the card as cool as it can be.
This animation shows you how Sapphire’s NITRO Free Flow design helps to keep the card cool, sucking cool air in through the fans, pushing hot air upwards and through the back as well. The exhausting air out of the rear of the card is not a new idea, its been around for sometime but the vents on the backplate that help push hot air out is new. Since heat rises, it allows the heat to be pushed upwards towards either the rear fan that most cases have exhausting air but also in the chances that your case has fans on the top of the case further exhausting hot air.
Here we can see those 2 fans that are in charge of pushing in that cool air. These fans are 95mm, these fans ontop of being ultra quiet implementing the Zero DB Cooling technology but also employ the Quick Connect system as well. The Quick Connect technology allows you to easily replace a single fan in the off chance that a fan dies, so that you don’t have to waste time returning the entire card, just for a dead fan.
I have gone over a lot on this first page, but there is a lot more that I will go over in the coming pages. Let’s see now how to install the card.