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Sapphire vapor-x 7950... Some specific questions

Poll Results: Do you think it's still worth to buy the vapor-x 7950 which apparently has lots of issues and complaints like voltage lock, poor vrm cooling. clock flickering etc instead of the cheaper dual-x 7950?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 18% of voters (2)
    No. Just get the dual-x 7950.
  • 54% of voters (6)
    Yes. Because the complaint regarding voltage lock is not true. Mine is voltage unlocked without any bios flashing.
  • 18% of voters (2)
    Yes. Because the complaint regarding poor vrm cooling is not true, the cooling is not as bad as it's claimed in some places.
  • 36% of voters (4)
    Yes. Because my core clock doesn't flicker. With power limit at 20% It remains at 950 MHz constantly when under load
11 Total Votes  
post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
We know that lots of rumors and 'facts' are floating around regarding the titular card regarding 1)Is it voltage unlocked 2) its poor quality vrm cooling method 3) It's PCB(7970 or custom) etc. I've invested around 10-12 hours on it inspecting these claims, gone through lots of forums where members are absolutely frustrated with their vapor-x 7950 like techpowerup, hardforum, sapphireforum etc : I've gone through OCN's thread "7950 Vapor X Voltage Locked?" and have managed to read first 30 of the 100 pages it has. And another thread comparing dual-x and vapor-x 7950( the poll result was 24 votes for each last time I checked!). I\m doing these simply because I'm planning to buy a 7950. Anyway so after going through all of these I want to ask some questions that I need precise answer of. My request is: Please answer questions based on solid facts, if possible with reliable links. Answer objectively not subjectively. and PLEASE do not answer anything based on your speculation or what you guess or your feeling. Why? Because though speculations and personal feelings are important in judging something, I've already gathered lots of it in my 10-12 hours investment in this topic and bringing in that kind of answer will only confuse me more. You don't have to answer every question. Only answer what you are sure about and PLEASE write the question number at the start of your answer. Lol no I don't sound to be a teacher. I'm asking u to do all these because informations regarding the titular card are already too diverse and confusing and so I've arranged my questions in a chronological and thoughtful way as you'll see below. So answering them precisely will help me tremendously and probably others too who are confused about the card too. (Only Question 10 and the poll are supposed to be subjective and speculative) Thank you for getting my point. smile.gif

The specific card I need answer about: (link 1): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202003&Tpk=sapphire%20vapor-x%207950&IsVirtualParent=1

1. is the specific card I've given link of voltage unlocked?

2. Is it true that some of the vapor-x 7950 were voltage unlocked and some were not and it's more of a gamble to buy and find out?

3. Regarding vrm temperature issue: some people seem to be absolutely furious regarding how poorly the vrm is cooled in vapor-x 7950. Please follow the link:(link 2) http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?284714-Sapphire-HD7950-3GB-Vapor-X-Review

It will be really helpful for me if u read the full review I linked before answering any further questions.It'll take about 10 minutes. In case you haven't I'm quoting from there "The vrm reaching 120 C in stock and 140 under load"

Is the issue sorted out now by some OFFICIAL bios update??

4. If you've read everything of the thread I've given link of you can see the reviewer also claims how the video card crashes when more than 1200-1300 MB vram is used. According to him this was due to poor voltage regulation. According to him the problem occurs at 1.5 V in vram(It's probably the stock voltage on one of the two default BIOS that comes with the card) and gets solved when the memory voltage is increased to 1.6 volt. As you can see he wrote to Sapphire regarding it and apparently they were pretty unhelpful. So is this problem sorted out by some kind of official bios update or anything?

Now there's another link(link 3): http://www.overclock.net/t/1358103/attention-all-sapphire-vapor-x-7950-owners

Here as you can see a member named glina completely refuting the previous claims made regarding 120-140 vrm temerature. Glina claims that guy had a faulty card and making faulty claims. Whatever is true we're sure there were lots of other people in those same threads who seemed to have issues with this card that were to be addressed.

5. Please follow the link:(link 4): http://www.sapphireforum.com/showthread.php?31006-Sapphire-7950-vapor-x-boost-problem-and-more

Kindly read the first 3 pages of the thread. It's incredible to see how much frustrated people actually are with this card where it's supposed to be a modified and improved version of the vanilla 7950. Anyway in the 2nd page of that thread you see a member named melodystyle2003 posted pictures that his card's core clock is stuck at 850 MHz(instead of 950) under full load. In the 3rd page of the same thread another member verifies the fact how his card gets stuck at 850 MHz. I'm quoting him;
Goodness,

As they say, misery loves company. The OP describes my 7950 problems exactly to the letter. I bought 2 of these for xfire and even with power limit up to **20 on MSI afterburner/Trixx the card will downclock to 850. This happens both in benchmarks and games. And yes, the problem I'm describing is when they are ran as singles. Quite a frustrating issue considering the amount of money we fork out for these cards.

So my question is: Is the problem regarding core clock hanging at 850 MHz even at 20% power limit sorted out by now??

6. Another one of these core clock related problem: (link 5) http://www.thinkdigit.com/forum/graphic-cards/165406-hd7950-vapor-x-boost-doesnt-work.html

In the 6th post of that thread you can see a guy linked a bios update that Sapphire updated on their facebook page. It's really weird. Because If it's an official update as it says then why would it only appear in fb and not in the Sapphire website(I haven't found anything like that in their website.)? And if it's official isn't it or an improved version of it already included in the vapor-x 7950 present in the market at present because that post was made on 28 October 2012 and its June 2013 now. You can download that file linked there and see what it actually is.
6. (link 6): http://www.sapphireforum.com/archive/index.php?t-29785.html

In the above link a member named Sapphire_Ben claimed(judging by his other posts in different threadshe probably is a Sapphire employee), the voltage unlock problem is not due to the card being voltage locked but due to a feature called Load line. I'm quoting him:

This not actually a "lock" but it is and AMD feature called Load Line.

Load Line is the protection mechanism to ensure the stability of the gpu from dramatic voltage increase.

The next version of TriXX (4.6.0) will disable Load Line and allow voltage changes on cards with Load Line enabled


So was the load line problem or whatever solved in that Trixx version and made every voltage locked vapor-x 7950 voltage unlocked?

7. The card I linked in link 1, What PCB does it use 7970 PCB, reference 7950 PCB or a custom PCB? Is there really any significance if a 7950 uses a 7970 PCB? Lots of people talk about it and how some of the older vapor-x 7950 used 7970 PCB and their greatness and blah blah...

8. The card I linked in link 1, what memory does it use, Hynix or Elpida?

9. Is Hynix RAM better than Elpida at same clock speed? The common consensus is Hynix is better. I've read it in so many places I don't find any need to give any link of it. But lot of high-end cards seem to be doing quite well with Elpida. They are overclocking well too. Even the BEST 7950 in the market HIS Iceq X2 7950 uses Elpida memory and reviewers who reviewed it(in guru3d or techpowerup) didn't seem to have any problem with it. So if you think one is better than the other please attach some proof with (We can open another big disussion if HIS Iceq X2 7950 really the best 7950 out there but as far as I've read in the reviews and benchmarks it's the best with the most quiet cooling, efficient temp control, without any complaint of voltage lock, great performance etc. The only reason I'm not gonna buy it is its 329$ in newegg now and also out of stock. If it were under 300$ I'd have bought it instead of writing this huge post and asking all these questions!!)

10.This question is speculative and subjective. If there are so many questions and rumors and confusions regarding this card why should I(or anyone) buy it when there is the dual-x or flex version available for 5$ less?? For me these are the reasons:

I. It has got great reviews by reliable reviewers like techpowerup (link 7):http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7950_Vapor-X/33.html

II. It has theoretically got great overclocking potential. To quote from the last link:

Max Core Max Memory
Sapphire HD 7950 Vapor-X 1135 MHz 1635 MHz
Sapphire HD 7950 Flex 1025 MHz 1865 MHz
MSI HD 7950 TF III 1020 MHz 1650 MHz
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+ 1075 MHz 1775 MHz
AMD HD 7950 1085 MHz 1785 MHz

And that 1135 Mhz is probably at stock voltage as nothing relating to voltage was mentioned there.

III. Sapphire claims it to be the best 7950 of the bunch of 7950s they have. It's supposed to be built for performance.


Thank you for your time. Waiting for answers...
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post #2 of 25
I only got time to answer some of you questions because of work.

I got a Vapor-x 7950 card and i love it for the following reasons:

I run it at 1130 mhz core and 1700 mhz ram 24/7 with 1,231 volt core(around 1,160 volt after v-drop) and 1,6 volt to the memory. The memory is standard getting 1,5 volt on my card, but when i use the non boost bios and Trixx 4.4 modded version i can change memory voltage.
Core voltage can also be adjusted as long i use the non boost bios.
The card is perfectly stable for 1200 mhz core also with 1,285 volt before drop to around 1,22 volt.

I run the card in a closed lian-li pc-71 case with my 2500k aircooled at 4,7 ghz with thermalright ultra 120 cooler with push/pull fans.
I have a good airflow inside the case, but there is 0 fans in the top of my case and stil the maksimum vrm at 100% load benchmarking and gaming is around 71-72 degress with gpu fan around 50%. I do not get how people get so high VRM temps as written around.

Here you can se my grapich score at 1200/1700 i 3dmark11: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/6684210
post #3 of 25
No, it's not voltage locked and doesn't seem to have been in quite some time now.

The VRM cooling is good, mine never get much greater than the core temp. (70-80c)

The boost isn't really an issue, even though this card has pretty big vdroop, but again, that isn't that big of a problem. I run 1150Mhz 100% stable. 1200Mhz benching stable.

As for the PCB, it has very beefy VRM design, and mine has 2x 6+2 PCI-E connectors. Not sure if it's based on 7970 PCB, but it's definitely custom and you won't find a full water block for it.
post #4 of 25
No, it's not voltage locked and there's no gamble - there are 2 bioses on the card and one of them is unlocked.
No, the VRM cooling problem has been resolved by Sapphire.
No, there are no clock speed issues with power limit @ +20%.

There's also no discernible difference between Hynix and Elpida at same clocks. Hynix usually O/C better.

In the link you have provided:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202003&Tpk=sapphire%20vapor-x%207950&IsVirtualParent=1
the price is $305 - $20 mail in rebate = $285. Awesome. And in stock.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
glina wrote:
Quote:
No, it's not voltage locked and there's no gamble - there are 2 bioses on the card and one of them is unlocked.
No, the VRM cooling problem has been resolved by Sapphire.
No, there are no clock speed issues with power limit @ +20%.

There's also no discernible difference between Hynix and Elpida at same clocks. Hynix usually O/C better.

@glina, 1. Which bios is voltage unlocked, 850 MHz one or 950 MHz one? Also which bios has unlocked memory voltage?

2. What are the stock core and memory voltage in each of the BIOS??

3. How is the vrm cooling prob solved? If it's hardware-wise solution then they must have changed the design of the card if it's software wise then they have updated the bios. If it's the later then do the updated bios come installed with the vapor-x 7950s currently present in the market(specifically the one I linked)?

4. So you think the guys who had clock speed issues with 20% power limit just had faulty cards?

5. You think all other complaints about the card that I mentioned and linked to in my first post are all due to just some unfortunate people having faulty cards and the number of unfortunates are too low(Lol...) to actually get worried about??

Onkawow wrote
Quote:
I run it at 1130 mhz core and 1700 mhz ram 24/7 with 1,231 volt core(around 1,160 volt after v-drop) and 1,6 volt to the memory. The memory is standard getting 1,5 volt on my card, but when i use the non boost bios and Trixx 4.4 modded version i can change memory voltage.
Core voltage can also be adjusted as long i use the non boost bios.
The card is perfectly stable for 1200 mhz core also with 1,285 volt before drop to around 1,22 volt.

@Onkawow, I'm not clear. U mean the card is stable under load with memory voltage 1.5 V(it's stock voltage right?) but if u OC at 1700 MHz u need 1.6 volt to the memory?

Also what's the stock voltage of the card in each BIOS? If the card has unlocked memory voltage then why do u have to use a modded Trixx version to do it? An update and official Sapphire version should do it.

Fulvin wrote:
Quote:
No, it's not voltage locked and doesn't seem to have been in quite some time now.

The VRM cooling is good, mine never get much greater than the core temp. (70-80c)

The boost isn't really an issue, even though this card has pretty big vdroop, but again, that isn't that big of a problem. I run 1150Mhz 100% stable. 1200Mhz benching stable.

As for the PCB, it has very beefy VRM design, and mine has 2x 6+2 PCI-E connectors. Not sure if it's based on 7970 PCB, but it's definitely custom and you won't find a full water block for it.

@Fulvin, you run at 1200 MHz at stock voltage? And have you tested your memory temp while playing games or also when using stress testing softwares like furmark and OCCT?

@Everyone, What more am I actually getting by buying the vapor-x version instead of dual-x one?
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post #6 of 25
1150Mhz requires 1250mV, although I could take it lower if I wanted, but I haven't played around with it too much. 1200Mhz takes 1250mV to stabilize.

Keep in mind that this can vary greatly from card to card. Mine for example has pretty high ASIC quality and doesn't scale well with voltage, which is why my card hits the wall at 1200Mhz no matter how much volts I feed it.
Quote:
@Everyone, What more am I actually getting by buying the vapor-x version instead of dual-x one?
Not sure where I read this, but Dual-X appears to have lower quality PCB than the Vapor-X for example. Missing power phases etc. Maybe someone can confirm this to you.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Driimit View Post

glina wrote:
@glina, 1. Which bios is voltage unlocked, 850 MHz one or 950 MHz one? Also which bios has unlocked memory voltage?

2. What are the stock core and memory voltage in each of the BIOS??

3. How is the vrm cooling prob solved? If it's hardware-wise solution then they must have changed the design of the card if it's software wise then they have updated the bios. If it's the later then do the updated bios come installed with the vapor-x 7950s currently present in the market(specifically the one I linked)?

4. So you think the guys who had clock speed issues with 20% power limit just had faulty cards?

5. You think all other complaints about the card that I mentioned and linked to in my first post are all due to just some unfortunate people having faulty cards and the number of unfortunates are too low(Lol...) to actually get worried about??
@Everyone, What more am I actually getting by buying the vapor-x version instead of dual-x one?

The non-boost BIOS (850MHz) is unlocked on mine.
My vcore is 1.087V and vmem is 1.5V on BIOS2, but mine is an older revision (8+6 pin) and I have a very leaky chip (high power consumption) and 89% ASIC score. Also this high power consumption was the reason for hot running VRMs on some cards.
Newer cards come typically with 1.25V and low leakage chips. ASIC around ~60% and this is GOOD for power consumption and temperatures (quiet running cards)., but you don't have a lot of headroom for voltage adjustment. There are now ways around it (modified BIOSes) which will allow you to go above the default maximum of 1.3V.

There's a lot of false information about the ASIC quality thing. I can actually prove that higher asic goes together with higher leakage in Vapor-X, contrary to what is comon belief.

Another problem with VRM temps was a wrong readout in some older BIOS revisions, the reported temp was 20C above real temp. This was resolved with a BIOS update sometime in autumn 2012.

Also some BIOSes indeed had problem with the power limit setting. This is all unlikely to happen in a recently manufactured card with the newest BIOS.

All this being said, there is no everyday advantage of Vapor-X over Dual-X.
With Vapor-X you get higher quality component (8 power phases instead of 6), higher quality coils (less chance of coil whine, although it still may happen), better monitoring (vrm temperature) and memory voltage control with modified Trixx. Nothing that will make a real difference in an everyday gaming experience.
post #8 of 25
^^You've got it backwards. High ASIC means low leakage, which translates to lower power consumption.

For example, AMD uses high ASIC cores on their 7990's because they have low leakage and thus lower power consumption.
Quote:
can actually prove that higher asic goes together with higher leakage in Vapor-X, contrary to what is comon belief.
Can you provide any proof of this?
Edited by Fulvin - 6/7/13 at 9:20am
post #9 of 25
If you can get the version 2 of the Dual-X, its probably a safe bet. I have an older Vapor-X and its great, but the cooling is NOT good for VRMs, and its only a bit above average for the core.

V3 Dual-X has its own set of flaws, so then its probably best to just get the Vapor-X

@Fulvin, no proof of it, but I have a 86.8% ASIC, and moderate voltage droop under load, high temps, high power usage [versus other cards at same voltages/clocks and lower voltages], and the card can do 1200 @ 1.137v. So, its definitely an oddball. Not sure if its just my card though.
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
@glina I asked the core and mem voltage on both of ur bios as u can see in my q. U answered about ur BIOS 2 only(which is boost bios?). Hopefully u'll answer fully in ur next post. Thanks anyway your information were helpful.

And the vapor-x 7950 that's currently for sale in newegg also has one 8 pin and one 6 pin connection.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202003&Tpk=sapphire%20vapor-x%207950&IsVirtualParent=1
U said u have an old version with 8+6 pin. So I wonder if the version in newegg is also the older version actually. If everything related to it is old then I'm gonna have some tough time managing the card for sure!! Anyway what are the other power supply combination of vapor-x 7950?

@Derpinheimer, I guess u mean the 3L edition by 3rd version. Anyway there are no major advantages in the 2L version over the 3L version. vrm temp sensor , mem voltage unlock are two. Anything else? Hynix vs Elpida stuff? I guess they are all the same more or less with indiscernible difference.

One good thing about 3L is it does look a lot cooler and slicker with its engraved silver plate at one side over the shroud of the card. I don't know but I reckon it's the best looking 7000 series card from Sapphire.
Edited by Driimit - 6/7/13 at 12:17pm
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Samsung 850 pro Western Digital Cavier Blue ASUS DVD-R/DVD-RW drive Cooler Master Hyper 212X 
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Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-bit  Samsung S24F350FHW G.Skill RIPJAWS KM570 MX Cooler Master V550 – semi-modular 
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