Without a doubt, the card that drew the most attention in Sapphire’s suite at Computex was the Radeon HD 2900 XT Toxic. First announced a few weeks back, the 2900 XT Toxic is a liquid-cooled Radeon HD 2900 XT board. As you can see, the cards themselves are single-slot, they are then attached to a separate liquid reservoir which sits in two 5.25” drive bays. Keeping everything cool will be a large fan outfitted with blue LEDs that will spin anywhere from 1600-2400 RPMs.
The cooling system is upgradeable, allowing Toxic owners to add an additional Radeon HD 2900 XT Toxic card for CrossFire, or even a 3rd-party CPU waterblock for cooling your processor.
For added performance, Sapphire even plans to overclock the Toxic card from the factory. The Toxic card is expected to ship sometime later this month.
Besides the 2900 XT Toxic, Sapphire also had their second-generation Radeon HD 2900 XT card on display at Computex. If you recall our Radeon HD 2900 XT preview article, we were critical of the amount of noise generated from the 2900 XT’s fan – it’s a very loud card when running under load. Sapphire’s engineers realized this as well and have come up with a cooling solution of their own which still relies on copper heat pipe technology, but has replaced the large copper block and heatsink that ATI use with an aluminum heatsink that they’ve developed on their own.
According to Sapphire, their redesigned cooler is quite effective at keeping R600 cool, with the added benefit of being lighter. Sapphire also replaces the stock ATI fan with their own custom fan that spins at lower RPMs – around 3-4K RPMs (load) versus the 6K RPMs of the stock ATI unit – allowing the card to generate less noise under load than the stock ATI fan. The one downside of Sapphire’s fan is that it requires an external power connection (we were told if they’d used the fan header on the 2900 XT card it would default to the stock ATI fan speeds) but we think this is a small price that enthusiasts will be more than willing to pay in order to reduce noise.
Sapphire also had a range of Radeon HD 2600 and 2400 cards on showcase at Computex. Most notable is their dual Radeon HD 2600 XT card which should begin shipping on 6/30. The card combines two Radeon HD 2600 XT GPUs on one board for CrossFire.