Basic Features: Sapphire PURE Innovation

Sapphire PURE Innovation
CPU Interface Socket 939 Athlon 64
Chipset ATI RX480 Northbridge - ATI SB450 Southbridge
BUS Speeds 200 to 440MHz in 1MHz Increments
Memory Speeds DDR200, 266, 333, 366, 400 (433, 466, 500, 533 with Rev. E AMD)
PCIe Speeds 100-200
PCI/AGP Fixed at 33/66
Core Voltage Auto, 0.8V to 1.55V in 0.025V increments
PLUS .0V to 0.6V in 0.02V increments
(Maximum vCore 2.15V)
CPU Clock Multiplier 4x-25.5x in 0.5X increments
DRAM Voltage Auto, 2.5V to 4.0V in .05V increments
HyperTransport Frequency 1000MHz (1GHz)
HyperTransport Multiplier Auto, 1X to 5X
HyperTransport Voltage 1.22V, 1.29V, 1.39V, 1.5V
Xpress 200 Voltage 1.22V, 1.29V, 1.39V, 1.5V
PCIe 1.2 Voltage 1.22V, 1.29V, 1.39V, 1.5V
PCIe 1.8 Voltage 1.8V, 1.9V
Memory Slots Four 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots
Dual-Channel Configuration
Regular Unbuffered Memory to 4GB Total
Expansion Slots 1 PCIe x16
2 PCIe x1
2 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA/RAID 4 SATA Drives by SB450 (RAID 0, 1, JBOD)
2 SATA II Drives by Sil 3132
Onboard IDE/IDE RAID Two Standard ATA133/100/66 (4 drives)
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports supported by SB450
2 1394 Firewire by VIA VT6307
Onboard LAN Gigabit PCIe Ethernet by Marvel 88E8052
Onboard Audio Azalia HD Audio by Realtek ALC880
BIOS Revision Award (7/28/2005)

The DFI nForce4 Ultra and SLI boards have quickly developed a reputation for offering the enthusiast every imaginable BIOS option. We mention the DFI only to put in perspective that the Sapphire ATI offers 2 more memory adjustments not found on the DFI and even more controls to tweak the performance of the motherboard. It is clear that ATI has worked with some leading enthusiasts in refining the Crossfire AMD - it clearly shows in the depth and breath of available options. At the other end of the spectrum, the Sapphire ATI also offers automatic overclocking options in the BIOS for those uncomfortable with manual overclocking

What can you say about a range of CPU adjustments from 200 to 440 except that it is beyond expectation. The same can be said for vCore adjustments that extend to 2.15V.

vDIMM extends to 4.0V, matching the DFI nF4 boards as the widest vDIMM range available. This extremely wide adjustment range makes the Sapphire ATI ideal for driving OCZ VX or Mushkin Redline.

The Sapphire ATI also has memory adjustments to DDR400 with the 4000+ Clawhammer processor that we use for standard benchmarking. However, as soon as a Rev. E AMD processor is installed, options from 433 to 500 or 533 appear. The ability to run the processor at stock speed with memory at up to DDR500/533 opens new options for memory performance.

The incredible depth of memory controls available is perhaps best illustrated by the adjustments for vDIMM VTT. ATI says that certain memories perform best with VTT offsets, which is why the adjustment is there.

Sapphire has done an excellent job in their PURE Innovation of putting their money where their mouth is. We often hear companies talk about "targeting the enthusiast", only to deliver a luke-warm rehash with laughable options and overclocking performance. We have often said that calling a motherboard an enthusiast board does not make it so. It's a pleasure to see that this Sapphire ATI not only talks the talk in options - it also walks the walk, as any enthusiast will soon discover.

Sapphire PURE Innovation Overclocking: Sapphire PURE Innovation
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • afrost - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    One of the big things for me is that there is only passive cooling on the motherboard without the need for crazy heatpipes etc. This is really important for those of us who want to build silent computers.

    I'v definately picking up this board from Saphire.
  • Zebo - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Good point must run at lower temp than nvidia's single chipset solution which gets hot as hell when you start cranking HTT.
  • rjm55 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    We mentioned several times in the article that Sapphire will launch the new board in early August. Sapphire has confirmed their plans to launch around August 5. Sapphire has asked us to pass on that you will be able to buy retail PI-A9RX480 motherboards in most markets by August 15th-20th. Price will be "competetive with nForce4".
  • Resh - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Any idea on when we will see them? I'd really like to go that route, but I can't wait forever!
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Halibut (Crossfire AMD) and Stingray (Crossfire Intel) boards are ready to go to reviewers, but there are still some decisions being made at ATI. We have also seen the prototype retail boards from Gigabyte and another manufacturer. When ATI decides whether Crossfire will be now or with R520 (just a guess at events) Crossfire will roll out quickly.
  • Resh - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Thansk Wesley. I wish they would hurry up with that decision... RAM is ordered and PSU, CPU, and X800XL will be ordered this w/e, too, so they better get the motherboards out!

    If you do hear something, please share it with the rest of us.

  • coomar - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    wow the white pcb stands out, at least the thing is packaged well
  • Dhaval00 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    A week ago, AT was having fun posting such rumors... I am sure it thinks otherwise now :).

    /me feels like getting rid of all my nVIDIA hardware.
  • ukDave - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Typo on Pg8, second bottom paragraph. "ATI X350XT PE" - the '3' should be an '8' me thinks.
  • Tommouse - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Nice board. Still undecided on the white color though.

    I wonder if the Zalman CNPS7700-Cu will fit :|

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now