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
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  • RobFDB - Saturday, July 30, 2005 - link

    Guess you missed where i said "(with the exception of MSI)". Learn to read mate before you go posting.
  • RobFDB - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    ATI and Sapphire should be congratulated for bringing the AC880 to AMD users. We had it good with Soundstorm but since then onboard audio as gone back several steps (with the exception of MSI). Its good that AMD users are being given the option to have quality onboard audio.
  • bob661 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    This what impresses me the most about these boards is this codec support. I still won't buy an ATI chipset until the third or fourth version comes out (you guys can test it for me) but impressive features and performance nonetheless.
  • jab98 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

  • erwos - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    "[AMD] Enthusiast" is written with a capital E in the article, and it should not be, since it's not a proper noun. Please fix this error, because it looks grossly unprofessional to anyone with a reasonable command of the written word.
  • RobFDB - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Really though, get over it. It doesnt matter in the slightest if we're being honest here. Anyway back to more important matters.

    I'm really happy that ATI have managed to bring a top performing board aimed at enthusiasts to market. I was also extremely impressed to see Sapphire implement 4v for the RAM. One issue that i'd like to see investigated is wether the cold boot issue that affects DFI NF4 boards using OCZ VX mem @ high voltages affects the Sapphire board too. Aside from that this is a very impressive showing from ATI. One last thing. I have a x850XT PE and i'm not sure if that can be used as a slave card when ATI bring out the R520. If so that would make a very attractive upgrade.
  • rjm55 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    The X850XT PE works fine as a slave with the X850 Master Card. In demos at Computex, ATI was showing an X850 Master with an X850XT PE slave.
  • Jojo7 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    This isn't exactly true. Ati distributed a special driver that SIMULATED crossfire. The actual cards were really just 2 identical x850xtpe's. Though, one probably had an altered bios to simulate a master card.

    Read it for yourself:">
  • dlamblin - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Did I miss the mention in the article? Is this an ATX or an mATX board. I'm guessing the former, but it wouldn't be out of place to list the fact along side the rest.
  • erwos - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    It's ATX. If it has more than four slots, it's too big to fit the mATX standard.

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