The Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate has a very specific audience in mind. It targets people who are wanting to build a completely silent PC and the home theater PC crowd. As I said in the introduction of this review no one wants to be watching a movie with friends and have their HTPC sound like its about to take off. The passive cooler means the card makes no noise at all! The passive cooler does a great job cooling as well, the GPU temperature when gaming was only 53C. We would suggest some good case ventilation when using this card. Our great cooling can be attributed to our Cooler Master Cosmos II case with 5 fans running.
One thing that is interesting about this card is that it is actually based on the “Cape Verde” GPU rather than the “Oland” GPU that most R7 250’s are based on. This actually gives the card more stream processors (512 compared to 384) and faster GDDR5 memory. So if you are looking at R7 250’s this might be a great choice. Now if you are looking to do any 1080p gaming on the latest title’s you really are not going to be able to do it on this card. 720p gaming should work well on lower settings though. For this reason this could be a viable card for a Steam Box that you might have in the living room if you plan on playing lower GPU-intensive games. The passive ability of the card will also be great for a Steam Box in the living room.
Some people may complain that if this card is targeted towards the HTPC and SFF crowd it should be a single-slot card, but there is no possible way that the card could be cooled passively with a single-slot design.
Sapphire also includes a HDMI cable in the bundle which is definitely a plus as most users will be connecting this card to their TV.
Right now the card has a MSRP of $99, but I could only find it available at Amazon at $122. At that price it does have a premium over other R7 250’s, but remember it does have more stream processors and the passive cooling is definitely a bonus. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award.
– Passively cooled
– Passive cooler works well
– Does not require extra power
– Based on “Cape Verde” GPU rather than the “Oland” GPU
– HDMI cable included
– Not single slot
– Won’t be able to play recent titles at 1080p settings