ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

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ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:28 am

The ATI Radeon HD 3800 graphics card series is the much anticipated new line of graphics cards by AMD. The ATI Radeon HD 38XX series are the first graphics cards in the world to support DirectX 10.1 capabilities and plug-and-play ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU upgradeability. Read on as we test a pair of Radeon HD 3850 graphics cards!

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The ATI Radeon HD 38XX series are the first graphics cards in the world to support DirectX 10.1 capabilities and plug-and-play ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU upgradeability. CrossFireX is similar to CrossFire, but up to four graphics cards are paired together this time around. If you would like to run eight displays or want the ultimate gaming performance from AMD – CrossFireX is the way to go, but you have to use an AMD 790FX motherboard with four x16 PCI Express lanes to make it possible. DirectX 10.1 brings awesome new lighting features like global illumination to reality, but in order to support Microsoft DirectX 10.1 these cards will need to be used on a system with Microsoft Vista SP1, which isn’t due out till sometime in 2008.



Article Title: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review
Article URL: http://legitreviews.com/article/591/1/
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby dgood » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:00 am

cool, definatly not topping the charts a single card, but that could be a nice card for a home theater or something with the video decoder as you mentioned. I'm actually curious to see how much that speed boost for the 3870 will help. I think that is the card that will be competing closly with the 880gt as it'll be cheaper, but also a little slower is that a safe assumption? Well done once again, and I also liked the bit about the 92C on the single slot cooler. Any aftermarket coolers you can review along with one of those to see if that helps (assuming it's single slot too, do they do that?).?
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby kappage » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:19 am

well i suppose unless the cards can drop in price so to buy two of them is cheaper then one 8800 Ultra they wont be selling many cards.
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:24 am

dgood wrote:cool, definatly not topping the charts a single card, but that could be a nice card for a home theater or something with the video decoder as you mentioned. I'm actually curious to see how much that speed boost for the 3870 will help. I think that is the card that will be competing closly with the 880gt as it'll be cheaper, but also a little slower is that a safe assumption? Well done once again, and I also liked the bit about the 92C on the single slot cooler. Any aftermarket coolers you can review along with one of those to see if that helps (assuming it's single slot too, do they do that?).?


Well, I just found out something very interesting after a few drinks with some key ATI people... It seems the cards I was given are the worst case scenario when it comes to temperatures and and power consumption. The RV670 core that is used on the 3850 and 3870 needs 1.3V to hit the clock frequencies that ATI has them rated at. The yields that are starting to come in now are better than the original ones and they can hit the mark with just 1.0V... This means less wattage, 30 watts less! With the decrease in voltage will also come lower temps. Now, I have to give ATI props on this one because they have enough 1.0V cores out there to sample the media, but those buying the cards wouldn't be getting what was being reviewed. They could have pulled a quick one, but didn't. Once the lower voltage cores come out in in the weeks ahead the part will be even better. It already has great performance per watt, but when you shave 30W off it's going to be hands down the best. The GeForce 8800 GT 256/512 has nothing on it in this respect.

I've had the chance to take a look at a number of cards over the past week that have had a number of cooling solutions...

Palit for example designed their own PCB... It has HDMI on the board along with VGA and DVI, which is interesting. To top it off they have their own custom made cooler on it. Not to mention it comes bundled with the Laura Croft tomb raider game bundle.

palit_3850.jpg
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Gigabyte will also have a custom PCB design, so performance on the Palit and Gigabyte boards should be interesting as they might differ a bit from the other brands, which is good.

gigabyte_rx385512H.jpg
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If you read through the entire article you might remember the part about the passively cooled Radeon HD 3850 by Sapphire... Here are pictures of the front and back of that card. It's actually really light weight as none of it is copper from the looks of it.

sapphire_3850_passive.jpg
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sapphire_3850.jpg
sapphire_3850.jpg (80.4 KiB) Viewed 8723 times


With the 1.0V RV670 core the Radeon 3850 with passive cooling will be awesome in a HTPC. Expect to see some HTPC testing in the coming weeks.
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:39 am

kappage wrote:well i suppose unless the cards can drop in price so to buy two of them is cheaper then one 8800 Ultra they wont be selling many cards.


After rebate deals I'm sure you could pick up one of these card for $149.99 or less.
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby KnightRid » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:09 am

WOW - decisions decisions! Dont really need HD playback since I dont have a HD player :).

Has anyone done the 8800gt in SLI? I see the crossfire results, but no dual 8800gt card results.

$150 after rebates - WOW! still bothers me that some of those games the ati cards were WAY down the chart while the nvidia cards remained a LOT more consistent across the board.

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another nice article as usual! You just made my video card buying decisions a lot more difficult though :p
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Bio-Hazard » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:52 am

I don't really get it when everyone is trying to compare the 3850 to the 8800GT, that's not what the card is designed to do (price range or performance), it's direct competition for the 8600GT/GTS Nvidia cards. The 3870 is the one to look at to compre to the 8800GT, and the 8800GT seems to be beating the 3870 in some/most tests. But at a average selling price of $70 or more higher than the 3870, it's going to be a hard one to decide on, not to mention that the 3870 is a ton quieter than the Nvidia card.
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Zertz » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:41 pm

Crossfire performance varies so much from game to game... Beat the Ultra.. then get beat by the 8800GT.. decent performance across the board would've been nice.

Pretty good for the price though, I can't see the 8600GTS selling much now.

nice review too, it was nice to see temps/overclocking this time 8)
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:03 am

Zertz wrote:Crossfire performance varies so much from game to game... Beat the Ultra.. then get beat by the 8800GT.. decent performance across the board would've been nice.

Pretty good for the price though, I can't see the 8600GTS selling much now.

nice review too, it was nice to see temps/overclocking this time 8)



If NVIDIA would have sent me a card before the 8800GT launch, I would have had time to do temps/overclocking. Time limited... I'm already up benchmarking for the next couple reviews that go up this weekend... I've got two systems cranking right now. :)
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby leexgx » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:05 am

if your testing numbers for crossfire why not testing SLI as well, you could of done 8600 cards in there as well

id feal silly if i got an 2900 as thay use more power (room heater) then an 8800gtx and have less performace, the 38xx offer better power use when idle and offer good performace for the price (bout time) dx10.1 nice but untill nvidia jump onto it not realy going to get used and even then game devs probly not use it for 1-2 years (after sp1) as most users will not have dx10.1 support or vista it self

i never realy used ati cards mostly due to unstable drivers or Buggy installer, the driver will not update ever untill reaload of windows {it allso brakes the installed drivers so you have no 3d hardware video}
AMD make an cleaner tool please for you crapy installer so i can update drivers safey (thay may be an tool but not seen one)
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Re: ATI Radeon HD 3850 CrossFire Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:44 am

If NVIDIA wanted to send out cards to us for review I'd be more than happy to include them. I had to borrow the 8600GT used in this review from a friend, so don't think NVIDIA cards weren't included for any other reason than the fact we don't have one. If you want to see more NVIDIA cards in the article then keep posting that here and e-mail NVIDIA PR and tell them to send us cards. You guys do have an impact on what sites get what cards, so if you really want to see better reviews here on LR send them a quick e-mail.
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