ATI Radeon HD 3870 and 3850: 55nm RV670

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Performance Summary: The new Radeon HD 3870 performed much like a Radeon HD 2900 XT.  The two cards generally traded victories over each other depending on the game and resolution being tested.  Due to its smaller frame buffer and lower clock speeds, the Radeon HD 3850's performance was somewhat lower, but in comparison to what are expected to be similarly priced mid-range cards like the Radeon 2600 XT and GeForce 8600 GTS, the Radeon HD 3850’s performance is quite strong.  NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTS, GT, and of course GTX usually performed better than the new Radeons, however.


There is a lot to like about the new Radeon HD 38x0 series.  Both the Radeon HD 3870 and 3850 performed well throughout our entire battery of tests, in terms of framerates and image quality.  Video playback performance was also good and thanks to design tweaks, PowerPlay, and a new 55nm manufacturing process power consumption, temperatures, and noise levels are way down in comparison to the previous generation.  The RV670 GPU also offers support for DirectX 10.1, which is a first in the industry.

According to AMD, the ATI Radeon HD 3870 and Radeon HD 3850 have MSRPs of $219 and $179, respectively.  Both cards should be available immediately.  If these cards end-up being widely available and have actual street prices approaching these MSRPs, we suspect they are going to be very popular this holiday buying season.  Considering how much cheaper they must be to produce than the 2900 XT, we’re sure AMD is hoping for some big numbers.  If street prices end up much higher, however, the Radeon HD 3870 and 3850 face some stiff competition from the GeForce 8800 GT, which outperforms the new Radeons in just about every game engine we tested.  And don’t forget a less expensive 256MB GT is on the way as well.  Fortunately for AMD, the GeForce 8800 GT is tough to find at the moment and it’s selling for much more than its MSRP.

It’s going to take a couple of weeks to see what pricing and availability look like for both AMD and NVIDIA’s latest offerings.  They’re both looking strong though and are worth the upgrade.  If you were waiting for the right moment to jump on the DX10 bandwagon, that time is rapidly approaching.

  • Good Performance
  • Great Power Characterisitcs
  • Quiet
  • Low MSRPs
  • CrossFire Scaling Issues
  • NVIDIA Still Faster Overall

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jtm55 7 years ago

 Hi All,


Great review on both cards. It looks as though AMD/ATI is back in the Graphics card game again. That's great for us Gamers because now Price Wars! 

I do have a question, has AMD/ATI abandoned the High End Graphics card arena? 


Dave_HH 7 years ago
Definitely not, at least according to our sources. The first half of 08 should bring new high-end toys from both sides of the Graphics pond!
ice91785 7 years ago

 Holy power consumption Batman!! It is definately a more utility bill friendly card than the 2900 (consuming about half its idle and load power) and the performance output really isn't bad at all -- as I would almost input that the 2900's was when compared to the 8xxx series especially with power consumption and price comparison was taken into the mix..

It's just too bad it took ATI more than a year to semi-catch up with nVidia's 8 series but hopefully they can stay on the ball eh? Exciting exciting.


BTW: if you admins are sick of these taking up space in the labs I can probably take them off your hands -- if you're lucky I mean Big Smile 


EDIT: Just also noticed the 8870s are quite a bit cheaper than the 8800GT's also .... what to do, what to do.... 

Grahf 7 years ago

Good to see DAMMIT is getting competitive again in the GPU market. They still need to get their high end parts up there though. Even though where the bulk of sales occurs is mainstream not having those high end parts affects people's purchasing decisions. People want to go with the company that looks like they are superior on all fronts. Hopefully their next GPU can actually rival Nvidia's high end. Image is important.

ice91785 7 years ago

 Well getting a 55nm process down for the GPU is pretty sweet in itself -- more space and less heat :) :) Too bad AMD isn't following this up with 55nm CPU  eh? ;)

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