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Powercolor HD 3870 SCS3 Passive 512 MB

W1zzard

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#1
The PowerColor HD 3870 SCS3 Edition is a completely passively cooled Radeon HD 3870. This makes the card an excellent choice for a quiet Media PC computer. What is really amazing is that the passive card runs up to 25°C cooler than the reference design which uses a fan.

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WarEagleAU

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#2
As always. great review W1zz. Im flabbergasted at a card at this price and for the cooling on it, that the memory cooler is just a thin piece of what amounts to tin foil.
 

regan1985

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#3
thats crazy look at those load temps, thats got to be one of the best fanless cooling on a gpu ive seen on the market,shame its 3slot design good review as normal cheers w1zz
 

W1zzard

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#4
i think one reason for the sucky memory cooler is the assembly .. it took me like half an hour to safely disassembly the card. you have to unscrew the cooler first, then remove it from the gpu, move it a bit to reach the screws of the memory cooler. then fiddle the memory cooler out out of the cooling construction while moving the main cooler to make space. once the memory cooler is gone you can remove the main cooler. re-assembly is even more of a pain :)
 
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#5
wow! what a cooler :)
 
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#6
I wonder how well it would oc with a couple of 120mm fans strapped to it!!!! seems like a fairly good functioning cooler.

I have a Q for W1zz:

How come we can't see your whole review on the one page anymore??? I used to like it loading the whole review up rather than reading a little bit and waiting for another page to load.....
 
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#7
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CY:G

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#8
WOW, thats impressive for a video card with no fans, this is perfect for people building silent setups
 

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#9
Awesome review, as per normal W1z :D.

Although, with the crossfire thing, I think I could CF two of these in both my computers (yes, including the mATX rig). Reason is, on my P5B, there is one PCI slot and one PCIe 1x slot between the two PCIe slots, and in the mATX rig, there are also two PCI slots between the two PCIe slots :p.

Sure it will render the PCI slots useless...but it is possible :D.
 

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#10
This is a bit out of my price range, but I love passively cooled video cards. Despite the price, this card is on the top of my list. Those temperatures are stunning!!!! :twitch:

Thanks for the great review W1zz! :toast:
 

MrGringo

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#11
Hi,
This card looks like exactly what I've been trying to find for my media center.
Any chance you could post the dimensions of the card (including the cooler) as the heatpipes at the top look like they come up quite high and I'm worried it might not fit.

Thanks
 

W1zzard

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#12
i already sent the card back, let me try to get that info from powercolor
 
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#14
W1z... when testing PASSIVE COOLED designs, its really important to check you results with ambient temperatures. While it is near zero outside and probably well under 20 indoors, this if very different from the Summer months of 30 indoors. That may impact cooling a lot... a 10-15 degree increase in ambient may have MORE than a 10-15 degree impact at load. This card benchmarks temperatures well today... but what about in the middle of the Summer. Could be a bit nasty... and thermal throttling might start kicking in.

Could I ask you to check this issue next time you do a PASSIVE review. Thanks :)
 

W1zzard

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#15
how do you suggest i test this?
 
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#16
Mit die quasi Dingsbums Maschine!


********

Without spending a fortune on an industrial temperature controlled cabinet, I would suggest placing a large cardboard box over the PC. The box would have a medium/large hole(s) near the bottom and one or two holes at the top. Then cover the holes at the top with a piece of cardboard.

What's needed is for the warm exit air to be trapped within the box so that the air drawn in to the PC is already warm. You would need a thermometer to measure the ambient in the cardboard box. If too cold... wait... if too hot... move the cardboard away from the hole at the top so warm air can escape.

This is a really clumsy pain-in-the-ass approach... but it should work. Basically get the PC to operate in a warm air environment and test.

The real concern I see is that the thermal throttling will start kicking in at around the 65-75C range. In your initial test on this cold winter day you were just around 60C on load... perhaps also becuase you tested with "open box" PC, or you have good cooling. In a closed PC, normal cooling, and warm environment, the thermal throttling could SCREW measured performance and gameplay.
 
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Paithan

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#17
Powercolor 3870 SCS3 Overheating

Hi!

After reading this review I went to the store and bought this graphic card and a new 600W OCZ PSU.

But somehow my card runs hot, idling at 60+ celcius, and after 5-10 minutes under load the temperature keep rising to 90+ celsius, where it turns itself off.

I tried the graphic card in another rig and got the same result.

Both tested rigs had powerful PSUs, several case fans and good airflow. And the other components in the computer report 30-40 degrees. And running the system with opened chassi and aiming a fan to the heatsink does not help.

Maybe I just got a bad card and should return it to the store.

/Robert
 
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#18
I would put a fan blowing over it, and keep the little expansion slot covers off of nearby expansion slots.

I personally like the Vantec Fan Card (it's UV Blue and has speed control).