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Sapphire HD 3870 512 MB

W1zzard

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#1
Sapphire's new HD 3870 card is based on AMD's RV670 GPU which is made in a 55 nm process with 666 million transitors and support for DirectX 10.1 and PCI-Express 2.0. This card that is sold for around $249 is intended to be AMD's new offering for an upper midrange card - but can it beat the GeForce 8800 GT?

Show full review
 
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iron_gr

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#2
What about new drivers from ATi? Do current drivers use all the potential of the chip?

And what about picture quality? We saw that nvidia uses bad tactics, ex. beta drivers for Crysis, total f@cked up quality, disrespect for customers!

Dunno if they use these tactics for all games (dropping quality) and that's why they get higher scores!!
 
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#3
all good stuff.. there is typo in the max clock speed its 862.. and the only reason the card runs hot under load is ATI have chosen to run the fan at a max of 45% at 93 C.. the fan dosnt really speed up till the card reaches 90 C..

basically the cooler is perfectly okay its the low fan speed that causes the card to run at 90 C under load.. its a bit hot for my liking as well but ati seem to have chosen these kinda temps..

trog

ps.. mine runs gaming stable at 830/1230.. at 90 C..
 
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#4
nice anny news from agp version?
 

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#5
am i the only one that noticed that the 2900xt 512 got 1.1 fps, the same as a 2400pro at 2048 x 1536?
typo, or did it really do that badly?
 

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#6
am i the only one that noticed that the 2900xt 512 got 1.1 fps, the same as a 2400pro at 2048 x 1536?
typo, or did it really do that badly?
it really did. the reason is that 512 mb memory is not enough for this benchmark
 

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#7
it really did. the reason is that 512 mb memory is not enough for this benchmark
that doesn't make much sense considering it got beaten by 256MB cards and other 512MB cards, i.e. the entire hd3k series.
 

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#8
I must say that is one of worst overclocking 3870s I've ever seen on the memory side.
 
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#9
"Also it has to be mentioned that a BIOS bug exists in the first batches of 3870 cards that will not allow core clock adjustments above 846 MHz. To fix this a new BIOS has been released, which is available here."

Why wasn't the card tested with this new bios? Are you just "keeping it stock?" Or was the review written before the bios came out? Are you scared that the same thing will happen to this that happend to the Phenoms with the new bios? :laugh: wouldn't that suck?
 
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#10
"Also it has to be mentioned that a BIOS bug exists in the first batches of 3870 cards that will not allow core clock adjustments above 846 MHz. To fix this a new BIOS has been released, which is available here."

Why wasn't the card tested with this new bios? Or was the review written before the bios came out? Are you scared that the same thing will happen to this that happend to the Phenoms with the new bios? :laugh: wouldn't that suck?
it is mentioned i think.. its also 862 not 846.. the cards aint gaming stable over 862 anyway.. all the new bios does is let u clock to a point where the card isnt stable. not much point really..

i have two they are both gaming stable around the 830=840 mark..

as for the memory well mine seems to run at 1300 but it artifacts in crysis very badly.. it needs to go right down to 1230 before the artifacts disappear.. the furry bench thing dosnt show them up but crysis does..

so take some of these high clocking figures claimed with a pinch of salt.. a quick look at a furry thing dont mean the card is stable..

the memory should go over 1200 thow i would recon on most cards.. mine are both very similar.. irrespective of what bios is loaded..

trog

ps.. my cards have been run in cod 4 as well as crysis.. the stability point for the core is the same in both games.. cod 4 dosnt hit the memory so hard thow..
 
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#11
it is mentioned i think.. its also 862 not 846.. the cards aint gaming stable over 862 anyway.. all the new bios does is let u clock to a point where the card isnt stable. not much point really..

i have two they are both gaming stable around the 830=840 mark..

as for the memory well mine seems to run at 1300 but it artifacts in crysis very badly.. it needs to go right down to 1230 before the artifacts disappear.. the furry bench thing dosnt show them up but crysis does..

so take some of these high clocking figures claimed with a pinch of salt.. a quick look at a furry thing dont mean the card is stable..

the memory should go over 1200 thow i would recon on most cards.. mine are both very similar.. irrespective of what bios is loaded..

trog

ps.. my cards have been run in cod 4 as well as crysis.. the stability point for the core is the same in both games.. cod 4 dosnt hit the memory so hard thow..
i found my card was crysis stable at 830/1250, but i had to get an antec spot cool to keep the damn memory cool enough...
 
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#12
Everything runs so hot these days... I can't wait until they start finally making these chips outa plastic and using light. That would be cool. Infinite Megahertz...
 

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#13
"Also it has to be mentioned that a BIOS bug exists in the first batches of 3870 cards that will not allow core clock adjustments above 846 MHz. To fix this a new BIOS has been released, which is available here."

Why wasn't the card tested with this new bios? Are you just "keeping it stock?" Or was the review written before the bios came out? Are you scared that the same thing will happen to this that happend to the Phenoms with the new bios? :laugh: wouldn't that suck?
the new bios just removes the clock limit, it will not give you more overclocking. since our card didnt get close to that limit there is no point in using the new bios
 
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#14
Great review W1zz. I liked the different graphs you included for the price/performance etc... It seems to me though that the 3870 is only around 5fps faster than the 3850... In aussie the 70 is around $100 more than the 50..... doesn't seem worth it imo. The gt is around $375. that is worth the extra moolah over the 50 but I don't reckon the 70 is..
 
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#15
its the 512 faster memory that costs the extra.. a 512 850 with a dual slot cooler would be a good buy.. but would cost more..

i see wiz puts down a dual slot cooler as a negatiive.. to me its a positive..

its the big dual slot cooler shifting hot air out of the case that makes these card run nice and quite.. even with the fan turned up somewhat..

with a 8800gt u are gonna have to pay extra for a decent cooler..

trog
 
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#16
My card is 100% stable at 843/1206 but runs hot, so I am at 810/1206 with 60% fan for 65c max temp. Performance increase after 810 was so minimal anyway, somewhere between 100-200 points in 3dmark, but only 1-2fps in a game. No need to torture the card.

W1zzard I don't think an aftermarket coolerwill help iirc. The cooler does good if the fan is turned up, I think only the memory would benefit from good copper h.s.

The bios flash is just a waste of the warranty!

Good review.
 

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#17
its the 512 faster memory that costs the extra.. a 512 850 with a dual slot cooler would be a good buy.. but would cost more..

i see wiz puts down a dual slot cooler as a negatiive.. to me its a positive..

its the big dual slot cooler shifting hot air out of the case that makes these card run nice and quite.. even with the fan turned up somewhat..

with a 8800gt u are gonna have to pay extra for a decent cooler..

trog
I agree. The single slot cooler on the 8800GT is pathetic....those cards get super hot and super loud :(

I feel safer with a dual slot cooler installed lol
 

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#18
Nice review w1zzard.

Seems these cards would benefit from water cooling.
 

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#19
Great review as always W1zz. I wasnt really aware of the clock limit even with the bios that was posted a couple weeks back. My biggest complaint would be the temps. Im assuming a decent water cooling setup on these would allow for more memory headroom, right?
 
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#20
Great review as always W1zz. I wasnt really aware of the clock limit even with the bios that was posted a couple weeks back. My biggest complaint would be the temps. Im assuming a decent water cooling setup on these would allow for more memory headroom, right?
I don't expect much, if you preset the fan at 60% 65c is about the peak temp running 810/1206. With 100% I could run 843/1206 fairly cool, but loud. Anything more than 843 got artifacts. I think a voltage increase is the only real help you can get here, after that w/c might help.
 
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#21
its the 512 faster memory that costs the extra.. a 512 850 with a dual slot cooler would be a good buy.. but would cost more..

i see wiz puts down a dual slot cooler as a negatiive.. to me its a positive..

its the big dual slot cooler shifting hot air out of the case that makes these card run nice and quite.. even with the fan turned up somewhat..

with a 8800gt u are gonna have to pay extra for a decent cooler..

trog
Most of the 512mb 3850's I have seen here in the UK are only marginally more expensive than the 256 models.

EG my powercolor HD3850 512mb was £115. Most 256mb models are this price or a tad below.
 

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#22
Uknow its saying something when an older gen product is beating a new gen product in half the tests...... of course, that could be just down to W1z' inability to OC a CPU, and thus cuasing a bottleneck. Its easy to take any C2D to 3GHz to help eliminate that :p
 

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#23
Uknow its saying something when an older gen product is beating a new gen product in half the tests...... of course, that could be just down to W1z' inability to OC a CPU, and thus cuasing a bottleneck. Its easy to take any C2D to 3GHz to help eliminate that :p
show me the benchmarks with res > 1024x768 where you see a cpu bottleneck?

if i bench with yorkfield the next time people will say "please use cpus real people can actually buy and afford". god this is so annoying. i spend my time to do over 1000 (ONE THOUSAND) benchmark runs total for a vga review and get such bs.
 
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#24
so you do all these tests every time?
 

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#25
so you do all these tests every time?
for every new driver. remember last time how people complained about me using "ancient" catalyst 7.7 ? next complete retest will probably be with catalyst 8.1 and the new nvidia whql once its out, takes me about 10 days to do the testing for all the cards