PowerColor passive HD3870 SCS3 Review 17

PowerColor passive HD3870 SCS3 Review

(17 Comments) »

Value and Conclusion

  • PowerColor is offering their HD 3870 SCS3 Edition Card for a price of $269, which is about $20 more than a regular HD 3870 reference card.
  • No fan noise
  • Passive cooling
  • HDMI+HDCP+Audio
  • Fair price
  • Some overclocking headroom left
  • Low temperatures
  • PCI-Express 2.0 support
  • Fast 0.8 ns memory chips
  • Three slot cooling design
  • Probably too big for CrossFire
  • Memory cooling limits overclocks
  • Cooler seems to be a bit flimsy
When I first heard about PowerColor creating a completely passive HD 3870 card I expected a card that was running extremely hot and needing excellent airflow in the case for proper operation. But apparently the SCS3 design of PowerColor does a great job _reducing_ the card temperatures compared to the reference design. Yes, you read right. The passive cooler's temperatures are actually lower than the reference design temperatures with a fan. We could even do some mild overclocking on our sample.
Being completely noiseless and offering HDMI+Audio this card is an excellent candidate for use in a Media PC system that stands in your living room. Only the three slot design might limit the use since it will probably not fit your small form factor case. I also think it will be difficult finding a motherboard that has enough space for a CrossFire setup of these cards. But maybe your board has space for one HD 3870 SCS3 and one reference design HD 3870. This will still allow for a quiet solution and CrossFire.
With a price premium of only $20 over the reference design this card is really a no-brainer when you are looking for a HD 3870 card. The only exception being if you are really on a tight budget, don't care about noise or are going the CrossFire route.
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May 18th, 2022 18:23 EDT change timezone

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