HD3870, HD3850 review - Is RV670 the new mid-class DX 10?
Written by Dimitar Dinchev a.k.a. Veseliq
Monday, 04 February 2008
Page 3 of 11
Page 3 - HD3870, HD3850, differences in pictures
As we already hinted, the core has two variations. AMD kept the policy of naming for the chips and their code names are RV670PRO for HD3850, while the code name for HD3870 is RV670XT. For now let's just say they are almost identical. HD3870 comes with GDDR4 and base frequency at 775MHz fir the core and 2250MHz for the memory. Because the card is using a tad higher voltage, and the GDDR4 memory on its own is quite hot we see that a two slot cooler is in place. The card has TDP (maximum quantity of heat dispersed) equivalent to 134W and the model is supposed to compete with NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT.
On the other hand HD3850 uses GDDR3 памет at 1600MHz and a core with lowered to 650MHz frequency. That way the TDP here is only 105W and the cooler uses a single slot, being much smaller. The card is competing with 8600GTS.
Solytrade handed us a Sapphire HD3870 – totally referent board.
Sapphire HD3870 512MB
At last the card in question. On the photo is the so called by Sapphire "Lite" version, which means you get less stuff (the box spared a tree or two compared to other video card boxes, also there is no game or unneeded software disks). That gets a price of 419 leva (~210 ?), about the same of 8800GT. In the box you'll find only a standard driver CD (mostly useless due to the rapid release of new drivers). All the necessary cables and the CrossFire Bridge in case you want to use more than one card in CrossFire mode. Since we had 2 HD3870 to try in CrossFire, that bridge will play its role at some point in this review.
The two slot referent cooler is made from copper and consists of few separate parts. The well made core radiator is performing splendid keeping the cooler relatively quiet even under heavy load, but keep in mind that the test was made on a rig (the components were out of due to the accessibility required to change a lot of cards during tests), the room temperature being about 16-18 degrees – after all it's winter and overclockers are custom to lower temperatures. The cooler is kept in place with four separate screws to the core, while using a thermal paste for better conductivity. Respectively the memory and other "hot" chip radiators are kept in place by the so called thermal gum.
The famous RV670XT core at last... as well the above mentioned bridge.
Sapphire HD3850 512MB, 256MB
Again referent board and cooling. Same stuff as with Sapphire HD3870, but a slimmer case (because of the thinner single slot cooler). Those two cards are totally identical, one with 8x64MB GDDR3 chips (512MB), the other with 8x32MB (256MB). Their prices being 350 leva (~175?) for Sapphire HD3850 with 512MB memory and 310 leva (~155 ?) for Sapphire HD3850 with 256MB.
The single slot cooler is a single large piece of copper, covering both the core and the memory. The cooler of HD3870 is definitely much more effective, still HD3850 is expected to heat up much less. Yet it must be said that the lower power of the card is not well balanced with simpler cooler, since it was quite noisier compared to the two slot one, while reaching higher temperatures too.After the first hour of intensive testing the Sapphire sticker on the plastic over the radiator was unstuck from the heat (the plastic itself was difficult to touch). That happened on the both 3850, but after the testing we stuck them back so well that even our partners from Solytrade wouldn't notice :P
A macro of the PRO version of RV670...
The resting rig was assembled from our partnersSolytrade had the simple purpose of not just being the best but also the имаше the most reasonable decision. On one hand GeForce 8800GT and GeForce 8800GTS have a lot of power and a weaker configuration would be limited by the slower processor and memory. That is the so called Bottlenecking (we will shed more light on that later), created by the inability of the computer push the amount of information that the card can handle. On the other hand it is absurdly to make a review with processor for 1500$ or Memory for 500$, due to the fact that this is not the choice made by the majority of gamers, which only need something suitable for playing the latest games.
MSI P35 NEO 2
Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (9x333)
TWIN2X4096-6400C5DHX - 2x2GB 800MHz 12-5-5-5
36GB Western Digital Raptor 10 000 RPM
Corsair TX750W PSU
Sapphire HD3870 512MB GDDR4
Frequencies: 775MHz Core / 2250MHz Memory
Sapphire HD3850 256/512MB GDDR3
Frequencies: 668MHz Core / 1600MHz Memory
MSI NX8800GT - T2D512E - OC Edition
MSI NX8800GTS - T2D512E - OC Edition
XFX 8800GTS 640MB Alpha Dog Edition
MSI 8600GTS 512MB GDDR3
Sapphire 2600XT 512MB GDDR3
Sapphire 2900GT 256MB GDDR3
Software and drivers:
Windows Vista Ultimate x64
NVIDIA WHQL 169.25 Vista x64
ATI Catalyst™ 8.1 Vista x64