Alright before you start sending me emails, asking why was there no 2900 XT results in the benchmarks, simple. The XT and the 3870 card perform roughly equal with an positive exception for the 3870 here and there. Cramming up too many results in the performance charts make it unreadable and difficult to focus on. And I just had to include a GeForce 8600 GTS and the 8800 GT in there as these two cards are the direct competitors to AMD's new products.
Let's go through the products, the Radeon 3850 from HIS and TUL first.
I don't use "that" word too often in my reviews, but "frack" it, the Radeon 3850 is just miraculous. For roughly 150 bucks you can purchase the 256MB model, for roughly 199 USD the 512MB model. These two cards wipe the floor clean with the entire NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 range. I mean seriously .. if the prices stand as stated today then forget about any of the 8600 cards, the 3850 is the way to go. With a demonic 666 million transistors, full Avivo HD decoding this graphics adapter is feature packed, armed & loaded to play your games. But not only feature packed, it's the first mid-range priced series of cards in a very long time that is actually bringing a smile to my face. The 3850 cards just offer heaps of performance. In fact for comparisons sake, the 3850 cards performs close to the 8800 GTS series. Again, and that's in my personal opinion, they completely obliterate GeForce 8600, and that's the god's honest truth guys & girls.
The HIS Radeon 3850 256MB card initially made me wonder. Would there be a significant performance loss over the 512MB model. Well, in the higher resolution that most certainly is the case. But if you game at say 1280x1024 to 1600x1200, this is by far the finest card that money can buy right now. It's feature packed, loaded with all you need and comes with a pretty okay bundle, HIS is a company that likes detail and it shows in the packaging and bundled items. If you have roughly 150 bucks to spare, go run to the store and buy it. Also, and be sure NOT to forget this .. the 3850 cards have the exact same GPU as the 3870 my friends. There's nothing disabled in terms of shader cores, it's just clocked slightly slower. The HIS Radeon HD 3850 performed brilliant, no crashes, has a single slot cooler. In less than two weeks you'll spot the first custom cooled HIS products as well, ICEQ versions of these cards are almost finalized already. Great stuff for sure. We recommend the Radeon 3850 256MB from HIS highly if you are on the ~150 USD/EUR budget. True value, period.
The TUL Radeon 3850 512MB card then. Again, if you want that little extra. This might be the card to go for. In the higher resolutions and DX10 games with massive textures the extra 512MB can make a difference for sure. In fact for DX10 gaming I recommend 512MB or higher graphics adapters these days, but granted current generation graphics cards for both NVIDIA and AMD-ATI hardly can coop with DX10 anyway.
TUL will offer their card under the PowerColor brand, and optional comes with custom cooling. In this case the ZeroTherm cooler, now I only hope that they will fix the 100% RPM rotation of the fan as mentioned earlier, it's too noisy as it is right now. And if they manage to do so, this is an impressive card to get. Decent build, nice cooler, okay bundle .. and it comes default faster clocked making it perform in-between a reference 3850 and the reference clocked 3870. We expect the 512 MB product versions to cost roughly 199 USD; likely cheaper after high volume stock becomes available. And hey .. that's the same price level of a 8600 GTS, yet both the HIS and TUL products as shown will perform at the very least 30% better overall to the current leading 8600 product. Talk about bang for bucks my man. The only thing that can cast a back cloud over the 3850 is the 8800 GT 256MB priced under 200 USD. But considering the extremely low numbers on the 8800 GT that NVIDIA has available ever since the launch; I doubt that will be a reall issue in the upcoming weeks.
So in closing for the Radeon HD 3850 in general; these cards offer fantasic gaming performance and features for the money, but let's not forget, we have the new UVD engine on-board and what about that massively improved power consumption. Thermals can be discussed built meeh... it is what it is, but here we say... we'll encourage board-partners to look into custom cooling, we'd encourage that very much. We have decent overclock potential, and you can get four of them working together in CrossfireX mode. So you tell me... what is there not to like about the AMD Radeon 3850 in this price-range, seriously ?
I've contacted powercolor for you guys, as this already was a worry in our review.
Update: The Zalman cooler on the powercolor board does not allow the RPM to be changed, so the "100%" setting is completely fixed. Really silly if you ask me as it is too noisy. Be carefull and keep this in mind.
The HIS Radeon 3870 512MB card and the AMD reference card then. This one is a more difficult to position isn't it ? Again we have a very nice performing product for the money you have to pay for it. The card is loaded with everything you need and packed with the hippest features. Now if we pretend for a minute that the GeForce 8800 GT did not exists then for merely 249 USD and likely less, you'd have a card that would compete with the 320 and 640 MB GeForce 8800 models just fine.
The reality however is that NVIDIA pulled a green rabbit out of their magic hat and released a sub 249 product that in nearly any case is at least as fast or significantly faster than the 3870 and that's exactly the problem that the 3870 cards will face, the 8800 GT from team green. In AMD's defense, the availibility of the 8800 GT is just not good as there's just hardly any stock available anywhere in the world. So that's a tricky choice to make.
We do have to mention though, and although it'll be a minor update, the 3000 series are already DirectX 10.1 compatible so there are some other yet small gains in favor for the AMD products. Yes my friends the choice right now is not easy at all. But you know what ? that's good ... I like that. This means that there is competition in the market again. And that competition is something I have missed for nearly a year now. Product releases like these excite me (as you probably can tell).
It's again HIS that provided us some samples prior to the launch, so we can actually tell you how the product performs and what bundle you'll be receiving. There's nothing else to say that HIS offers a classy product and bundle for sure. Everything you need to get started is in that box wether you connect to CRT, DVI, HDMI .. buy a HIS product and you are good to go.
BTW the product as tested today was just announced at a 219,00 pricetag.
At this point I'm handing out two awards. Both HIS & TUL 3850 products for performance versus price will receive our hard to earn "Gaming essential" award. And although I like to see the HIS 3870 ICEQ version soon I think a "Guru3D Recommended" award is in place for the HIS and AMD 3870 in generic. I think it's pretty cool what AMD did here today when you compare it with the 2900 XT, don't you ?
So there you have it, I am truly excited about AMD's new ATI Radeon 55nm series 3000 products. These feature packed goods perform really well yet you are in the 150-250 USD product segment. The Radeon 3870 is really a great card to play games with, it performs at GeForce 8800 GTS level. And then that little devil jumping out of Pandora's box... for the money I think the Radeon HD 3850 is out of this world; if at this timeframe I'd had to purchase a mid-range product under 200 USD, for me there's would be only one choice... a Radeon 3850, plain and simple. And there's just no bigger compliment that I can make to AMD, well done guys !
My thanks go out to HIS technology for supplying us the RV670 samples. As soon as we have AMD's Phenom platform here we will continue with their products for some 2-3-4 way CrossfireX testing. But really, props go out to them for arranging this at such short notice. Secondly we thank TUL/Power Color for the RV670 sample, a quite fascinating product.
And last but not least thanks go out to the team at AMD for the support and RV670 sample, and for living with my annoying hails "has the card been sent yet?".
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 1024MB review Today a test and review on the new AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 1024MB. Obviously ATI is releasing a 1GB model to compete with the new Core 216 version of that GeForce GTX 260. The 4870 series really diggs that GDDR5 memory bandwidth, and what's the cheapest thing to do to gain some extra performance ? Increase the framebuffer volume. Now that by itself is not going to work miracles, yet in memory limited situations (loads of high quality textures, filtering and AA modes) it will help you here and there. And a little bit of extra bite is all the product needs to get beat that Core 216 card again.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 Crossfire A review with Crossfire results as well, on the all new Radeon HD 4850 from Force3D and PowerColor. Definitely a review worth reading.
AMD ATI Radeon 3850 & 3870 review Today AMD will launch the Radeon 3000 series products, in specifically the Radeon HD 3850 and 3870. I'll give you a quick hint, these cards are roughly as fast a Radeon HD 2900 XT .. yet they are priced a very promising level; how does a price range of 149 to 249 USD sound ? See, performance wise a 149 USD Radeon HD 3850 will wipe the floor with the entire competitors GeForce 8500/8600 series easily and the 3870 will put up a great fight with the 8800 GTS. With new releases often also we can see a couple of new tricks. Today's announced products will see light of in the form of DirectX 10.1 support, the new UVD (video de/encoding) engine is now integrated opposed to the 2900 XT which didn't have it. Full PCI-Express 2.0 support, and a die-size based on 55nm to die for.