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Diamond HD 3870 brief review

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 20, 2007 8:21:18 AM

So i just received my Diamond Card today. To my dismay the UPS delivery man left it at my door. Considering the opened delivery boxes and some stolen boxes in my apartment complex, i was thankful it was there in one piece after arriving home from work.

Old Card: EVGA 8800GTS 320mb Superclocked
New Card: Diamond HD 3870 512mb

So the game to test this new card out on, Crysis. I previously used an 8800GTS 320mb to play the game and it played soso. One of the major problems with the GTS that i noticed is that it wouldn't run most of my games at max resolution. That would be 2560x1600 (Dell 30"). Major pixellation would occur in TF2, kind of like snow on a tv but not moving. After playing with the settings, the culprit was the filtering as well as AA. I had to downtune the AA and filtering modes for all of my games to get the games to atleast look right. Smoothness naturally came afterwards.

In Crysis, with all settings at Medium, AA off, resolution at 2560x1600, the GTS would cause the game to crash after loading the first level. This problem, similar to my other games, required a bump down the resolution scale. Images were not as crisp however since my nvidia control panel would never apply my scaling options. Everything had to be fit to screen. Therefore image quality in games never looked as crisp as they could have been. (One sigh of relief in switching to ATi). AA could not be turned on, if it was on, Crysis would lag horrendously. I dared not try settings on High, since i experienced lag during fight sequences usually involving 2 or more enemies. entering and exiting the weapons customization menu took forever. You begin to wonder if the game locked up or your whole system just crashed. After on average of 13 seconds, the customization menu would finally apear. Im so glad that the game pauses when you do this. I cannot say the same when it comes to multiplayer. I have yet to try multiplayer but the time it takes to load that screen just wont fly. Unless you dont ever need to. Medium settings for the GTS 320 seemed to work well in general.

So i install the 3870 provided drivers, and in typical ATi fashion, my windows goes haywire after restarting. I find it interesting that Nvidia driver installations never do any harm to my system, only ATi. So after my first restart on a successful driver installation, my IE7 does not load webpages. The searching for webpage indication is on, (the rotating circle) however nothing displays on the bottom of IE and no page ever loads. Loading Windows Live messenger leads to an immediate software crash. Steam did not launch. Restart #2, mouse is disabled. Thinking that it just didn't load the driver, i proceeded to restart #3, then #4. Finally, i decided to unplug and replug in the USB. Voila. Restart #5, system runs smooth.

Now in Crysis, i turned all settings to medium, resolution to 2560x1600, and AA to 2x. The result is horrendous lag. I gotta say though i was expecting the game to crash, but it actually loaded and began play for level 1. I turn AA off and the game ran like a charm. A significant improvement is that the customization menu for the weapons took a lot less time to load. It averaged about 6 seconds per enter/exit. The visual quality obviously can be enhanced with High settings, and AA on, but it looks great so far to me and definitely very playable. I did not experience any lag of any type even when 4 people were shooting at me at once. This begs to begin testing the game with settings on High.

Considering that i payed $309.99 at the time for the GTS 320mb on Newegg and i payed $264 (229.99 + 18.97tax +15.00 shipping) total for my 3870, I am really happy with my purchase. Diamond might have sideballed me by adding an additional charge of $19 which turned out to be tax, after they charged me for my order of price + shipping, but Im really happy with how fast it arrived and how its performing. The shipping was processed on Friday and the package arrived Monday.

I gotta learn the commands for Crysis so i can tell the FPS and whatnot.

Now i just need to get my 2nd 3870 and see what wonders i can experience with Crossfire.

System Specs:
ASUS P5K deluxe Wi-fi/AP (P35chip)
Intel Core2duo E6850 Conroe 3.0Ghz
2gb Corsair XMS2 DDR2 1066
Western Digital Raptor WD1500AHFD 150GB
Cooler Master Real Power 550watt
Diamond HD 3870

More about : diamond 3870 review

November 20, 2007 9:09:54 AM

:cry: 
lucky!!

I have to wait till June/July for my gfx upgrade. Wonder if that'll be a good time. Maybe sweet price for two 3870s
November 20, 2007 9:45:25 AM

Anyone selling an hd2900xt, want it for crossfire.

Nice dude but HOLY CRAP, isn't that screen a bit on the big side? Look forward to hearing the 3870crossfire specs. (Go :pt1cable:  get quadfire)
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November 20, 2007 5:52:03 PM

Rabidpeanut said:
Anyone selling an hd2900xt, want it for crossfire.

Nice dude but HOLY CRAP, isn't that screen a bit on the big side? Look forward to hearing the 3870crossfire specs. (Go :pt1cable:  get quadfire)


The Dell 30" is truly a Beast. The resolution is huge so of course it demands a lot from the graphics card. I haven't seen many benchmarks for 2560x1600 resolution on 3870 reviews so i'll have to do my own analysis. Im sure i could crank up the settings for much lower resolutions. But thats the sacrifice i paid for having such a big screen. Also im not sure if my Cooler Master 550 watt SLi certified psu will be able to handle 2 3870's. But we'll see.
November 21, 2007 12:56:40 AM

Ok so the command for FPS in Crysis is "r_displayinfo 1". I just O.C'd the 3870.

Core: 860Mhz
Memory Clock: 1201Mhz

I tried starting the memory speed at a very high amount according to a review and it caused artifacts in game. I later realized that Testing the clocks in the CCC will usually permit such hich speeds, and the reviewer did not test it in game. After bumping it down from 1376-1366, it eventually locked up my system and a sever error occurred. So i started at 1201Mhz and the artifacting disappeared.

All settings on medium, AA off, 2560x1600 resolution.

Average FPS was 26. FPS dropped to 19 when using the scope. But overall the gameplay was great.



I'll try bumping up the memory speeds during thanksgiving when i have more time.
November 21, 2007 1:06:39 AM

LOL first person I've seen running Crysis 2560x1600 congrats man
!