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Difference between 256MB and 512 MB HD3850???

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 5, 2007 5:02:53 PM

I see that newegg now has 2 models of the new 512MB version of the ATI HD3850. Anyone know of any tests/experiences with the 512, as compared to the 256 or to the 3870? I am watching this one closely, because it may be my Christmas present...

So:

a) is it a killer step up from the 256, that brings even greater price-performance than the 256?

-or-

b) is it in no man's land between the 256 3850 and the 3780--i.e., might as well pay the difference and get the 3870?

Curious if anyone has heard anything yet. Haven't seen any reviews. Seems like if there is only a ~$50 difference between the 3850 and 3870, there isn't much room for the 512 3850, unless space/heat restrictions dictate the 3850 series over 3870.

Thanks everyone!
December 5, 2007 5:55:22 PM

a

The 512MB model is only $20 more than the 256MB one, so that's an easy decision.
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December 5, 2007 6:08:06 PM

a) It can be. Depending on the texture quality and resolution and games you play on this card the additional ram can make all the difference. Playing at 1280x1024 on High in UT3, probably wont notice the difference between the two cards, however at the same settings in Crysis it wont be playable on 256 version. I am excluding AA/Anistrophy. To some, a rear exhausting 2slot cooler means a lot which is available on /some/ of the 512meg 3850s. They use a very similar or almost exact version of the 3870 cooler from the same make.

b) You mentionned it may be your xmas present. If that is the case, the value difference between the cards would depend on the spender.
December 5, 2007 6:22:57 PM

praeses said:
a) It can be. Depending on the texture quality and resolution and games you play on this card the additional ram can make all the difference. Playing at 1280x1024 on High in UT3, probably wont notice the difference between the two cards, however at the same settings in Crysis it wont be playable on 256 version. I am excluding AA/Anistrophy. To some, a rear exhausting 2slot cooler means a lot which is available on /some/ of the 512meg 3850s. They use a very similar or almost exact version of the 3870 cooler from the same make.

b) You mentionned it may be your xmas present. If that is the case, the value difference between the cards would depend on the spender.


All good info. Thanks everyone.

The articles were certainly a good start--but I would like a more direct comparison to stock 3850, and 3870.

I had heard that the extra memory doesn't make a difference unless you are running high resolutions/big monitors. But I also heard that it is an unequivocal positive in today's games. I have a dual 17" configuration, so when I am gaming on a single 17", any resolution over 768 seems to be overkill. But that said, if extra memory still helps the cause, it sounds like a good thing.

Since I am running Crysis, any positive impact on its performance would be...well...positive.

I know that $20 makes it an easy choice over the stock 3850, but the same reasoning leads me to the ~$20 more expensive 3870. Its got to end somewhere (or does it?) ;) 

At some point in your life, determining who "pays for" Christmas presents just becomes semantics. You will know it when you get there... ;) 

December 5, 2007 6:54:37 PM

By the dual 17" configuration, are they standard 5:4 17" LCDs? I would highly recommend running them at their native resolution especially while gaming or reading text. You stated anything over 768 seems to be overkill, if you mean 1024x768 there will be some rather annoying interpolation which induces small artifacts everywhere going from that resolution to a full screened (no borders) 1280x1024. You may not be able to see the difference from 10ft back but at 3-4ft its quite significant.

Performance/dollar increases are never linear and the best bang for your buck to play any game today on a 17-20" LCD at native resolution/medium settings does still lie within either the 3850/3870. I am pretty sure this is why you listed those as your two options. If $20 is neglible for you between the 3850 512 and the 3870, you may as well hop on the 3870 bandwagon. The next logical step up is the 8800GT which is another $40-$50 premium.

If I were to say the 3850 512 is the minimal requirement for smooth gaming for a good year or so, and the 3870 is 10% faster for 10% more, it looks fairly linear. The next question is, is the 8800GT 33% faster for its price difference over the 3850 512? Probably not in which case the 3870 is where it may stop for now. This is only valid though if you trust/believe me when I say the 3850 512 is the minimum requirement.

My relationships last < 2 weeks, I know I always pay for the gifts.
December 5, 2007 7:19:57 PM

I certainly checked Tom's Hardware--both reviews and forums, and didn't see any direct comparison or analysis between 256 3850, 512 3850, and 3870. I would never have wasted everyone's time if I had found something....;)

As for resolution, my main 17" is a 1050 resolution 4:3, and I run it that way for general use. For gaming, I try to run it as 768 where possible because my ATI 850PE VC chokes on the higher resolution. I didn't even try 1050 with Crysis, because others (e.g., BF2142) mandated no higher than 768.
December 5, 2007 10:21:09 PM

Quote:
Check the front page of THG, THG already reviewed the cards, didnt you even look before posting? All your questions were already answered in the review. :sarcastic: 

The 256mb 3870 will most certainly outperform the 3850 512mb. So if its the same price, go for the 3870.

What the hell are you talking about? There is no 256MB 3870.
!