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Which brand 3870 should I go for?

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January 2, 2008 10:22:40 PM

Hi,
I recently rebuilt my system, but I am only getting around to getting my graphics card now. After a bit of thought I decided that I would go with a 3870. I'm now just deciding which brand to go with, and the real dilemma over which is brand is the cooling system each implements.

One option is the HIS Radeon HD 3870 512MB GDDR4. This uses the 3870's usual cooling system of the dual expansion slot which channels the hot air out of the case.

The second option is the PowerColor Radeon HD 3870 "PCS" 512MB. This uses a larger HSF method, without the dual slot solution.

I believe that the PowerColor would be a cooler card but I think that most of the heat would remain in the case, while the HIS might get a bit too hot, but atleast the hot air will leave the case and not just get recycled around it.

The PowerColor has a slight speed advantage, but is a bit more expensive.

The PowerColor card has a slightly higher core speed of 800MHz over the HIS's 775MHz and a slightly higher memory speed of 2340MHz over 2252MHz.

Any opinions would really be appreciated.

My system is:
CPU: Athlon X2 6000+
M/B: Asus M2A-VM HDMI
RAM: A-DATA DDR2 PC6400 2048MB CL4, EPP Kit w/two matched DDR2 800+ 1024MB CL4
PSU: Hiper PSU ATX 530W Black
HDD: Seagate 200GB

More about : brand 3870

January 2, 2008 11:07:32 PM

To be honest most if not all 3870's can get to the HIS standard of clock speed with low temps. So save yourself a few quid an get the cheapest 3870 and use Catalyst Control Center's Overdive to get the most out of it ;) .

Powercolors card does have an aftermarket fan on it, so if you were going after air cooled that would be fine, unless you have a 64bit version of xp or vista that wouldn't work with ATITool or RivaTuner.
January 2, 2008 11:13:29 PM

hmm... i would go for the higher clocked card even if its a lil bit more expensive, i mean, you're gonna spend money already, why not spend a little more to get a better card? and more importantly, it saves u a slot, if you're worried bout cooling, i would do something that my friends already does...go to your electronic stores and try to find fans, i'll describe it the best i can because i can't find them on newegg to link you but i hope u knoe wut i mean. but they attach to the inside of ur case thro an adhesive (i believe?) and it has a bendable body, with a fan at the end, so its like a spot treatment fan. so wherever you think there are hot air problems, just bend the fan that way, i think its very versatile. i plan on using those for my next build in a month or two...friends have told me those extra fans help with their temps. oh yes, also if ur worried about airflow, why not get a case that has a lot of fans on it? im going w/the antec 900 myself. :) 
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January 3, 2008 12:07:35 AM

Here is a much better solution for you. I just saw this tonight on Fudzilla.

The new Sapphire Atomic Vapor-X HD3870. With it's new water vapor wick cooling system it allows the card to be clocked at 825MHz for the core and 2400MHz for 512MB of GDDR4 memory, which is way higher then reference 775/2250MHz.

The vapor cooling system cools 50% better than cooper and 50% faster too.

To see how the Vapor cooling wick system works click here:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...

To see the card click here:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...

Sapphire did a super job on the cooling solution. This is really great technology. It is like water cooling but with out the pump or the hoses.

It also comes with cold cathodes, big software package, case, cables and other extras. And it appears it is only going to be priced $10-$15 more than the current HD3870. What a bargain!
January 3, 2008 12:09:13 AM

Personally, I'd wait for Sapphire's Atomic series 3870 to come out. It uses a single-slot vapor chamber instead of the stock 2-slot cooler, and has a decent little overclock. The real bonus is that it ships with a 3 meter HDMI cable and the Half Life 2 Black Box. It's only supposed to be about $10 over regular price when it arrives, which should be fairly soon.

Here's a link to a review for it:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...
January 3, 2008 12:10:06 AM

RWayne, we apparently think alike. :) 
January 3, 2008 12:14:12 AM

chedrz LOL! Yeah I know. When is saw your post come in 2 minutes after mine I started laughing. Looks like you are on the cutting edge of technology like I am.

The new Atomic HD3870 is going to be one killer of a card. 2 posts on it with in 2 minutes. I think Sapphire is going to sell a bunch of these. This card looks like a winner.
January 3, 2008 1:08:42 AM

Btw the hdmi wire bundled with it is nine feet long.
January 3, 2008 3:40:20 AM

You may want to consider going with this OC'd 512MB 3850 card from HIS over any of the 3870's

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have seen articles that state it matches the 3870 in some benchmarks due to it's high overclock.

Plus it's blue ICE Q3 cooler just looks flat out awesome. It is very Quiet and does a superjob cooling, plus it vents air OUTSIDE the case which is really nice.

Here is some information on the card:

http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...

This card right now sells for $209 on newegg.com after $20 rebate. It would offer near equivlant performance of a 3870 for a cheaper price. The amount of $$$ you would save would allow you to buy a new game.
January 3, 2008 8:38:56 AM

Thanks a lot for all the replies, they really were helpful.

I really like the sound of this Sapphire Atomic Vapor-X HD3870, I was reading a few reviews and it sounds like a great card and the pack-in extra's make is sound like really good value.

The only concern I have is how long I will have to wait for it to come out. From what i can make out it's not out yet in the US, and since I live in Ireland we generally have to wait longer for new products. If it was going to be wuite a while before they release it I may just go and buy one of the other cards.

Once again I'd like to thank you all for the replies.
January 3, 2008 9:30:40 AM

I'm very dubious about the benchies - 35 fps for the ati and 25 for the 8800 gt?? come on!!?? I don't swallow that at all. I would like to see Tom's review this card.. (and PLEEEEZE include widescreen FOR ONCE...)

These were the Bens I mentioned:


http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...
January 3, 2008 9:31:20 AM

(in Crysis btw)
January 3, 2008 3:18:50 PM

Yeah, I know what you mean about the Crysis benchies, since ATI's cards seem to do worse in Crysis than the 8800GT. That one could be a fluke though. Either way, after seeing those benchmarks, I was tempted to wait around for an Atomic 3870, honestly.

Then I found an 8800GT for $250. Solved that debate pretty quickly. :) 
January 5, 2008 6:22:13 PM

rwayne said:
Here is a much better solution for you. I just saw this tonight on Fudzilla.

The new Sapphire Atomic Vapor-X HD3870. With it's new water vapor wick cooling system it allows the card to be clocked at 825MHz for the core and 2400MHz for 512MB of GDDR4 memory, which is way higher then reference 775/2250MHz.

The vapor cooling system cools 50% better than cooper and 50% faster too.

To see how the Vapor cooling wick system works click here:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...

To see the card click here:
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...

Sapphire did a super job on the cooling solution. This is really great technology. It is like water cooling but with out the pump or the hoses.

It also comes with cold cathodes, big software package, case, cables and other extras. And it appears it is only going to be priced $10-$15 more than the current HD3870. What a bargain!


What is the release date of the Sapphire Atomic Vapor-X HD3870? Looks like a good deal as it is single slot vs two.
January 5, 2008 8:23:43 PM

I think what makes Sapphire's Atomic 3870 such a good deal is all of the extra's they throw in with it.

From what I understand it should be out in 2 or 3 weeks. Basically before January is over with.

I found this website where they actually have a working Sapphire Atomic 3870 model on hand:

http://www.driverheaven.net/reviews/sapphireatomic/inde...

The benchmarks are impressive. Several benchmarks show it being at least 10 frames per second faster than the HD2900XT in different games.

There is tremendous value in this card. $15 more for a strong over clock with industry first water vapor cooling with an extra software bundle, cold cathodes and other goodies.

I am very interested in the release of this card.

I have to give Sapphire strong praise for going out on their own to create this technology. It is very uncommon for a GPU board partner to do something like this on their own.
January 6, 2008 2:34:25 AM

Ironnads said:
I'm very dubious about the benchies - 35 fps for the ati and 25 for the 8800 gt?? come on!!?? I don't swallow that at all. I would like to see Tom's review this card.. (and PLEEEEZE include widescreen FOR ONCE...)

These were the Bens I mentioned:


http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_atomic...



That's with 2X AA on medium, but I'm guessing that if you up the detail level to high and up the AA the 8800GT will take the lead significantly. Probably the 8800GT would do better in very high (DX10 only) as well, but would still struggle to offer truly playable performance. Would like to see some comparison benches on this as I'm just guessing based on other benches.
January 6, 2008 6:12:57 AM

neiljung said:
That's with 2X AA on medium, but I'm guessing that if you up the detail level to high and up the AA the 8800GT will take the lead significantly. Probably the 8800GT would do better in very high (DX10 only) as well, but would still struggle to offer truly playable performance. Would like to see some comparison benches on this as I'm just guessing based on other benches.


Doesn't ATI know by now that their FPS drops way done when using high AA? Why haven't they compensated for this?
January 6, 2008 8:59:35 AM

When does the need atomic card come out then??!! I'm well getting one
January 6, 2008 9:28:45 AM

anyone know when The Sapphires Atomic bundle comes to Australia?? im building a new system, should b finished in about 7 days but havnt decided on a card so far, i think it'll b a 3870 but not sure which brand, i would spend any amount of extra dough to get the Sapphire one!!!
January 10, 2008 3:43:59 AM

Would two Atomic 3780's in crossfire on a PCI-E 2.0 system match a 8800GTX in performance? Or would it be wise to wait for the 3780-X2 and go with that? However, I hear the price for the X2 will be around $500, which is about the same as two Atomics.
January 10, 2008 10:00:37 PM

I would be patient and wait until Feb or March.

Did you see Fudzilla today? They got pictures of the GeForce 9600GT and this card is going to be a Quantium leap in performance over the 8600GT. (unlike the nonexistent increase in performance from the 7600GT to 8600GT which only offered DX10 capability but no extra fraps in DX9 applications)

The 9600 GT will compete directly with the ATI 3850 cards. It will have 384MB of onboard 256 bit ram and the sucker scores over 10k on the 3D Mark06. It is built on a 65nm spin off of the G92 (called G94-300) and it going to be super stiff competition for ATI.

Even if you have no plans to buy from Nvidia wait until 30 days after the 9600GT has been released (Which will be Mid February). That should be enough time to allow AMD to drop their prices to compete with this card.

Here are the details on the GeForce 9600GT. This card looks BAD A$$! Expect very competitive pricing from Nvidia on this one.

Story of the 9600GT on Fudzilla.com:
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...

Pictures of the GeForce 9600GT:
http://en.expreview.com/?p=184

Oh, also the 8800GS cards are coming out also. I imagine they will compete with the 3870 cards.
January 11, 2008 12:57:13 AM

rwayne said:
I would be patient and wait until Feb or March.

Did you see Fudzilla today? They got pictures of the GeForce 9600GT and this card is going to be a Quantium leap in performance over the 8600GT. (unlike the nonexistent increase in performance from the 7600GT to 8600GT which only offered DX10 capability but no extra fraps in DX9 applications)

The 9600 GT will compete directly with the ATI 3850 cards. It will have 384MB of onboard 256 bit ram and the sucker scores over 10k on the 3D Mark06. It is built on a 65nm spin off of the G92 (called G94-300) and it going to be super stiff competition for ATI.

Even if you have no plans to buy from Nvidia wait until 30 days after the 9600GT has been released (Which will be Mid February). That should be enough time to allow AMD to drop their prices to compete with this card.

Here are the details on the GeForce 9600GT. This card looks BAD A$$! Expect very competitive pricing from Nvidia on this one.

Story of the 9600GT on Fudzilla.com:
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...

Pictures of the GeForce 9600GT:
http://en.expreview.com/?p=184

Oh, also the 8800GS cards are coming out also. I imagine they will compete with the 3870 cards.


I'm still waiting for the Q9450, so there is some time to see what happens in this area. The reason I was looking at ATI cards was due to the fact that the X48 motherboards are crossfire. You are right though, sounds like I would save a good deal since there will be some good price drops coming up.
January 11, 2008 2:51:57 AM

rwayne said:
I would be patient and wait until Feb or March.

Did you see Fudzilla today? They got pictures of the GeForce 9600GT and this card is going to be a Quantium leap in performance over the 8600GT. (unlike the nonexistent increase in performance from the 7600GT to 8600GT which only offered DX10 capability but no extra fraps in DX9 applications)

The 9600 GT will compete directly with the ATI 3850 cards. It will have 384MB of onboard 256 bit ram and the sucker scores over 10k on the 3D Mark06. It is built on a 65nm spin off of the G92 (called G94-300) and it going to be super stiff competition for ATI.

Even if you have no plans to buy from Nvidia wait until 30 days after the 9600GT has been released (Which will be Mid February). That should be enough time to allow AMD to drop their prices to compete with this card.

Here are the details on the GeForce 9600GT. This card looks BAD A$$! Expect very competitive pricing from Nvidia on this one.

Story of the 9600GT on Fudzilla.com:
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...

Pictures of the GeForce 9600GT:
http://en.expreview.com/?p=184

Oh, also the 8800GS cards are coming out also. I imagine they will compete with the 3870 cards.

Yeah the 9600GT sounds like a true Midrange card.
But the 8800GS won't compete with the 3870. The 3870 is faster than the 8800GT 256 how would the stock 8800GS compete with it? Nvidia is just trying to do everything they can to kill HD3800 sales. 9600GT, 8800GS 384, 8800GS 768, 8800GT 256, 8800GT 512, 8800GTS 512, 8900GX2 ( 2 8800GT), 9800GTX, 9800GX2 ( 2 8800GTS).

This is so freaking confusing!!!
ATi has HD3650, 3670, HD3850 256, HD3850 512, HD3870 512, HD3870X2.
Much less complicated.
The 9600GT might have some trouble though if ATI lowers the 3850s price.
January 12, 2008 1:02:37 AM

aznstriker92 said:
Yeah the 9600GT sounds like a true Midrange card.
But the 8800GS won't compete with the 3870. The 3870 is faster than the 8800GT 256 how would the stock 8800GS compete with it? Nvidia is just trying to do everything they can to kill HD3800 sales. 9600GT, 8800GS 384, 8800GS 768, 8800GT 256, 8800GT 512, 8800GTS 512, 8900GX2 ( 2 8800GT), 9800GTX, 9800GX2 ( 2 8800GTS).

This is so freaking confusing!!!
ATi has HD3650, 3670, HD3850 256, HD3850 512, HD3870 512, HD3870X2.
Much less complicated.
The 9600GT might have some trouble though if ATI lowers the 3850s price.
ATI should have room to drop the price because the 3850 cards should be cheaper to produce than Nvidia's cards with 65nm technology.

I am beginning to think that the 9600GT may just be pure hype from Nvidia. It appears that it will only have 192bit memory instead of of 256bit. That would slow it down some.

I am interested in getting a new card, but I think I am going to wait until March or April to get one. The prices should be REALLY good then. I am probably going to lean towards a 3850 or 3870. By then I expect them to sell at MSRP or lower. The MSRP of the 3870 is $219 with 512 MB of ram.
January 12, 2008 1:09:11 AM

Check out this headline:

Sapphire to Atomize more cards
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...
Quote:
Sapphire plans to make more Atomic edition vapor chamber cards and it looks like 36x0 series will get the Atomic cooler.

This is not all as Sapphire plans to use this one for the future high end cards including the 1GB ones that it wants to introduce in a few weeks. Sapphire executives told us that the market reacted positively on this product and that this was a good way to differentiate itself from all the other brands.

The cooler is better than anything else in the market and Sapphire wants to make sure that it can offer more to its customers.

January 12, 2008 3:05:06 AM

Hmmm after looking at the stats and whats supposed to come with that 3870 Vapor I think I wants it.... That shall be my next video card upgrade.

And I also think its nice to finally see companies doing something other than just using the reference design. Haven't seen such since S3 bought out Diamond multimedia, and 3dfx bought out STB back in the day.

And going by that OC it looks like we finally see at what clock speed the 3870 starts to beat out the 8800gt.
January 18, 2008 6:49:15 AM

I'm getting myself a Powercolor HD3870 512mb $245.00 here in Philippines
January 18, 2008 10:08:28 AM

I'm going to have to throw in another choice.

HIS ATI Radeon HD 3870 XT ICEQ3 TURBO 512MB
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-090-HT&groupid=701&catid=56&subcat=416

Overclocked to 850mhz core 2380mhz mem and it uses the proven ICEQ3 cooler. The only problem is that it is expensive at the moment. Thats the only place I could find it because it hasn't been released yet. As soon as a few more places have it the price will drop.

The sapphire atomic 3870 is also a very nice card. Best of all is the bundle. A 3m long HDMI cable is worth £50 alone. The only problem with it is that as nice as the cooler is it is still single slot.

The Powercolor 3870 PCS runs cooler than any other 3870. There is a subtle reason for this besides the good cooler, the fan doesn't throttle and sits at 100% all the time so it is a bit loud.

Here is are some reviews of the ASUS EAH3870 TOP 512MB.
Core 851mhz mem 2286 the downside is it uses the stock cooler.

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/01/07/asus_eah3870_top/1

http://www.elitebastards.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=518&Itemid=27

The reviews also give you an idea of how the HIS card will perform.
January 18, 2008 3:58:35 PM

Seraphic said:
Doesn't ATI know by now that their FPS drops way done when using high AA? Why haven't they compensated for this?


Its a downside of the cores architecture, and amazingly was a conscious choice made by ati. r700 might handle aa 'better' in that fps wont drop 30%ish when aa is enabled.
January 18, 2008 8:42:07 PM

I have a bad sapphire 3870. Sapphire has not returned any of my requests for TMA. The auto reply is it. It said, someone will contact me. Well. 2 weeks later and still not contact. I email every 3 days or so. nothing.

I will never buy another sapphire product. They will not back it up.
January 18, 2008 11:56:06 PM

I never had a problem with my Sapphire x1950GT, but I sent Sapphire 2 emails to thru their website and they never answered them.

I gave them over $100 of my money purchasing their product and they would not even answer 1 question from me or reply to my email.

I DID NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL! :fou: 

Sapphire customer service pretty much is non-existant.

However in all fairness I must mention I have not received email responses from HIS, XFX either. And the emails were real simple YES or NO questions too which a customer service rep with minimal training could had answered.

If you ever have a problem with a card It helps if you buy your card through a reputable e-tailer such as newegg.com. Their customer service is beyond good.

One other note. If you ever consider going with NVidia look at EVGA. They have a toll free # you can call and I got through under 2 minutes and the customer service was great. :wahoo: 

I like ATI's pricing and color quality but after my experience with EVGA it makes it hard not to go with them.

I think I am going to wait until the R700 comes out in Q2 before I make a GPU decision.

January 19, 2008 12:05:06 AM

I have to agree with Gpippas recommendation about the HIS ATI Radeon HD 3870 ICEQ3 TURBO 512MB.

From what I understand it is the higest clocked 3870 card right now and runs cool also.

I like the fact that it has a double slot aftermarket cooler on it to funnel hot air out side of the case.

The Sapphire Atomic runs cool also but any heat it generates is going to be exhausted in to the case.
January 19, 2008 7:07:33 PM

rwayne said:
The Sapphire Atomic is now available.

It is also far more expensive than I had expected. $299

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I ain't buying for that price.


Yeah, I made a post about it yesterday when I found the listing on NewEgg. However, they have a massive markup on the card. It should be around $260, but at $300 it is NOT worth it at all. Was going to buy two, but zero now.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/248017-33-newegg-huge...
January 19, 2008 7:16:57 PM

rwayne said:
The Sapphire Atomic is now available.

It is also far more expensive than I had expected. $299

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I ain't buying for that price.


That's a real disappointment, I have put off buying a 3870 for this, because I recently got a HDTV and thought the HDMI cable bundled in would be nice, but for that price I might aswell just get a different card and pick up a cable separately.
January 19, 2008 7:22:25 PM

im buying a hd 3870 tomorrow or on monday, i want a single slot cooler. so overall, which one should i go for??? i dont mind about faster clocks, i can overclock the badboy in ccc if need be. i know there isnt that much difference in them though!!!
January 20, 2008 8:15:25 AM

yeah, i see what your on about. only thing is that i live in the UK, so when i look at prices for myself, the 8800GT is around 20£ (40$) more expensive so it doesnt appeal to me that way. Even though it pwns the HD 3870... I've got until tomorrow to decide really, to do with my mums credit card bill haha. I know its off topic, but will there be enough e8200 to go around??!!
Thanks
January 20, 2008 12:27:23 PM

smyffalis said:
yeah, i see what your on about. only thing is that i live in the UK, so when i look at prices for myself, the 8800GT is around 20£ (40$) more expensive so it doesnt appeal to me that way. Even though it pwns the HD 3870... I've got until tomorrow to decide really, to do with my mums credit card bill haha. I know its off topic, but will there be enough e8200 to go around??!!
Thanks
Heck...If it is your mum's creditcard you are going to use then get a 8800GTX Ultra. Get two of them infact.

Oh! That's right. Three way SLI is available now. Better get a 3rd one for good measure.

You got an awesome mum.

January 20, 2008 4:23:28 PM

gpippas said:
If you must get it today which is single slot go for the

Powercolor 3870 pcs 512mb
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-079-PC&groupid=701&catid=56&subcat=416

I checked the prices and overclockers has it the cheepest for this weekend only. Otherwise they have it at ebuyer for about the same price. Its the cheapest single slot 3870. Otherwise go for one of the 3850 512mb cards.


cool mate. i might go for that bad boy!!!

Quote:
Heck...If it is your mum's creditcard you are going to use then get a 8800GTX Ultra. Get two of them infact.

Oh! That's right. Three way SLI is available now. Better get a 3rd one for good measure.

You got an awesome mum.


haha i wish!!! paying her back the money is the only problem though :p .
January 20, 2008 5:35:27 PM

Oh....

Well if she has the nerve to actually expect you to pay her back then you would probably best be off with an X1650Pro. :) 
!