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Radeon 3850 the best option?

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January 9, 2008 9:21:30 PM

I've got a tight budget for an upgrade and want to get the best bang for my buck.

Will a Radeon 3850 perform significantly better than a 1950XT or 2600 pro if my mobo has a PCIe x16 slot instead of a PCIe 2.0 slot? Or will it only outshine the others if it is running on a PCIe 2.0 mobo.

Thanks in advance for your help.

More about : radeon 3850 option

January 9, 2008 9:48:19 PM

the 3850 will outperform any of those cards. especially the 2600 pro, which is quite slow.
January 9, 2008 9:49:26 PM

If you have a decent enough PSU, you might want to look into the HD 2900 Pro. You can overclock this beast to extraordinary speeds. If you aren't into overclocking, then definitely get the HD 3850.
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January 9, 2008 9:55:15 PM

Get the 3850. especially the 512MB version if you can afford it. the 2900 PRO is runs hot, loud, and is a power hog.
January 9, 2008 9:56:39 PM

xpdashxp said:

Will a Radeon 3850 perform significantly better than a 1950XT or 2600 pro if my mobo has a PCIe x16 slot instead of a PCIe 2.0 slot? Or will it only outshine the others if it is running on a PCIe 2.0 mobo.



There is virtually no difference in performance for a 3850 between a 2.0 slot and the older slots.
January 9, 2008 9:57:20 PM

Yeah, while you can OC the HD2900Pro, you can also OC the HD3850, and the HD2900Pro is criplped so even if you OC it it runs out of potential much quicker.

The best for where your budget sounds is the HD3850.
January 9, 2008 10:30:40 PM

how old is your motherboard and you dont really need a PCIe2.0 slot in new motherboards(P35 chipsets)
January 9, 2008 11:10:24 PM

I am planning on getting a fairly inexpensive mobo like this one for $86 at Newegg.

GIGABYTE GA-M61P-S3 AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100

With may be 2 Gb of inexpensive DDR800 and an Athlon 4000+ for a total upgrade cost of around $350.
January 9, 2008 11:25:40 PM

How is the 2900 Pro crippled? Are you thinking of the 2900GT? The 2900 Pro is just a slightly underclocked 2900XT. Sure it's a power hog, but it can easily reach 2900XT speeds, which is pretty much on par with the 3870 as far as FPS is concerned, sometimes even beating it. http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/15/amd_radeon_hd_38...
January 9, 2008 11:36:08 PM

I have an HD 3870 and it destroys my old X1800 XT, so if you can afford one of them that would be a good choice. Although, a 512mb 3850 OC'd would be a beast of a card compared to your old X1900. Either way, you won't be sorry...
January 10, 2008 2:33:15 AM

Does 3850 has Good DX10 performance on 1280*1024? Do you think i Can keep it for long time? (two or three years)???
January 11, 2008 2:08:00 AM

You can OC the 3850 to the 3870 level also. But The 3800 has much more advantages than the HD2000 series. Why do you think they would deve. it if it was worse than the R600?
Plus you can pick up a 3850 for real cheap.
January 11, 2008 2:35:24 AM

imeni said:
Does 3850 has Good DX10 performance on 1280*1024? Do you think i Can keep it for long time? (two or three years)???


That all depends on what games you'll be playing and what settings work for you. I'll keep my 3850 for two to three years when I get it with my income tax return, but in the third year, it might have to go Crossfire to keep up with new CRPG and RTS titles.

Overall, the 3850 is the best thing out of AMD this year. The 3870 is better, but I've seen comments on heat sink issues and you can't always find the 3870's at the suggested price. The 3850 is almost always available at stock.

I'll pay more for the 512 meg version. You should too, otherwise you'll be playing games at medium to high settings, but skimping on the textures.
January 11, 2008 3:47:09 AM

this is why I hate when they release new slots like this. reminds me of the change from agp 4x to 8x... there needs to be an audio file that plays for people the first time they make a thread that tells them that pci 2.0 is backwards compatable with 1.1, that you cpu is running slower when idle in windows because of cist, you only see 3.5 of your 4 GB of RAM because you are using a 32bit OS ect ect ect. we would have half as many posters...
January 11, 2008 4:50:13 AM

I'm not saying the HD 3850 sucks or anything, I'm just saying look at the benchmarks on THG. You can see that the 3870 stock and the 2900XT are pretty much on par. The 3870 beats it in, power consumption, heat, and it has DX10.1 and PCI-e 2.0 support. What I'm trying to propose is that the HD 2900 Pro is inherently better if you meet these conditions:

1. Have a very decent power supply
2. Have enough airflow in your case
3. Can deal with a very loud fan
4. Love to overclock.

People have been able to hit 940/1015 with it on the what I think is the stock cooler. If you don't meet all of those requirements, than the HD 2900 Pro is not the card for you.

Edit: the HD 2900 Pro can be had for only 159.99 at Newegg, which makes it cheaper too.
January 11, 2008 4:59:59 AM

IndigoMoss said:


Edit: the HD 2900 Pro can be had for only 159.99 at Newegg, which makes it cheaper too.


That's good. I'll still get the 3850, at the very least, but I'm glad they dropped the price on the two remaining 2900 Pro models. When the 3850 first arrived, the 2900 Pro was ridiculously priced higher than the 3870.

Since Phenom 45nm won't be out before May 8th, if an Inquirer article can be believed (where's my shaker of salt?), I won't be upgrading from an X2 to a quad core quite so soon, so why not a 3870 for me?

Still, for those on an even tighter budget, a 2900 Pro isn't bad.
January 11, 2008 5:33:17 AM

Yeah the HD 3870 is the end all be all as far as ATI is concerned. Best ATI card for the money, but the 3850 is up for debate. What I want to know is how good is it's OCing potential is, because that's my style. I like to get the cheapest part and make it scream. Sort of like my 3.2Ghz E6300. I also really like the fact that the 2900 has a 512-bit bus and 512mb of GDDR3.

So does anyone know the potential OC of the 3850?
January 11, 2008 6:25:01 AM

the 3850 overclocks pretty well. mine reaches over 3870 speeds on the gpu and the ram gets very close.
January 11, 2008 2:27:23 PM

What's it at? And what's your 3DMark?
January 11, 2008 3:05:35 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
...and the HD2900Pro is criplped so even if you OC it it runs out of potential much quicker.


I thought the 2900 PRO was just an underclocked 2900 XT.
Are you maybe thinking of the 2900 GT - or is there something I'm missing?

Assuming the 2900 PRO is just and underclocked 2900 XT, I'd get a 512MB PRO over a 256MB 3850.

Wouldn't touch a crappy 2900 GT with a 20-foot pole tho. :) 
January 11, 2008 3:18:30 PM

No, there's nothing you are missing. The HD 2900 Pro is just an underclocked XT, but the 2900GT is a cut down version of the underclocked pro.

That's what I've been saying about the HD 2900 Pro.
January 11, 2008 3:57:40 PM

Perhaps the Ape was referring to the lower core voltage on the HD2900PRO, which limits its overclocking capabilities. Either that or he got the PRO confused with the GT. Or he was wrong :heink: 

@ xpdashxp, a 512MB HD3850 is your best option. They can be had for under $200 at Newegg. PCIe 2.0 is not necessary for the current generation of graphics cards, so don't worry about that.
January 11, 2008 4:04:10 PM

cleeve said:
I thought the 2900 PRO was just an underclocked 2900 XT.
Are you maybe thinking of the 2900 GT - or is there something I'm missing?


No, my mistake. [:thegreatgrapeape:2]

Yeah I was thinking GT as I skimmed this, well hey it's been a long week after nailing that deer, that's my excuse. :whistle: 
January 11, 2008 4:07:57 PM

You can pencil mod and bios mod the Pro to push it up to a 1000 on core. What I would like to know is how would a HD 3850 perform against a HD 2900 Pro, both OC'd out to the max on stock cooling without mods.

The Pro has the advantage of memory buffer and a 512-bit bus. It also has a nice stock cooler, but it's loud.

I really want to figure this out, because I'm buying a new card in 2 weeks, and it's either going to be a HD 2900 Pro or a HD 3850 256mb.
January 11, 2008 5:28:27 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
well hey it's been a long week after nailing that deer


Whatever sexual deviency you perform on defenceless forest creatures is your own business. :heink: 

j/k. My heart goes out to ya, bud.
January 11, 2008 5:29:51 PM

IndigoMoss said:
I really want to figure this out, because I'm buying a new card in 2 weeks, and it's either going to be a HD 2900 Pro or a HD 3850 256mb.


If it's a 512mb 2900 PRO, it's no contest. Get the PRO - it'll let you use higher texture detail settings and perform better at high res, to boot.
January 11, 2008 5:42:45 PM

cleeve said:
Whatever sexual deviency you perform on defenceless forest creatures is your own business. :heink: 


Hey I'm working on it, it's either the woodland creatures or else appliances, and with energy costs being what they are nowadays.... :whistle: 

Quote:
If it's a 512mb 2900 PRO, it's no contest. Get the PRO - it'll let you use higher texture detail settings and perform better at high res, to boot.


Yeah definitely agree with that, whether you mod or not eventually the memory is going to be the limitation. Price/performance is one thing (since I find the HD2900Pro kinda pricey far too often) but just heads-up comparo, yeah I'd favour the HD2900Pro.
January 11, 2008 5:50:24 PM

Well like I said, it's $159.99 at Newegg. Which is even cheaper than the HD 3850 256mb on Newegg. Hell it's the same price as the 8600GTS 512mb on Newegg lol.
January 11, 2008 5:58:46 PM

I'd still recommend spending a little more for a 512MB 3850 if you can.
January 11, 2008 6:07:38 PM

True, but what card has more potential OC on a stock cooler? I'd spend a little more if the HD 3850 512mb can be overclocked to perform higher than a HD 2900 Pro.
January 11, 2008 6:23:05 PM

Most of the 512MB HD3850s on Newegg have aftermarket coolers on them. This ASUS card looks pretty beefy. Better than the stock 3850 cooler at least.

ASUS EAH3850/G/HTDI/512M
January 11, 2008 6:57:40 PM

Thanks everyone,

Lots of good information here. I am pretty much settled on getting the 3850, though I'm not buying for a few more weeks. Hopefully, in that time the 512Mb version drops enough to make it less of a reach for my budget. Otherwise, I'll have to content myself with the 256Mb version.

Thanks again.
January 11, 2008 7:09:26 PM

homerdog said:
I'd still recommend spending a little more for a 512MB 3850 if you can.


Why?

The 2900 PRO performs just as well as the 3850, uses essentially the same architecture, and has a 512-bit memory interface that's better suited to high resolutions.

The only reason to choose a 3850 over a 2900 PRO is that the 3850 is quieter and will use less power. From a pure performance standpoint, the 2900 PRO is the better bet.
January 11, 2008 7:12:11 PM

3850 is about same as 2900pro far as performance wise. 2900pro probably overclocks more and even beyond. The only thing is power consumption, noise while gaming, and moderately better HDCP support. Dx10.1 is a plus but useless for most.

If you don't pay for electricity bills than 2900pro isn't a bad deal for $170 and perform slightly better. But then again you can get 512meg 3850 for $30 more.
January 11, 2008 7:43:09 PM

I just bought a 3850 last month and could not be more satisfied.
January 11, 2008 7:51:40 PM

Nevermind about that card I posted. A HD 3870 with GDDR3, ick.
January 12, 2008 12:11:07 AM

That's still a mighty fine deal for a 3870, the Zalman vf700 is big, big plus.

Deciding on this guy or the Gigabtye 8800GT 512MB w/ Zalman
January 12, 2008 12:13:52 AM

Still not worth it. GDDR3 on a 3870 isn't cool.
January 12, 2008 12:54:56 AM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
No, my mistake. [:thegreatgrapeape:2]

Yeah I was thinking GT as I skimmed this, well hey it's been a long week after nailing that deer, that's my excuse. :whistle: 



Even if not intentionally you were correct. There is a 2900 Pro with a 256bit bus on the european market. To me that constitutes "crippled".
January 12, 2008 3:07:42 PM

cleeve said:
Why?

The 2900 PRO performs just as well as the 3850, uses essentially the same architecture, and has a 512-bit memory interface that's better suited to high resolutions.

The only reason to choose a 3850 over a 2900 PRO is that the 3850 is quieter and will use less power. From a pure performance standpoint, the 2900 PRO is the better bet.

The cut down memory bus on the 3800 series doesn't seem to disadvantage it in most cases. That isn't surprising given that a 512bit memory bus was never necessary in the first place.

As for overclocking, the 2900 PRO might go a little higher, but the increase in power consumption would hardly be worth it in my opinion.

@ xpdashxp, if it comes down to it and you can afford an HD2900 PRO but the 512MB HD3850 is out of reach, the 2900 PRO isn't a bad card; just make sure your PSU can handle it.
January 13, 2008 10:58:56 PM

homerdog said:
The cut down memory bus on the 3800 series doesn't seem to disadvantage it in most cases.


Comparing the 2900 XT to the 3870, sure... but the 3870 runs it's memory at 1125 MHz!

We're talking the 3850 here. Far lower clocks and memory speeds, memory at 800 MHz...

Remember, the 2900 PRO has almost the same memory speed as the 2900 XT: 800 MHz vs 825 MHz. And remember, 800 MHz on the 512-bit bus pushes the 2900 XT to get a little better performance at high resolutions.

The 2900 PRO hardly shows a performance decrease compared to the XT, however the 3850 shows a marked performance decrease compared to the 3870.

I'd wager the 2900 PRO wouldn't have trouble besting a 3850... performance-wise, it's a pretty clear choice. If power or heat is an issue, the 3850 loks better for sure.
January 14, 2008 12:00:17 AM

I don't doubt that an overclocked 2900 PRO could beat an overclocked 512MB 3850, but the margin of the victory wouldn't be huge. The increase in noise, power consumption, and heat output would be rather dramatic for the relatively small gain in FPS.
January 14, 2008 4:00:35 AM

Well you could always flash the card to a 2900XT, which is both easy and safe, to get the extra volts to the GPU, then you'd have your self a full blown, 2900XT overclocked, which I'm sure would beat a 3850 pretty bad.
January 14, 2008 4:24:00 PM

homerdog said:
I don't doubt that an overclocked 2900 PRO could beat an overclocked 512MB 3850, but the margin of the victory wouldn't be huge.


I'd doubt an OC'd 3850 could touch an OC'd 2900 PRO, based on the evidence I've stated in my last post. I'd even go as far as to say the performance lead is probably notable, and in the case of a 256MB 3850 vs. a 512mb 2900 PRO, quite large.

Goona have to test it out. :) 
January 14, 2008 6:26:27 PM

cleeve said:
Goona have to test it out. :) 

You lucky... :p 

I would be very interested in seeing the results of such a test. Remember though that we are interested in playability here, which benchmarks do not always convey. We need situations where the 2900 is playable while the 512MB 3850 is not. I predict that those situations will be few and far between.
January 14, 2008 7:36:44 PM

Heheh. Way to hedge your bets and minimize the impact of any performance differences before anyone even checks 'em. :D 

But if you want real-world playability, a 512MB 2900 PRO will allow for the highest texture settings to be enabled in game without a massive performance penalty; I can guarantee a 256MB 3850 won't be able to do that.

Based on that alone, I'd recommend the 2900 PRO. If it's a 512MB 3850, well, then - I expect the performance difference to be the same as between the 3850 and 3870 - that's pretty significant in my books.
January 15, 2008 3:24:19 AM

cleeve said:
Heheh. Way to hedge your bets and minimize the impact of any performance differences before anyone even checks 'em. :D 

Ah c'mon, I've got to have an insurance policy :) 
cleeve said:
But if you want real-world playability, a 512MB 2900 PRO will allow for the highest texture settings to be enabled in game without a massive performance penalty; I can guarantee a 256MB 3850 won't be able to do that.

I should make it clear that I am only referring to the 512MB 3850.
cleeve said:
Based on that alone, I'd recommend the 2900 PRO. If it's a 512MB 3850, well, then - I expect the performance difference to be the same as between the 3850 and 3870 - that's pretty significant in my books.

I like that prediction.

So are you really going to give us some benchies? Even if I have to eat crow I'd still like to see them.
January 15, 2008 5:29:55 AM

Ah. A little confusion going on. The op said "I really want to figure this out, because I'm buying a new card in 2 weeks, and it's either going to be a HD 2900 Pro or a HD 3850 256mb." So that's what I've been basing my arguments on.

Regardless, I'm going to see if I can set up a bench comparison. I'm going to have trouble getting my hands on a 2900 PRO; nobody is pimping them, so they won't be supplying any samples. But I could certainly simulate one by underclocking a 2900 XT.

I should be getting a 3850 PRO in the near future, so I'll give it a whirl then... :) 
January 15, 2008 11:14:45 AM

Good deal. What's a 3850 PRO?
!