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Radeon HD 3850 vs. 3870

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 18, 2008 2:49:31 AM

Hi, is it worth it to spend the extra $30 or so to get the 3870?

For example, this Radeon HD 3850 with 512MB GDDR3 memory for $99 versus this Radeon HD 3870 with 512MB GDDR4 memory for $129.

I do not want to use nvidia because there are no free 3d drivers for linux. On the contrary, AMD is cooperating in the development of the free x.org radeonhd driver.

Besides, I am not sure how much the GeForce 8800 GT 512MB outperforms the HD 3870 512MB. In the "Sum of FPS Benchmarks 1280x1024" with no anti-aliasing, the HD 3870 scores an average FPS of 539.50 whereas the 8800 GT scores an average of 564.20. And, the lowest price I find on newegg.com for the 8800 GT is $110. Not to mention the fact that it's using GDDR3 whereas the 3870 is using GDDR4. The FPS benchmark on Tom's Hardware doesn't specify which version is being tested, so in theory the 3870 could perform better than the test results show.

Anyway, like I said, I need the ATI for the free linux driver support. So back to my question. How much performance difference is there between the HD 3850 and the 3870 and does it justify an extra $30-$40?

More about : radeon 3850 3870

September 18, 2008 2:54:55 AM

The 8800GT is better than the 3870, I would get that. The fact that the 3870 has GDDR4 does not necessarily make it faster.
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September 18, 2008 2:55:52 AM

how bout the new 4670? it sometimes edges the 3870 and its only $80 :) 
September 18, 2008 2:59:55 AM

I'm not sure if it has working linux drivers yet but you might want to check out the HD 4670. Usually performs between the 3850 and 3870 without AA but does better with AA. It also draws a reasonable bit less power than the 38x0 series cards. There are numerous reviews online if you google HD 4670. Newegg offers 3 models, a Sapphire with stock cooler and MSI with a non-stock cooler for $80 and an HIS with their IceQ cooler for $90 (but w/$10 MIR). At this moment the Sapphire is out of stock, but all 3 cards have been alternatingly in and out of stock since their release last week so I would expect them to have stock again in a few days.

-mcg
September 18, 2008 3:01:26 AM

ahslan said:
how bout the new 4670? it sometimes edges the 3870 and its only $80 :) 


4670 performs 12-18% lower than 3870 (depending on resolution and aa/af levels) while being $20 cheaper (see benchmarks). So as far as fps/$ ratio is concerned, yes, 4670 is the better deal.
September 18, 2008 3:01:41 AM

ahslan said:
how bout the new 4670? it sometimes edges the 3870 and its only $80 :) 


In a perfect world, I would do that. But the free x.org radeonhd driver is just now starting to get 3D support for the R600 series. It won't have 3D support for R700 for a while.
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