ATI Radeon 4850/4870 Mix And Match With Radeon 3850/3870


Mountain House (CA) - If everything goes according to plan, we will see AMD’s new Radeon GPU launch this week. But there is more news to this announcement and we are thinking about one special item you are unlikely to hear about: During AMD’s Cinema 2.0 schmoozapalooza in The Americano restaurant in San Francisco we learned that your Radeon 3850, 3870 or 3870 X2 graphics card will hold extra value: Don’t get rid of your old card just yet.

A source close to AMD told us that there will be "inter-generation compatibility" between the Radeon 3800 and 4850: "Since they’re both DirectX 10.1 parts, there is no reason why those two should not work together. (...) We will probably not qualify this interoperability, but who stops you from trying?"

It appears that ATI did not integrate a driver lock or something else that would stop you from combining a 3870 card with a 4850 or with a 4870 model. Just keep in mind that these two cards need to include the same amount of memory. If you mix and match a 3850 with 256 MB of memory with a 4850 512 MB, the 4850 card will default to 256 MB. If you wonder whether you will be able to combine a 3870 X2 card with a 4850 board, our sources indicated that this scenario should work as well.

There is nothing not to like about this interoperability. I personally believe this is a big win for the consumer: How often do you have to throw you old card away when a new generation is introduced? Usually, always (well, at least, if you are among those who try to always have the latest and greatest.)

  • puterpoweruser
    I just bought two 4850's at best buy, waiting on a new AMD board to purchase and run these in crossfire. I had just purchased two 3870 OC's three weeks ago, so i exchanged them. It will be interesting to see how these cards mix together on benches compared to two 4850's.
  • ZootyGray
    This is the kind of idea that the original "Tom" would have pursued! To excess!

    I think it's a question of how does data flow - is it better with 2 cards or one - or 3? or 4? Now that would be an interesting review. However, I think results would be very driver-dependent. One interesting idea, however. And again I see quad cpu technology meeting quad gpu technology.

    I cannot help but think that a manufacturer of cpu's has a great advantage here. Combining cpu/gpu tek. But I don't know much about underlying tek that could affect this - but I think we will see this in a year. One chip or one card - a combo chip or an allinwonder mobo. Scary proprietary however. Almost sounds like Mac. But if it were cheap, green, and amd-"Game" rated, that would be the end of xbox, etc.

    I guess they are all the same anyway.
  • geckoar
    With the refresh of the Xbox 360 next year they are putting the CPU and GPU on the same die to cut down on heat and make the xbox maybe slim. But I think the Fusion idea is great.
  • Elect_T
    Hello all,
    I've tried to get a true from all the forums i've visited but seems to me that the conclusion is to get the combination of a 3850 512 DDR3 with a 4870 512 DDR5 as impossible in cross fire.
    I saw some screen shoots as it's being possible but i've tried and i cant get the menu to acivate the crossfire option. In final is it possible or gonna be? (with latest drivers?)

    q9300+thermaltake silent 775; 2x 1gb ddr2 800 corsair;nox coolbay 25 + nox urano 600w; (PC ATI 4870 512 DDR5 + PC ATI 3850 512 DDR3) = :( ; 250 gb sata2; ASUS P5K PRO