Diamond Multimedia Radeon 3800 Woes

If you can read this text your card has not failed. On a serious note – AMD partner Diamond Multimedia is reporting that it has shipped 15,000 up to potentially 20,000 Radeon 3800 series cards that suffer from an apparent ‘design / manufacture’ defects. These cards were reportedly shipped between January and July of this year.

Cards that were affected include all Radeon 3850 cards with 512MB of memory sold in that specific time frame along with a large number of Radeon 3870 and 3870 X2 cards. Claims are that the 3850 cards have “quality issues with poor soldering and integrated memory problems” while the 3870 cards suffer from bad resistor values that can “result in computers not starting up and system crashes.

These issues came to light in Alienware systems (now owned by Dell), where over 10 percent of Radeon 3870 X2s, over 2 percent of 3870s and nearly 8 percent of 3850s outright failed. Alienware ended up returning 2,600 graphics cards and cut its business ties with Diamond Multimedia because of these problems. For the record, Diamond did not actually manufacture the boards – they instead purchased them from ITC. ITC is a company that also sells its own cards under the GeCube brand.

Quoting CEO Bruce Zaman in saying that his firm indeed encounted an isolated issue with “one vendor” that used inadequate power supplies. Diamond added in a separate statement “We do not have any extraordinary customer call reports for HD 3850, 3870 512MB boards.” Alienware was supposedly using sub-par 750W power supplies in affected systems and the flaws “apparently affect very few users.” For those people who are encountering such issues should have no troubles getting their graphics cards replaced.

So who is really to blame here? The manufacturer of the boards, or the fact that sub-par power supplies were being coupled with them? The situation seems to be a he-said , she-said situation. Thus you may draw your own conclusion. It is known that utilizing poor power supplies can cause users all kinds of hardware grief including, but not limited to complete hardware failures.

  • invisik
    its not alienware fault. 750w is enough for 3 3870's.
  • estreetguy
    I think he meant the power supplies themselves being sub-par or "cheap" - not the wattage you dingdong.
  • ira176
    I bought a Diamond HD 3870 around february, and installed it, and it wouldn't output a video signal. I sent it back to Fry's without any hassel. I did try to get on Diamond's site before I sent the card back, to see if there was any help, but it was non-existant. I ended up buying an MSI HD 3870 which installed and worked flawlessly.
  • zenmaster
    I doubt the AlienWare PSU was substandard for a moment.

    If it was, then AlienWare would be replacing the GPUs and the manufacturer would not have accepted the returns.

    Especially since AlienWare cut business ties. So accepting the return was clearly not a means to save the relationship.

    The response by GeCube was simply BS.
  • megamanx00
    Yeah I don't think I'll be buying any GeCube cards. Man I hope that doesn't affect my ASUS 3850
  • I bought a 3870 X2 from Fry's in April and haven't noticed any major problems...

    My PSU is only 550 watts too.
  • neiroatopelcc
    Even a poor quality (q-tec and the like) 750W psu should be able to pull a 3850, and they had a 8% failure rate too, so it's definetly not the psu. And with the pricetags on alienware mashines I think they could afford a proper psu anyway....

    I wonder who covers the costs though? the manufacturer or diamond?
  • monsta
    My 3850 gave me nothing but trouble so I threw it out, never to buy ATI again.This just validates it for me.
  • neiroatopelcc
    Demonhorde while your post is completely useless, it's also filled with typos! Anyone with mediocre or poor knowledge of english, is bound to fail, when trying to understand it!

    It doesn't matter who's fault it is, that the cards are failing.
    At least not with regards to invisik's claim that a 750W psu can handle 3 3870s.
    "extreme power supply calculator lite 2.5" returns 727W when I selected a high end desktop system with a 9950 cpu overclocked to 3ghz and 2x 3870 x2 in crossfire (it didn't have 3cf options, which require LESS power). I also picked 2 ddr2 sticks, 2 7.2k drives, a dvdrw and 4 120mm fans along with front lcd, fan controller and cardreader. Oh and I set aging to 10% (roughly 1-1½ year old psu). So you're the biggest dumb whatever-it-is-the-stars-mean!

    And monsta merely stated that his ati card has only given him trouble. He didn't mention who's fault that is. And probably he's right. My x800 pro was rubbish when I had one. Fast but with poor drivers. And my current hd4870 broke my vista and forced me to run xp (8800gtx ran vista just fine for 1½ years). So I second his suggestion to stay out of harms way by not picking amd/ati. But I am not going to say who's at fault for the problems we poor ati users experience. That must be up to experts, of which you aren't one.
  • wavebossa
    Demonhorde does have a point. If one ati fails you and you decide to never buy from them again your only real choice is Nvidia. Ultimately, one Nvidia card will fail you down the line (it happens). So if you apply the same standards, you'll just be a whiner without a graphics card.

    Obviously this is Diamond's fault and they are to blame, but anyone who has been around hardware long enough will tell you that when you buy your own parts, this will happen sometime or another.

    Don't buy from Diamond again, but shutting out ATI completely because of this is ludicrous