AMD Radeon HD 3800: ATI Strikes Back


In the end, the Radeon HD 3870 Compare Prices on Radeon HD 3870 Video Cards is far from being a revolution, despite what its name and the Direct3D 10.1 compatibility might suggest. Anyway, thanks to its slightly higher clock, due to its greatly reduced process (55 nm), it manages to outgrow the HD 2900 XT on the majority of games, despite a smaller bandwidth (see averages next page), but it doesn't reach the level of the GeForce 8800 GT, which remains 11% superior when filters are disabled and 18% when they're enabled. However, this is all the more coherent with its aggressive price, since at less than $200 it proves to be 20% cheaper than the 8800 GT, whose availability will remain weak until January. The performance-price ratio is, as of today, slightly better for AMD, which took the opportunity to correct the consumption and noise level, without however matching NVIDIA, once again.

The Radeon HD 3850, on the other hand, displays performances 17% inferior (filters disabled but its 256 MB do not call for their activation) than the HD 3870, for a price 20% lower. First and foremost, it poses as the card that allows you to play decently at the lowest price, since the previous most powerful mainstream card, the 8600 GTS is highly surpassed (65% in 1280 x 1024, 74% in 1600 x 1200) and for a price barely more expensive. If you only have a $150 to put in a card dedicated to games and video decoding, this card proves to be perfect, and NVIDIA doesn't have anything on offer to match it, even if it counts on the arrival of the 8800 GT 256 MB, which should be, unless there's a surprise, more expensive and should suffer little availability.

It remains, however, disappointing that once again AMD hasn't been able to offer a card with a performance level outgrowing the new actual mainstream range. Besides, we can't help but regret that the manufacturer hasn't taken advantage with its new chip to correct its antialiasing problems and the number of texturing units, when looking at the profusion of power and bandwidth it must display to stay in the competition. Such a contribution would have been far preferable than supporting the future Direct3D 10.1 or the quad-Crossfire.

Performance Roundup

The averages obtained for each card and for each game exclude Crysis, which doesn't change the ranking, but simply couldn't be tested using the same resolution as the other games. Similarly, the numbers obtained with STALKER are found in averages taken with filters disabled, but since the game hasn't been tested with antialiasing on, it's excluded from the averages taken with filters, which boosts the card's results, STALKER being really demanding.

It should be noted that the Radeon HD 3870 places below the HD 2900 XT when there are only 3 games in which is this actually the case, but they are (TDU, UT3 and Call of Duty 4) those with a high number of frames per second and thus more weight .

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