This is the second Radeon HD 3870 we’ve reviewed, and we like it just
as much as the first. It doesn’t outrun Nvidia’s G92-based 8800 GTS 512
(reviewed above), but it’s a great value among midrange videocards.
We were so pleased with the price/performance ratio of AMD’s Radeon HD 3870 that we awarded Asus’s implementation of it a 9 Kick Ass verdict in our January 2008 issue. We’re not nearly as impressed with the gaming performance of the architecture’s cheaper cousin, the Radeon HD 3850.
We’re so accustomed to noise in the Lab that we’re often taken aback by its absence. We knew HIS’s new Radeon HD 2600XT would be quiet, thanks to the factory-installed Zalman iSilenceIII, but it still surprised us.
AMD’s decision not to compete with Nvidia’s best GPU left us puzzled, but the decision its manufacturing partners have made—to pair AMD’s second-tier GPU with a full gigabyte of GDDR4 memory—has us totally stumped.
Having designed the graphics architecture for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, ATI’s management had boasted for months ahead of its acquisition by AMD that its engineers were experts at designing the type of unified shader architecture envisioned by DirectX 10. Imagine our surprise when the R600 not only hit the market several months after Nvidia’s take on unified architecture but that the company’s best offering can’t compete with Nvidia’s top two GPUs.