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Old November 14, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Default AMD answers the 8800 GT...

Today we get our first look at the new AMD/ATI Radeon HD 3870 designed to take on the recently released GeForce 8800 GT from Nvidia. While the Radeon HD 3870 looks overwhelming on paper when compared to the GeForce 8800 GT, we have found in the past that on paper and real-world gaming are two very different things. Can AMD/ATI pull a rabbit out of their hat with this one? It has been a rough road for AMD and their R600 architecture and while we did quite like the Radeon HD 2900XT, it was far from perfect. After much delay the new Radeon HD 2000 series was released on the 14th of May 2007, some six months ago now. However in that time these graphics cards have failed to do any real damage, as Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 series continued to sell like hot cakes. Making matters worse was the recent release of the GeForce 8800 GT, which costs less than a GTS yet performs much like a GTX.

Today we have AMD’s swift answer to the GeForce 8800 GT, which is based on the RV670XT core using a 55nm design process. This version features just 512MB of onboard GDDR4 memory clocked at a staggering 2400MHz, using a 256-bit wide memory bus. Combined with a core clock of 775MHz, the Radeon HD 3870 has a memory bandwidth of 76.8GB/s, which is 33% greater than that of the GeForce 8800 GT.
In fact on paper the Radeon HD 3870 looks to be a more impressive product when compared to the GeForce 8800 GT. The GeForce 8800 series brought a shift in GPU functionality and capability, moving away from the traditional pixel and vertex shaders we had become so familiar with, to a collection of floating point processors also called Stream Processor Units (SPUs). The 8800 GT version features 112 SPUs clocked at 1.50GHz. Then we have TAUs (Texture Address Units) of which the 8800 GT features 56, along with 16 ROPs (Rasterization Operator Units).
The Radeon HD 3870 on the other hand features a staggering 320 (64x5) SPUs, while there are 16 TAUs and just 16 ROPs. While the 8800 GT features a core speed of 600MHz, the 3870 runs at 775MHz, which is a 29% increase in core frequency. The 8800 GT features 1.8GHz GDDR3 memory while the 3870 operates its GDDR4 memory 33% higher, at 2.4GHz! The 8800 GT is a DirectX 10 compliant graphics card while the 3870 does support DX10.1 which is interesting. Finally while the 8800 GT did move to a smaller 65nm design, the 3870 die has been shrunk down to just 55nm which should help make the 3870 a more efficient product.
Interestingly the Radeon HD 3870 is said to go on sale at just $240 US, making it even cheaper than the GeForce 8800 GT. AMD has made claims that the 3870 will in fact be faster than the 2900XT and really for them to have any kind of real success with this product it has to be! Already we know very well what the 8800 GT is capable of and for the vast majority of games out there it is superior to the 2900XT. So while it is crucial that the 3870 be priced extremely aggressively, it really does need to outperform the 2900XT and it needs to do so convincingly. Should this be the case, I am confident AMD can deter many potential 8800 GT buyers with the 3870.

Legion Hardware

It should be noted that these numbers will only improve as these benches were done using unoptimized drivers.
Also this will be priced cheaper then all the HD2900's so it compete directly with the 8800GT...price war = we always win!
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