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Old December 14, 2007, 01:22 AM
Jmac Jmac is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Van Isle, BC
Posts: 550

Okay, so I got the RAM and GPU today (oddly enough, the CPU was not shipped and was not charged through).* Installation was a major pain in the rear end as I was not expecting the HD 3850 to be as large as my 8800 GTS.* Combined w/ a 600W SLI-capable PSU (tons of connections) that has extra-long cables, it made for some very interesting and ugly installation work.* Basically, most of the cables are crammed in the only decently-sized empty spot I could find, which is the hard drive bay.

After installation, I fired her up and she booted up really quick (<30 seconds from power to into Vista, which would be quick for XP, let alone Vista where 1 minute plus is very common, even for rigs w/ 2 GB of RAM).* I immediately installed the Catalyst drivers, restarted, then did some tweaks to the background services, startup programs, page file, etc.* After the subsequent restart, I ran the Windows Experience Index benchmark (Vista's built-in benchmark software).* Here's the before and after:

Looking good so far, other than the CPU (which will be upgraded when it arrives).* Graphics scores are maxed out, showing promise.

I then installed 3DMark06 and attempted to run it.* Unfortunately, it kept locking up on me.* I checked out Futuremark's site to see if there was a newer version and discovered there is a hotfix available to solve compatibility issues w/ the new 8800 GT(S) and HD 3800 series cards.* After installing the patch and restarting the computer, I then ran the benchmark.* It scored a 5720, which is okay (I forgot to take a screenshot) ...* certainly nowhere near what the HD 3850 is capable of, but a hell of a good score considering I have less than $400 invested into what's currently running.* Keep in mind that the CPU score was less than half of what my stock 3800+ X2 scores in XP (as I've said time and time again, single core CPUs have no business running Vista).* The HD 3850 actually beat out my 8800 GTS by a small margin in the SM 3.0 section, although the 8800 GTS won the SM 2.0 section by a small margin, so they were pretty even.* When I get the 4800+ X2 in, I expect it to hit a minimum of 7000.

Pics !

Shot of everything (except the PSU and CPU) before installation.

Graphics Card Box - Pretty plain for such as fast card.

Memory ...* No fancy heatsinks, so I just took a picture to show what it is.

The power supply - Ultra XFinity 600W PSU.* Very nice PSU, well-built (copper heatsinks inside, 105*C caps, lifetime warranty), tons of connections and long, flexible cables.* It is pretty loud, though, despite the Low Noise advertisement on the box.

Inside the case before installation - Pretty sparse.* We'll take care of that ;)

Seagate 120 GB Hard Drive

Stock PSU - Hipro 250W ...* Enough power to power what's in it.* Don't even think about running even a basic graphics card off this thing.

Power ratings for the Ultra XFinity - much beefier ...

Inside the GPU box - HDMI adapter, VGA adapter, Component adapter, CrossfireX connector, and, of course, the main attraction.

Pictured - 8800 GTS 640 MB, HD 3850 256 MB, and GeForce4 MX 440 64 MB.* I couldn't find my old Ti4200 for reference and my new 7600 GT hasn't arrived back from Gigabyte yet.* These high-end cards are massive compared to cards from a few years back.

Close-up of the HD 3850 ...* Very nice looking card, although very ...* vibrant (although that's usually the case w/ ATI cards).* I would've liked to have seen all solid caps and a dual slot cooler, but I guess you can't have everything when you're only spending $170.

Pic from the side of the cards.

HD 3850 beside the only ruler I could find.* Junk mail comes in handy sometimes.

Everything installed; bad angle, little blurry.* You can see how nicely the power supply fingerprints up :)

Top shot of the case.* Like I said, I stuffed the cables where they would fit, which is right at the hard drive bay.* You can't really tell from this angle, but the cables are compacted as much as possible so I can get the side of the case back on.

Bottom of the case looking up ...

Top-Font of the case looking toward the bottom-rear.* This angle gives you a better idea of how cramped it is.

More to come when I get the CPU upgrade in.

Last edited by Jmac; December 14, 2007 at 01:28 AM.
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