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Old April 4, 2008, 08:40 PM
-n7- -n7- is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Edmonton
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First off, thanx for reading through my little review! :)

I've had an 8800 GTX since early last summer which has served me decently well.
You can see a review i did of it vs. an HD 2900 XT 1 GB last summer here.

I wanted to try out the HD 3870 X2 to see how it was though; hence this review.

Pics:




Thoughts on the cards:

Everyone knows the 8800 GTX is a fantastic card.
It's been at the top (or very near to) for quite a long time now.

I've been happy with mine for the most part, excluding how problematic nVidia's drivers have been.
Stability & issues in games with their drivers has been an issue since the very first day i bought the GTX, & that hasn't gone away.
The current drivers are much improved, but i'd say they've got a ways to go.

As for the new HD 3870 X2, here's where the story gets ugly.

I'd say that most everyone who's seen my posting knows that i've never been a fan of SLI or Crossfire.
I've pretty actively suggested against it, citing the numerous drawbacks associated with multi-GPU setups.

So why do i have a Crossfire combo card?

As mentioned, for one thing, i wanted to try it out, as it's hard to gauge things entirely from reviews & user opinion.
And this way, i can speak from experience.

So what do i think of the HD 3870 X2?

Not very highly, let's sum it up that way.

Pros:
- dual displays work flawlessly; kudos to AMD for getting this right; :down: to nV for still not getting this at all in SLI
- good performance in certain titles the drivers are obviously optimized for, especially Source engine stuff.

Cons:
- basically everything else

Too harsh?
Well, here's why.

- as usual with AMD, cooler is loud under heavy load.
Fortunately it's quiet when idle, & even under load it's not bad, but the fan design is the same loud crap they've had since the dual slot cooled X1800s.
- horrible minimum fps in pretty much all games.
I knew this would be an issue beforehand, but now that i've dealt with it, i'm not impressed at all.
Maximum fps is higher, averages are sometimes better, sometimes worse, depending on the title, but minimums are crap.
- chugging in Crysis, HL2: Episode 2, COD4, & likely other games even when fps was fine
I don't know how to really explain it, but while fps are great, it feels like the rendering is behind a tiny bit, & then it catches up, & feels really strange.
I imagine there's another name for this, but whatever it is, it's crap.
- garbage performance in titles not heavily optimized for
Basically, getting the performance of one card vs. two when the game doesn't like CF (or SLI, no doubt), which is not fun or ideal at all.
- Edit: Seems there's a hotfix needed to fix an issue where the card gets stuck in 2D mode sometimes, which results in horrible performance.
This caused me a lotta grief until i discovered this, as i thought CF wasn't working right.
Would be nice if AMD mentioned this is a major issue when you download the drivers instead of having to fight with it with no clue what's going on.


This does not affect the benchmarks i posted, as i only posted the results from when the card was working right, & rechecked after applying said hotfix.

So in summary, the HD 3870 X2 will be getting returned, & the GTX will remain in my system once again.

Last edited by -n7-; April 5, 2008 at 03:50 PM.
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