HIS Radeon HD3870 Review & Crossfire Performance Preview

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     November 14, 2007

HIS Radeon HD3870 Review & Crossfire Performance Preview

Manufacturer Product Page: TBD
Product Number: H387F512N
Availability: Now
Warranty: 1 Year
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Into the wilds with AMD and ATI

In the last year, ATI has undergone more changes than can be included in the scope of this review but it is sufficient to say that it has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride for the company and their longtime customers. Soon after their purchase by AMD, ATI released their eagerly anticipated yet long-delayed HD2900XT (R600). It was a power hungry space heater that was priced to compete with the Nvidia 8800GTS cards and did very well in that respect (even though the jury still seems out on this) but unfortunately, it did not win many consumers over. In the end, ATIís late flagship ended up being pitted against an Nvidia card that was already firmly entrenched in the performance category. AMD is trying mightily to right some of the slip-ups that were committed by ATI during the 2900-series launch by pressing for an aggressive release schedule of new cards coupled with firm availability dates. AMD has promised an end to the paper-launches of years past and seems to be making quite a bit of headway with this since the release of their HD2600-series cards.

All of this leads to today, where a new day is dawning for ATI with the release of their new HD3870 and HD3850 cards. AMD is making some huge strides to make sure history doesnít repeat itself by stocking the retail channel with cards for the launch of these cards. Indeed, we have heard from numerous retailers that both the HD3870 and HD3850 will be in-stock on launch day but due to the perceived popularity of the HD3870, supply may be a bit tight for the first week or so. To make matters even better (as if actual stock of an ATI card on launch day isnít surprise enough) the suggested prices of these cards are surprisingly affordable: about $240 for the HD3870 and about $180 for the HD3750. Not only does the HD3850ís price undercut that of the lackluster 8600GTS but AMD has really thrown down the gauntlet by pricing their HD3870 a whole $50-$70 less than the recently-released 8800GT. Personally, I think this pricing scheme is something consumers should be really excited about since it shows where the industry is heading at breakneck speed: maximum performance for your hard-earned dollar. For the next little while, it seems like AMD is content to let the competition sit pretty in the ultra high-end bracket while they begin taking bites out of the $170-$300 price point. Unfortunately for AMD, it seems like Nvidia may have had an inside track on the performance figures of this card since they pushed forward the release of their 8800GT card in order to steal some of the 3870ís thunder. Fortunately for AMD, finding an 8800GT has become a lesson in futility so they are in a prime position to benefit from Nvidiaís lack of units in the retail channel.

In this review we will be taking a little closer look at the HIS Radeon HD3870 which promises to be the new poster child in the price / performance category. We were lucky enough to receive two of these cards so a few Crossfire tests will be run as well. Since time was a bit tight for the board partners, the drivers shipping with this card are NOT WHQL certified but are rather one of the latest iterations of the beta drivers from ATI. In addition, we will be releasing a review for the new HD3850 in a few days so stay tuned for that one as well.
So without further ado, letís take a look at this new card!


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