ASUS EAH3870 512MB Graphics Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     April 13, 2008

ASUS EAH3870 TOP 512MB Graphics Card Review

Manufacturer Product Page: ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
Product Number: EAH3870TOP/G/HTDI/512M/A
Availability: Now
Warranty: 3-Year
Price: Approx. $220

As time goes on, we have all been seeing quite an interesting battle develop in the mid-priced graphics card market between the offerings from Nvidia and ATI. Believe it or not, it has been almost half a year since the release of the venerable 8800GT 512MB and five months since ATI’s answering HD3870 and HD3850 were released. Since then, there have been both comings and goings in the world of graphics cards but both the HD3870 and the 8800GT are still around and still competing for the same budget-minded gamers. What six months has accomplished is to lower the prices of these competing products to the point where the HD3870 is now retailing for around $200 here in Canada which represents a drop of about twenty percent. This card has not only proven itself able to play games quite well but it also offers up numerous multimedia options as well. These things have led many consumers to believe that the HD3870 is a better all round graphics card option than the competing product from Nvidia. Whether or not this is true is very much up to the individual and their needs but ATI’s $200 offering makes a pretty convincing argument for itself.

New developments in the last few days have contributed to make the HD-series graphics cards all that more appealing with the addition of a Folding@home GPU client. This is something many people have been waiting for since it has the potential to turn their ATI graphics cards into number-crunching powerhouses…all for a good cause. At this time, Nvidia’s cards aren’t able to add their weight to a Stanford’s Folding@home initiative so this is just one more benefit of having an ATI graphics card.

If you haven’t guessed already (hopefully you read the title), this review will be concentrating on a rather unique graphics card: the ASUS HD3870 TOP. We can talk all day and night about ASUS and their experience regarding anything computer-related but let’s just keep it at this: they know what they are doing. In ASUS lingo, TOP stands for Top Overclocking Performance which also means that this particular HD3870 512MB card is overclocked right out of the box. Out of all the ATI board partners, ASUS is one of the few which offers pre-overclocked ATI cards which puts them a step ahead of the competition right off the bat. Other manufacturers which offer ATI cards also have a rather annoying habit of offering absolutely pathetic warranties with their products. Where one year warranties are the norm, the three years ASUS offers stands out like a shining light in a world of mediocrity.

At face value, everything looks great but for some reason finding stock of this overclocked HD3870 is next to impossible here in Canada. That being said, it should be interesting to see how well this card can compete against the competition.


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