ATI's Lineup / Sapphire TOXIC Specifications
The Present ATI Lineup
Well, this is what ATI has to offer us for the next few months at least and we must say: it is a lot more straightforward than the much-maligned Nvidia lineup. At the top of the heap there is the dual-GPU HD3870X2 which performs quite well as long as the game you are playing supports Crossfire. At less than half the price of their flagship card, ATI has the HD3870 on tap which at about $200 offers surprising value for your money and as we have seen in the past at can handle literally any game at low to mid resolutions. Finally we have the HD3850 and the rest of the ATI lineup which contribute of round out a lineup which seems to have something for everyone. All in all, it seems like ATI is really focusing on value in this round of the graphics card war since they just donít have anything that can compete blow-for-blow against what Nvidia is offering. This has contributed to make GPUs which offer amazing performance all that more accessible to many customers. ATI has shown that the new battles for market supremacy have moved away from the ultra high-end market and now focus on the sub-$400 segment.
Sapphire HD3870 TOXIC Specifications
It seems that with the release of the RV670 core we are finally seeing something from ATIís board partners we hadnít seen before: pre-overclocked cards. These cards invariably give the consumer higher performance for their money instead of them having to revert to overclocking the card on their own which in most cases will void their warranty. If the overclock is large enough it should give an extra shot of performance which should increase game playability or even help give the new ATI Folding @ Home client a bit of boost.
Unfortunately, the overclock Sapphire gave the HD3870 Toxic is paltry at best and seems to be more window dressing than a concerted effort to give users increased performance. The core gets a minor increase of 23Mhz (or about 3%) over a reference card while the memory gets a 50Mhz bump equaling about a 2% increase. From experience, we can say that neither of these overclocks will yield any significant or even noticeable difference when playing games and even synthetic benchmarks will only show a very slight difference between this card and a reference-based solution.