DH Review: ATI HD 3870 X2

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles Discussion' started by HardwareHeaven, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    Read The Review Here
    ___________________
    [digg]http://www.driverheaven.net/reviews/AMDX2Review/index.php[/digg]

    It has been a boring state of affairs in the graphics card industry with Nvidia ruling the roost for a long time. Today we take a look at ATI's new HD 3870 X2 card, do they finally have an answer to Nvidia's high end dominance? We think you might be surprised ....
     
  2. geraldmango

    geraldmango New Member

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    good job ATI ! nice to see them making a good card again !

    Nice work veridian3, I see you guys and hardocp are about the only two sites who DON'T use canned benchmarks and tiny little runs in game on specific levels. This is more than likely why you are seeing the minimum frame rate issue. Many of the sites don't even test minimum frame rates !

    I used to love Hardocp reviews, and I still like them, but I think they are a little bitchy at times, the conclusion on their review is a little self promoting as if they are the only ones capable of doing what they do ! Not only did Driver Heaven find the initial driver issues last week but they worked with ATI to fix them, then find this other issue which many won't find, then get a response from ATI about it !

    Major kudos guys. ill spread the word.
     
  3. brutusmaximus

    brutusmaximus New Member

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    Excellent work. I have spent the last 2 hours reading these reviews and the DH review is the best on the net today. Worst is tweaktowns, those guys really haven't a clue, their testing is pants and they seem to rush stuff out and break NDA's to get initial hits. thats how I see it anyway.

    Great find on the min FPS issue and I think ATI will work around it tbh, doesn't seem to affect too many games. Good driver testing too V3 I like how you guys seem to just tell it like it is without caring who you piss off.

    Good to see ATI back on the ball again.
     
  4. humonous

    humonous New Member

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    yay! go ATI !

    nice to see competition again.

    I am sure with drivers in the next few months the card will get even better.

    excellent review Driver Heaven, very thorough and I like how you guys don't test 400 useless resolutions in your review. I hate wading through 800x600 and 1047x768 tests with cards like these.
     
  5. LukeK

    LukeK New Member

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    Its a great card but you would hope it would be with basically 2 cards in one ! Still interesting to see the 8800 GTX and Ultra winning quite a few tests, although I think when ATI get another few driver revisions under their belt that will be much closer.

    The price in the USA doesn't seem to bad at the minute, actually cheaper than a GTX in some places, so good value as well, if you want to deal with Crossfire drivers.

    I think thats what it all boils down to, how well the ATI driver team do with the drivers in coming months.

    Oh yeah, nice work from DH reporting the initial issues to AMD, didn't know you guys were responsible for the delay in NDA last week. Guess you guys do your testing right.

    I agree with someone earlier who said tweaktown reviews are awful. Their testing isn't very good, some of their findings are very dubious _ i got banned over there last week for pointing out some problems with their results, and they deleted my post as well. ill be hanging around here.
     
  6. longhorn1000

    longhorn1000 New Member

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    some crazy performance in Call Of Duty 4 ! wow ! I just ordered one. I think the min fps issue will be fixed, doesn't concern me, but nice to know.

    Crysis, I hope they can get more FPS out of the card with that. Do you think they will veridian3? I quite like that game, but my nvidia 8600 just dies even loading it :(

    As I want the card for playing HD movies as well, this is the best choice for me right now, i just hope they keep putting out new drivers for more performance.

    thanks for the read, very good.
     
  7. Alex

    Alex Driverheaven Lover

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    am I the only one really concerned with the minimum FPS issues?

    ATIs quote:

    “In most circumstances we would expect the minimum frame rate found on the ATI Radeon HD 3870X2 to be equal to, or better than an ATI Radeon HD 3870. However, there are conceivable circumstances in which the minimum frame rates of the ATI Radeon HD 3870X2 could be lower. The most obvious case where the ATI Radeon HD 3870X2 could have a lower instantaneous frame rate would be if an application uploaded new information (such as textures or vertex data) to the graphics accelerator during rendering. In this situation the ATI Radeon HD 3870X2 driver has to duplicate the uploaded data, copying the data to each of the GPU frame buffers, which naturally takes more time than uploading a single set of data for a single GPU graphics accelerator.

    These circumstances should be rare in practice - as a rule applications try to avoid uploading data during rendering as much as possible as such uploads are known to cause inconsistent frame rates."

    Do we know how many games right now do load textures or vertex date to the cards during rendering? I mean in theory this could serious hamper smooth frame rates at higher resolution when more texture data is being pumped through the card.

    I still remain unsold on the card. Some games work great on it, and performance is high for sure, even beating the ultra in some games, but thats the point im making, a card like the Ultra won't have to be concerned with dual card drivers or updates to be competitive, it will be out of the box with a standard nvidia driver profile, whereas ATI are going to be playing catchup with profiles to remain on a par. I had a crossfire system before and it drove me up the wall with issues and I had most games beaten by the time a driver profile rolled out for it !!

    To be fair to ATi, its good progress for them, however the fact this minimum frame rate issue is apparent and they would need to start working with game developers to minimise those specific calls (which we all know they don't as a rule anyway). So this and the driver profiles just puts me off.

    You are the expert veridian3, what do YOU think about this?
     
  8. Erroneus

    Erroneus Get off my lawn!

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    Impressive review and good call to wait for the new driver.

    It's an impressive card and it easy to see that games where the drivers are optimized, it really shines. So no surprises there, an advanced card like this is all about the drivers and will always be. No the quesiton is, will AMD keep working hard on the drivers for this bad boy or just for some months, until R700 hits the market. And I have to agree with Alex, that statement from AMD (ATI) is a bit vague.
     
  9. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    Using dual GPU configurations has always, and still does, involve making some compromises. Certainly there are much less nowadays but with each dual GPU product it will never work as smoothly as a single GPU solution... so with some products you may need to wait on a profile, on others they may not have the best performance on launch day of a game but it improves
    over time.

    My gut feeling is that the minimum FPS issue will be worked around by drivers and game code in future and not really be an issue... it probably shouldn't have been a problem at launch but clearly ATI were rushing the card out to begin with. I'm sure we will be testing the card in future reviews as a comparison product so it will be interesting to see what happens on this front.
     
  10. CDsDontBurn

    CDsDontBurn AMD & Petrol Heads Mod

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    this has been one of the best reviews i've seen on DH.

    i was also curious to know what the severe drop in FPS was all about. then, upon reading ATI's official statement on the cause, i became curious as to how the standard 3870 card would perform in CF mode with the same drivers as the ones used for this review.
     
  11. IvanV

    IvanV HH Assassin Guild Member

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    Congratulations to Veridian3, DH and ATI for this great review, and all the effort put in making it, fixing the drivers and bringing this card to us.

    The performance is really what it should be in most cases, and the work ATI has done in fixing the driver so far makes me confident that the performance issues, where they still exist, will be fixed. The only real problem is the frame rate dropping when the frame buffer is updated. While having a stutter or two per level may be bearable and preferable where X2 otherwise offers higher average fps and smoother experience, I'm afraid that by looking at the charts many would perceive the card as "stuttery", and the ATI's statement on the matter does not make me confident that it will be fixed.

    One way which occurs to me in which this could have been avoided was putting some extra hardware on the card through which the data would pass to both frame buffers simultaneously. The rest of the system would see that component as the card's frame buffer instead of two separate memory areas, and it would act like a sort of a splitter, so there would only have to be one update cycle for the whole X2 instead of one for each of the frame buffers. Still, I'm not sure how "easy" to implement would this be and what other problems it would cause.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  12. Brutality

    Brutality Active Member

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    Very good review. And impressive card. Though, I did expect a bit more information about power requirements and temperatures.
     
  13. Vikingod

    Vikingod Int'l Fish Liaison

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    Great review guys, definetly worth the Digg.

    I'm very excited that ATI have a very competetive product out.
     
  14. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    2x6pin connectors minimum, maximum of 225w draw (though normally much less) and idle of 56c, load of 82c.
     
  15. Flash Freeze

    Flash Freeze New Member

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    I have always meant to say this, DH reviews are very impressive and sexy. Beside always using the latest and the best components available (or even future products like QX9770 in this case) wich no other review site comes even close to their test system specs, they are a feast for my eyes. Over the top page design with eye catching backdrops and flash powered graphs. Those are the things that require additional time and work but I have a sense that the people behind DH reviews themselves enjoy creating top grade web material. Good work.


    One little suggestion though. It would have been nicer if you could widen the review box a little or give an option to widen/narrow the box like TR does.
     
  16. Al_Vampyre

    Al_Vampyre Well-Known Member

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    Excellent work guys, if I didn't already own an 8800GTX this card would be on my list!

    Once the driver for CrossfireX is out it'll be interesting to see what 2 of these babies can do, it would appear that crossfire is a much more robust and scaleable solution than SLI so it should be good!
     
  17. mike2h

    mike2h New Member

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    thx for all the work!
    as stated previously, this card should get much better with mature drivers.
    amd(& us) would be better served by amd coming out with a kickass single gpu solution. that aside, i would definetly consider this card for my next upgrade.
    bty, will the 'min fps issue' become worse in crossfire? going by amd's explanation this would seem to be the case. if so, has anybody seen this issue in sli?
    fwiw, i havent notived this issue on gx2. doesnt mean it aint happening, just that i have not noticed it.:D
     
  18. brutusmaximus

    brutusmaximus New Member

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    I think you mean quadfire? the card is already running in crossfire really, just internally rather than a dual PCIe solution. It wouldnt happen in SLI or standard crossfire as you would have two seperate cards running via the PCIe lanes in a motherboard solution. It is just a failing of this particular single card solution. I am sure it won't really be much of an issue really, it just might rear its ugly head from time to time.
     
  19. ChaosMinionX

    ChaosMinionX USB 3 dot oh

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    Awesome review guys, its good to see ATI is back in the running, and that 2 GPUs on 1 PCB became a reality :)

    Cant wait for mine to arrive.
     
  20. cozumel

    cozumel I'm dangerous but cute...

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    Another excellent review. DH should commend itself as well as ATI as it was a good piece of collaborative teamwork that helped ATI address the driver issues. Well done DH.

    Edit: You have now have another digg in honor lol :)
     

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