back to article AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics chip

AMD's ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT wasn’t a bad graphics chip but it spent too long in development and failed to take the fight to Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 series. But after a quick die-shrink from 80nm to 55nm, the Radeon HD 2900 XT has been reborn as the Radeon HD 3870. The new fabrication process is a good start but it doesn’t …

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Stop

BIAS ALERT

In your comparison with the 8800GT that you have used the "bottom of the range" MSI version, compared to the high end Sapphire and X2 models of the ATI 3870.

Why don't you post a true comparison?

ASUS 8800GT X2 (when it's released) versus the ATI HD3870 X2.

Or at least compare stock single GPU chipsets from ATI and NVidia?

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And drivers?

And what about drivers? Judging from my experience with ATI Mobility on Ubuntu, I would not touch another computer with ATI graphics with ten foot pole. Can not say anything for Windows users, but all I hear is complaints.

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Alert

Look Ma, no main memory left!

I'd like to see what happens when you combine 4 x 1Gb versions of this card on a 32 bit system (where the GPU is memory mapped).

See http://www.dansdata.com/askdan00015.htm for a round-about explanation.

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Go

Bias alert?

Even if this review is biased (which I don't think it is), it clearly shows that a mid range nvidia card is kicking the butt of the top range ATI card. There's still no contest and no comparison.

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re drivers

Couldn't agree more, with the point about drivers. Nvidia are now the preferred graphics card vendor for Linux systems like Ubuntu because of the ease of driver installation and compatibility with features.

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Boffin

Re: Look Ma, no main memory left!

Actually, modern cards don't map all of video ram into PCI space. Typically they only expose the first 128 or 256Mb. In practice the CPU never accesses video ram directly because it's painfully slow (very high latency). All data is transfered via the card's DMA engine.

This is ignoring the fact that even 32-bit x86 cpus have had 36-bit physical addressing for years (though not all of that is available for PCI devices), and a quad-card system is kinda dumb if you have a meaty CPU and buckets of ram to back it up.

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Anonymous Coward

Huh?

Whats with the "Bias Alert" nonsense? The FACT is, any 8800GT card other than the slowest speed 8800gt, is an OVERCLOCKED card.

They reviewed the correct card, as the 3870 can also be overclocked, which it wasn't in this review... and the 3850 was never intended to compete with the 8800GT as it has less memory. The 8800GT also has many reports of heat problems when overclocked, along with noise. Unlike the 3870 which doesn't.

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Stop

You try to buy one....

I have been looking for 2 weeks now for one of these in the UK and its been like trying to buy rocking horse s**t... And the same goes for any 8800 GT's... Are they all making one a day or something? I did find one place that did have 5... placed my order and it was out of stock.... jeez....

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