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Diamond Viper ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB Video Card E-mail
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Written by Ronald Tibbetts   
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Diamond Viper ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB Video Card
HD 3870 Package and Contents
HD 3870 Technology
Features and Specifications
Diamond HD 3870: Closer Look
HD 3870: Detailed Features
Video Card Testing Methodology
Real World Benchmarks
Synthetic Benchmarks
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Final Thoughts: Diamond HD

The Diamond HD 3870 impressed us greatly; it provides a better gameplay experience than its predecessor the HD 2900XT and features roughly half the power consumption of its predecessor with performance to match. All while coming in at less than half the price makes the HD 3870 a truly desirable upgrade for many, including myself. Adding in Diamonds optimized software, xDNA, which allows the hardware to be run in CrossFire on competing chipsets, only furthers the appeal. That's a pretty good deal in our book.

ATI-Diamond-Viper-HD3870_TopView.jpg

Right now the HD 3870 offers the best value on the planet when it comes to 3D gaming cards. You won't be disappointed in its performance, and you won't be disappointed in the cost. This was a reference-clocked video card; we can imagine how much faster it will perform given a little overclocking. With prices for the HD 3870 series in the sub-$200 range you just simply cannot go wrong with the Diamond HD 3870; a solid choice in video card value.

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Radeon HD 3870 Conclusion

The retail package of the Diamond HD 3870 is devoid of garish fantasy characters or color schemes, while maintaining all the relevant product details in an easy to understand way. The only issue is the unforgivable error that denotes false THX support. This is something that should never happen on any product, especially one of this caliber.

With its red and black motif and translucent fan shroud the Diamond HD 3870 goes for the hot-rod look. However, following the reference design the credit here really goes to ATI/AMD for making a card that looks the part.

Regarding construction; as the design is merely follows the reference from ATI/AMD it is to be expected that only a top-notch job would be done, and Diamond follows through here. All of the components are high-grade and well put together. As a note on quality the 512MB of GDDR4 memory used here is made by Samsung with a latency of 8ns - which is not cheap.

Functionality and value here are closely tied to each other. With respect to performance, this mid-range offering from ATI/AMD easily redefines the market as the Diamond HD 3870 (SKU 3870PE4512) competes with and often beats its high-end predecessor in many areas. However, the real appeal here is the Diamond HD 3870's price point. With a recent slash in prices, the MSRP of the HD 3870 went from $245 to $189. And with a little searching can easily be had for very close to that.

I personally think what AMD/ATI and their add-in board partners did here with respect to the HD 3800 series video card is nothing short of amazing. Returning performance to the mid-range video card market with these new affordable GPUs that finally leave us with a feeling that you're getting something for your money, whereas mid-range GPUs of recent history seemed to just give mediocre performance with an equally mediocre price.

Pros:Benchmark 
Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+Very Attractive Price to performace
+Low Power Consumption
+Low Noise Cooling that Exausts Warm Air from the Case
+Diamond Optimized Drivers
+Performance to Match Higher Cost Video Cards
+Support for the new PCIe v2.0 and legacy support for v1.1
+Functional UVD Processor
+Diamond xDNA Driver Software - CrossFire on non AMD/Intel Chipsets

Cons:

-Potential Fan Throttling issue
-Inaccurate Product Information on Retail Box (THX Support)
-Non-Contacting Heatsink on memory
-Recent Retail Availability and Subsequent Price Gouging

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 8.50
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.00
  • Functionality: 9.25
  • Value: 9.50

Final Score: 9.05 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

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