ATi Radeon 3870 or 4850 & Is My PSU Enough

By TL93
Aug 15, 2008
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  1. Well i'm thinking of buying a new video card on Monday and i'm stuck between the 3870 and the 4850.

    3870 has more memory bandwidth and has a dual slot cooler which will help with temperatures while the 4850 is way more powerful but a single slot cooler which will increase the temperatures :(

    So which video card should i choose?

    I can get the 3870 for around $126 [ASUS, comes with Company of Heroes] and i can get the 4850 for around $195 [after instant rebate, comes with scratch and win card, comes with GRID]

    This means pricing is also a factor if i need to get a new PSU.

    Also is my PSU powerful enough?

    its a Sparkle SPI 400W with 18A on one rail and this PSU has 2 rails which basically doubles the Amps.

    As long as i can hold off a new PSU till i get more money, then i'll get the 4850.

    My System is in my profile :)

    Thanks,
    Tim
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    Actually, your PSU only delivers a combined total of 29A on the +12V rails, which I wouldn't recommend for that system with either card since your PSU does not come with two PCI-E power connectors and even if it can handle the card, if you try and convert a Molex connector to a 6-pin one, you will end up drawing power from the same rail as your other components and will probably cause the PSU to fail. Get new one with at least 32A on the +12V rails combined and two PCI-E power connectors. I'd recommend the Corsair 550VX as an excellent choice.
  3. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,623

    that is an excellent PSU.
  4. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Whats the difference between 1 and 2 PCI-e power connectors?

    Of course i'd get the ASUS card and a $77 Antec EA650 [cheap and good :D]but thats just like doing a single 4850 while i could wait for a new PSU -_-

    But I need something lower in the price range but reliable [PSU]

    Its a tough decision!

    BTW, updated my system specs, its the Brisbane core not the 95W core.
  5. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Just reminding you guys,

    I'll probably get a new PSU sometime Christmas or February [Chinese New Year!] if i decide to keep my current one as long as it will power the system.

    I think i overpowered my last system [Intel P4, 1GB DDR2, same HDD, 250W PSU, 9250 PCI [HP System]] it ran safe for 1-2 years till i upgraded to this xD.

    Of course this time i wouldn't let it do that for that long of a duration :p
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    The OCZ StealthXStream 600W PSU and the Antec Earthwatts 500W are good-quality, inexpensive PSUs.

    As for the power connectors, the HD 4850 has two slots where you plug in a 6-pin power connector into each. Most new PSUs come with one 6-pin connector and a 6+2-pin connector, so the latter can be used as a second power connector without the 2-pin part. Dual-rail PSUs usually keep one rail assigned to the CPU and the rest of the system (via the Molex connectors) and the other assigned to the video card exclusively (via the 6-pin PCI-E power connectors). Since your current PSU doesn't have two 6-pin connectors, you'd need to convert a pair of Molex connectors into a single 6-pin connector using a adapter, but doing this will cause the card to draw power from the same rail as the CPU and other peripherals and overload that particular rail, shutting the PSU down or damaging it. Anyhow, it's your call.
  7. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    I recall that the HD4850 has ONLY 1 PCI-e 6 Pin Power Connector while the bigger brother the HD4870 has 2 PCI-e 6 Pin Power Connectors -_-

    Example of the HD4850 [Just went through a quick search for an image at a review]

    http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/powercolor_hd4850/images/10.htm

    The Antec EA500W is a dollar cheaper than the Antec EA650W :p

    So doesn't this mean i could use my PSU for the time being [till christmas or february] :p

    Anyways, the reason i'm debating between the 3870 and the 4850 is because the 3870 has a dual slot cooler which will help with ventilation of the case while the 4850 has a single slot cooler which will just make the case warmer supposeably.
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    Ah yes, my apologies, I was thinking of the HD 4870 for some reason. And the EA500 was on a $30 rebate at Newegg, but it seems to be gone now. :)

    The HD 4850 might be fine though, since you have a 65nm chip and not too many peripherals. As for the heat issues, the HD 4850 only has them because the fan speed is set very low by default. Use RivaTuner to crank it up a bit and the card should run relatively cool.
  9. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Again let me correct you :p

    I'm thinking of the HD 3870 not the Dual GPU version -_-

    the HIS looks really attractive with its nice cooler and colour. The Price is more than the ASUS [$164.99 After Rebate] Which makes me want the HIS :p
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    Shite, thanks for the correction again. Something is really wrong with me today! ;)

    As for a card, why not consider this instead? It outperforms the HD 3870 and comes with a dual-slot cooler which will keep it very cool and quiet.
  11. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    I heard the new ATi 8.7 Drivers improve the 3870 :p

    Plus i'd need something from NCIX, nto ordering online since NCIX has stores all over the place in the lower mainland :D
     
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    From most of the reviews I've read, the 8800GT has a ~30% lead, which I don't think can be closed with drivers alone.
  13. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Okay, i bought a new heatsink and the HD3870 [HIS]

    Runs like a dream :)

    And is Cool too :)

    Heck even my PSU isn't hot when on load.
  14. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,317   +117

  15. TL93

    TL93 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 76

    I could of bought the 8800GT but meh, i have an AMD system anyhow :p

    Matches wit my system LOL
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