Radeon HD 3870 vs Nvidia Geforce 8800GT

By Computer~freak~ · 37 replies
Nov 14, 2007
  1. https://www.techspot.com/review/76-asus-radeon-hd-3870/

    since julio hasnt found it yet i guess ill post this
    its apparently the first review

    the following has been taked from: http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=703&p=0
    for the full review check the site out.

    It has been a rough road for AMD and their R600 architecture and while we did quite like the Radeon HD 2900XT, it was far from perfect. After much delay the new Radeon HD 2000 series was released on the 14th of May 2007, some six months ago now. However in that time these graphics cards have failed to do any real damage, as Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 series continued to sell like hot cakes. Making matters worse was the recent release of the GeForce 8800 GT, which costs less than a GTS yet performs much like a GTX.

    Today we have AMD’s swift answer to the GeForce 8800 GT, which is based on the RV670XT core using a 55nm design process. This version features just 512MB of onboard GDDR4 memory clocked at a staggering 2400MHz, using a 256-bit wide memory bus. Combined with a core clock of 775MHz, the Radeon HD 3870 has a memory bandwidth of 76.8GB/s, which is 33% greater than that of the GeForce 8800 GT.

    In fact on paper the Radeon HD 3870 looks to be a more impressive product when compared to the GeForce 8800 GT. The GeForce 8800 series brought a shift in GPU functionality and capability, moving away from the traditional pixel and vertex shaders we had become so familiar with, to a collection of floating point processors also called Stream Processor Units (SPUs). The 8800 GT version features 112 SPUs clocked at 1.50GHz. Then we have TAUs (Texture Address Units) of which the 8800 GT features 56, along with 16 ROPs (Rasterization Operator Units).

    The Radeon HD 3870 on the other hand features a staggering 320 (64x5) SPUs, while there are 16 TAUs and just 16 ROPs. While the 8800 GT features a core speed of 600MHz, the 3870 runs at 775MHz, which is a 29% increase in core frequency. The 8800 GT features 1.8GHz GDDR3 memory while the 3870 operates its GDDR4 memory 33% higher, at 2.4GHz! The 8800 GT is a DirectX 10 compliant graphics card while the 3870 does support DX10.1 which is interesting. Finally while the 8800 GT did move to a smaller 65nm design, the 3870 die has been shrunk down to just 55nm which should help make the 3870 a more efficient product.

    Interestingly the Radeon HD 3870 is said to go on sale at just $240 US, making it even cheaper than the GeForce 8800 GT. AMD has made claims that the 3870 will in fact be faster than the 2900XT and really for them to have any kind of real success with this product it has to be! Already we know very well what the 8800 GT is capable of and for the vast majority of games out there it is superior to the 2900XT. So while it is crucial that the 3870 be priced extremely aggressively, it really does need to outperform the 2900XT and it needs to do so convincingly. Should this be the case, I am confident AMD can deter many potential 8800 GT buyers with the 3870.
  2. Stick'o ram

    Stick'o ram TS Rookie Posts: 178

    While I'm a big ATI fanboy, this is truly disappointing. I think ATI's been going to the pits ever since AMD bought them out. I still have my Radeon X850 Pro because it performs very well even at its age (and lack of shader 3 and above...:( ). But the test scores show that the new product is still a hunk of junk. ATI must be screwing something up in the firmware, drivers, memory management or something. I hope ATI can turn things around
  3. Computer~freak~

    Computer~freak~ TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 157

    i once was a ATI fanboy to but like u said ever since amd bought them they went down the drain. it would be intresting for intel and nvidia to team up i wonder what those two super powers can do? =)

    ahh julio read my post i guess so theres no reason to read it now he has it on the TS home page
  4. why shouldn't we read it? =D

    at any rate...i looked up some reviews of my own. the new ati card doesn't look that impressive at all. the 8800 gt is looking like it will still beat the crap out of ati's latest flagship. i honestly expected better. and lots of people apparently MUST agree with me. because on newegg, the 8800gt is out of stock, and the new ati card is still sitting on the shelves. maybe thats because this ati card is so new. but when the 8800 came out, they went like hot cakes.

    based on that, it's clear that nvidia is the winner so far. and it will stay that way until ati can turn it around and come up with an inexpensive card that performs just like the gt, if not better.

    i was heart set on getting the 2900 over the 8800 ultra or 8800 gts. now that the gt came out, i've switched sides because they offer huge performance for little more than 250 dollars. nvidia wanted that of course, but...either way. it's a very very tempting offer.

    in terms of driver support nvidia is doing better too. ati hasn't been the best lately. of course, lots of people aren't going to have too many issues since they probably have a lot of issues squared away. but nevertheless, i think nvidia has more stable chips, and they are owning the competition.

    ...anyway...i can't help but reiterate. i was disappointed with the 3850/3870. they only did well in the 3d mark tests with just about any resolution, and that was about it.
  5. Stick'o ram

    Stick'o ram TS Rookie Posts: 178

    Didn't ATI mainly have their drivers made and tested by independent people (ex. fans) I wondered if that has changed since AMD bought them out...
  6. Computer~freak~

    Computer~freak~ TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 157

    i dont think so..........lol
  7. i think the way it worked was that...and i'm not 100% on this but...i think the way it worked was ATI left the drivers open source, so people could edit them and fix potential, or real bugs in the software. i'm not sure if that's correct, but that might be what you're thinking of.

    the only other company i can think of immediately that lets people do that is Linux.
  8. Ares878

    Ares878 TS Rookie

    Nvidia Geforce ownz Radeon
  9. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    The best price/performance one is the 3850, looks like the 8600GTS price will be comming down
  10. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    The HD3850 is in the same price segment as the 8600GTS. Not to mention the HD3850 completely smashes it in every benchmark while using less power (Idle). I fail to see how you can be disappointed with this card.

    As for the HD3870 vs 8800GT, I also fail to see how you can be disappointed with this card. Its cheaper than the 8800GT by $30 ($250). Also the price of the 8800GT has gone up a lot (Now close to $300 on newegg) because they are running thin on supplies and can't meet peoples demand which makes the 8800GT less attractive, whereas the HD3870 is selling for $219. And since AMD/ATI plan a hard release, they won't need to worry as much for demand and supply, meaning prices will stay low.

    The HD3870 uses less power which will please people (like me) who have their PC running 24/7. And its temperature is also lower. So the money I would save on my power bill will make up for most of its lack in performance. Oh lets not forget that the drivers for the HD3k's are "beta", so with newer and improved drivers the performance gap between the HD3870 and 8800GT will close.

    I for one will be buying an HD3870 which is slightly better bang for the buck. As for the HD3850, considering its priced as a mid range card, it completely demolishes everything near its price range. Plus these cards over-clock great. An over-clocked HD3870 can beat a 8800GT "stock". And if you could over-clock an HD3850 to near HD3870, than you have one seriously powerful graphics card for a very cheap price.
  11. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,671   +988

  12. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    My point proven. Read the conclusion.

    And as for the benchmarks. The HD3870 has proven to be a solid performer at lower resolutions for people like me with (1280-1024 etc) will benefit from this. I'm not saying the 8800GT isn't a bad card, as its a hell of a card. But running low in supplies is forcing prices on the 8800GT up, whereas there is going to be plenty of supplies with the HD3k series. And so far the HD3850 is going to be a huge seller unless the 8800GT"256MB" can come out and beat it at a better price/performance ratio.
  13. Stick'o ram

    Stick'o ram TS Rookie Posts: 178

    huh... You are saying that the ATI Radeon 3870 is better than the Geforce 8800GT, even though the Geforce 8800Gt was anywhere from 10% to 75% faster. Your also forgeting that you are comparing the budget cards of the "top" of the line ("3xxx and the Geforce 8800's) so basicly nvidia still wins out in the budget division if you kinda of look at it that way. For only $50 bucks more you get a huge performence jumb, thats $50 that would be worth spending.

    I'm not knocking ATI down, but it's still pretty sad when their newly released cards can't even knock down existing ones. It would be like if AMD released Althlon X2's then a couple of months later Intel releases Pentium D's. Whats the point? People that want to have a fast system went for the Athlon X2's even though they were more expensive. This leads be to think that ATI might be working on something bigger (hopefully...) and they just released a card trying to make a little bit more profit in the lower budget section.

    Sounds like AMD/ATI are following the same route. Core2Duo is better than the Althon X2 so they lowered the price. Geforce 8800's are better than Radeon 2900's and 3xxx's so they try and lower the price and capture the budget division. I think time will only tell the truth, so I guess we wait.

    (It would be awsome though if ATI released a very powerful graphics card line the same time AMD would be releasing a new proc line.)
  14. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    The 8800GT can't beat the HD3870 by 75%, show benchmarks (On average it can beat it by 25%, but current prices place it at 28+% higher than HD3870 on average). And even if it did, it would be a driver issue from ATI as they are only using beta drivers which have already proven to not work good as some benchmarks at 1600-1200 showed better framrates than at 1280-1024.

    And I don't classify the sector in which the graphics card is placed (low, mid, high etc) buy its performance, I judge them by its price, and if AMD/ATI can price these cards at mid range prices, than damned are they good mid range cards because thats who they will be competing with.

    Your not wrong about AMD/ATI making a new card, as they are in the process of making a HD3870x2, which is like 2 graphics cards in 1 (Or two chips on 1 board), and it is meant to be prices at around $450-550. Performance is unknown, but HD3870 crossfire has already proven to be extremely competitive against the 8800Ultra (smashes it in 3DMark06, practically ties it in games "With crappy beta driver that are not fully supported in Vistax64 where the benchmarks where taken), so one can only assume that the HD3870x2 would perform similarly.

    Also the HD3870 can be easily over-clocked with benchmarks proving to show "BETTER" performance than the 8800GT by a little over 5%. This makes the graphics card very attractive considering its much cheaper price, lower power consumption and lower temperatures. And lets not forget that the cooling solution for the HD3870 really sucks (And runs the card cooler than 8800GT), a DuOrb allows the card to be cooled by 20*C less than stock HS&F which would allow for an even better over-clock (Assuringly) with even better performance.

    I of course am not running the 8800GT down, cause I was very tempted to buy one when they came out, but lack of supplies has forced prices up (close to $300 or more), not to mention they are still hard to come by, and it lacks a lot the HD3870 provides. Whereas the HD3870 to be fully released on the 22nd this month will be priced at $220. It simply is a better bang for the buck. Similar to the C2D to the X2's, people spend money on the cheaper C2D's and over-clock them to outperform ALL X2's. The HD3870 can be over-clocked to outperform its more expensive competitors. You can always say over-clock the 8800GT, and it will probably beat an over-clocked HD3870, but not as much as it would at stock speeds. Once again making the HD3870 a better deal.

    If you want benchmarks I will be more than happy to show you.
  15. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    Decent card, lower price-lower performance option
    Will sell more now with the 8800GT supply situation.
    +1 for ATI (8800GT is the better card though)

    The one to watch, better price-performance than the 3870
    Some say it's the new 7600GT (which was a benchmark card when released)
    3850 may become what the 8600GTS was supposed to be.
    Where is the 8800GT 256?
    +2 for ATI

    comming from an 8800GT owner
  16. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    ATI's main problem right now are drivers. I've been doing some extensive testing on both single card and Crossfire 2900 series and the drivers are just bafflingly poor, especially Vista + DX10.

    CPU consumption went down massively between the 7.9 and 7.10 drivers, plus 7.10 were the first drivers for Vista + 2900 series that has default Crossfire profiles (i.e. before, Crossfire wouldn't even work properly unless it was one of a very short list of games recognized with hard profile).

    In the new 7.11/HotFix drivers, single and Crossfire performance increases up to 40% in Crysis but only in DX9 mode. DX10 mode remains mostly unchanged.

    While AMD's R6xx series GPU's absolutely have their technical limitations, these are only compounded by being dramatically behind on driver revisions/improvements. It's pretty obvious AMD is struggling with keeping up with each new chipset generation, as well as still experiencing a major learning curve with DX10 driver tuning.

    At the end of the day, and in my opinion- what this means to the consumer *really* boils down to how much trust you have with AMD/ATI and whether or not you feel these issues will be resolved in the current life of the product lines. Personally, this has been a poor bet in years past, but mainly prior to the takeover (ATI->AMD). It's anyone's guess if AMD will honor prior product lines not properly handled at launch/lifecycle, combined with consumers patience and ability to wait for things to get up to date/acceptable and start to exploit the power of the hardware.

    We do have some small indications of slight improvement here as prior X1900 and X1800 series owners are seeing some support in current gen. This may be enough for people to jump onto the 2900/3800 series in hopes that in 6-8 months, they'll see their current concerns addressed and benefit from the hardware of their purchase at that time.

    We may start to see a shift from 2900 -> 3800 series as far as product support focus. If this happens, the same will most definitely occur for 3800 owners whenever the 3900 or 4000 is released a few months later, etc.etc. Only time will measure how good a bet AMD's hardware is for consumer choice, but at this time- I'm really laying most of the catch-up to lay at the hands of the driver team(s).
  17. Computer~freak~

    Computer~freak~ TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 157

    well at all i have to say is that both nvidia and ati have to step up there game for making drivers for vista because right now sli and crossfire drivers and crappy at the moment and they dont look like there getting to much better.....
  18. Stick'o ram

    Stick'o ram TS Rookie Posts: 178

    Sorry, am I bad I was comparing it the Geforce 8800 GTX and Ultra. Yeah, GT is about 5-141% faster than the ATI Radeon 3870. It seems to me that whenever AA or Anti-AA is enabled the cards performence drops like a rock. I wonder if ATI put the 256bit bus on the card to save money or to keep it below another card that will be released. But only time will tell, agian...
  19. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    Can you please show me benchmarks of this 141% performance advantage for the 8800GT over HD3870. Cause I HIGHLY doubt its the cards fault but the drivers, cause on average by several sites the 8800GT only has a 15-20% increase in overall performance. And even when AA is enabled the HD3870 still runs strongly. In fact the performance on the 8800GT drops faster with AA on than the HD3870 but still manages to be faster (At least I think, I will re-look at the benchmarks).

    Here is Anandtech's comparison of the HD3870 vs 8800GT

    The 8800GT only managed on average a 15% increase in performance. Now lets not forget that the 8800GT (Due to lack of stock) has increased price over $250 on average to close to $300 making it over 25% more expensive.

    And lets not forget that the HD3870 has better over-clocking abilities than the 8800GT. With a decent over-clock the HD3870 can jump ahead up to 5-10% or more over the 8800GT. So when you sum it up, the HD3870 is simply a better deal, and keeps getting better as the 8800GT's price keeps rising due to lack of stock and high demand.

    Oh, lets not forget the HD3k's 55nm die. What does this mean compared to the 8800GT's 65nm die?
    - More successful dies per waffer
    - Less manufacturing costs
    - Lower power consumption
    - Generates less heat

    And to sum this up
    - AMD/ATI can sell the HD3k series alot cheaper than NVIDIA can sell their 8800 series without losing money. (Meaning NVIDIA will have a very hard time competing with prices)
    - Lower power consumption and heat means better over-clockability, hence better performance. (Meaning the HD3k series become closer to performing to the 8800GT for much less cost)

    AMD/ATI has seriously done an awesome job here. And I'm not saying the 8800GT is bad, because its awesome in its own respect to. But I just think, with all the evidence that I have seen, the HD3k series is better price/over-clocking/performance and it will stay that way. And with better drivers, perhaps the increase in performance at stock speeds will bring the HD3870 ever closer to the 8800GT)
  20. Stick'o ram

    Stick'o ram TS Rookie Posts: 178

    It was under the first review posted on this forum, its under the World at Conflict or whatever it was and it was when AA and Anti-AA was enabled. However I went looking for a low score though :). However I'm sure its just driver related.

    *Edit*: Today I saw a BFG 512mb Geforce 8800GT PCI Express for $250 in the Best Buy ad. The deal is only good sunday through Tuesday I think. It didn't say but I bet its PCI Express 2.0 isn't that the only interface this card is released in?
  21. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    There out of stock now apparently, I just heard about it on futuremark forums.

    As for the 8800GT, if you can pick one up for $250, than its a very good deal and is about equal to the HD3870 price.performance wise, so if you got the extra money to spend, than I suppose spend it. Unfortunately for me, every dollar counts so I have to be careful of what I pick (I would be cheering if I walked down the street and some random guy sold me an 8800GT for under $200 :D , but we both know thats never gonna happen)

    As for the 8800GT PCI-e 2.0. The HD3870 is also PCI-e 2, but that doesn't mean it won't fit in motherboards with only PCI-e 1.0 or 1.1. Apparently its backwards compatible, the only difference (If I remember correctly) is that you don't need to use the 6 pin connector when its in PCI-e 2.0 because the motherboard can already supply enough power, whereas with PCI-e 1.0 and 1.1, you need the 6 pin power connector to be able to power up the 8800GT or HD3870 etc.
  22. Stick'o ram

    Stick'o ram TS Rookie Posts: 178

    I wonder how long the "you don't have to use a seperate power connecter" is going to last. Didn't they say that when PCI Express first came out? Seems to me graphics cards are getting faster, and use more power. Pretty soon we won't even have procs anymore we will just have graphics cards. The Ram will be one the graphics card and the hard drives will just plug straight into the card. It will be so simple. It will be called the ATI Vadeon Y5000 and the NuForce 8760 Super Ultra.
  23. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    LOL, close but not close enough. Starting next year or the year after graphics cards will be build into the CPU not the other way around. (Although NVIDIA has already designed a graphics card "Tesla" which is designed to be used as a CPU when the GPU is not in use)

    Since CPU's are becoming ever so smaller (die size) you are able to cram more crap into it. And as for HDD's, you can except to have cheap HDD's in a few years that have about 5TB of storage space, not that you need that much, cause I have 530GB and I barely use up 20% of it. I just can't wait for the next 5 years when Internet speed becomes over 100 times faster than todays connection (So I'm guessing if I'm on an 8MB/s connection, it will be boosted up to say 800MB/s?....Torrents anyone:haha: ) Apparently an Australian (Looks like a f***ing nerd) wrote a new equation which seperates the data that is sent across the lines increasing the transfer speed or some sh*t like that.

    Anyways. I was planning on getting the 8800GT over the HD3870 when more came into stock and they dropped to $250 again. ($250 is my absolute limit), but I've been reading that some 8800GT's can cause problems. I might look into it a bit more later.
  24. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 243

    Glad to know you dont think much of us Australians..
  25. _FAKE_

    _FAKE_ TS Rookie Posts: 116

    I'm Australian myself. And you must agree with me when I say its very annoying when people complain about CPU's, graphics cards etc etc being very expensive over there, when we have it a whole lot worse and you rarely hear us complain.

    Sorry for going offtopic. And sorry for the slight complain. But it does get annoying when people complain that the 8800GT is $300 over where they live yet its as cheap as $400 here or more. Goes with a lot of other stuff too. I for one can say I'm luckier than a lot of other Australians, because I live withing bus range of the computer fair which takes place every month where they sell computer upgrades etc for over seas price. Probably a little more expensive, but beats retail price.
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