Our friends at Legion Hardware were the first website in the whole net to post official benchmark numbers for AMD/ATI's latest videocard the ATI Radeon HD 3870. It definitely paid off living in Australia for our good friends as they were almost 18 hours early to the game...

The bad news are however that the Radeon HD 3870 is no GeForce 8800 GT killer, which is what many of us were expecting. Instead ATI will keep playing the pricing game, where its HD 3850 model will be the fastest card available on its price range (~$180), while the HD 3870 is expected to undercut the GeForce 8800 GT by some 25% at $225, offering on average the same decrease in performance.

With apparently no further plans from either camp until early 2008, the mid-range cards will likely be selling like hot cakes during the holidays. And while this kind of performance has never been so affordable, neither Nvidia or ATI has brought us a true next-generation product that will let us play Crysis comfortably with any setting we throw at it, heck I wouldn't have mind paying $500+ for such a card!

But again, whether you like the 8800 GT better or prefer to go ATI's way, both products fall within a price range that we wouldn't have imagined just months ago. Competition is king in this industry, now let's just push those cards to retail, we just don't want to hear "out of stock" for the rest of the year.

Expect full reviews of shipping Radeon HD 3800 products from us in the coming days.