It looks like Nvidia cards are not the only ones with high failure rates. According to TG Daily's "industry source," all Radeon HD 3850 512MB cards from Diamond Multimedia shipped between January and July are defective as well as a substantial number of HD 3870 512MB cards and X2 models, resulting in computers not starting up and system crashes.
Apparently, the problem stems from design and manufacturing defects at ITC - the company contracted by Diamond to build the cards - and does not appear to affect 3800-series cards of other manufacturers. While Diamond itself didn't manufacture the cards, it appears that the cards were never evaluated by AMD and may have been subject to negligent testing at Diamond.
About 15,000 faulty units have ended up in customer hands or are still being sold - which is a relatively small number considering that a total of 1.9 million 3800-series have shipped since last November overall. Alienware, however, found this to be unacceptable and is looking to replace its business relationship with Diamond with another supplier.
Diamond downplayed the issue by saying they "do not have any extraordinary customer call reports for HD 3850, 3870 512 MB boards," but should you be among those experiencing errors, they'll happily replace your card.