ATI Radeon HD 3870 CrossFire Video Card Review

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The Test System

The test system was running Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit with all available Microsoft updates including the hotefixes required for enthusiast video cards to run correctly.  NVIDIA Forceware 169.05 beta video card drivers were used on all of the GeForce series graphics cards except for the XFX GeForce 8800GT as it ran newer 169.12 drivers.  ATI CATALYST 7.11 drivers were used on the Radeon HD 3850, 2900 XT and HD 2600 XT graphics cards. All results shown in the charts are averages of at least three runs from each game or application used.

The Video Cards:

  • XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition 768MB (675MHz/2.3GHz )
  • XFX GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB (575MHz/1.8GHz)
  • BFG Technologies GeForce 8800 GTS OC2 640MB (580MHz/1.7GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (600MHz/1.8GHz)
  • XFX GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (625MHz/1.8GHz)
  • eVGA 8600 GT 256MB (540MHz/1.4GHz)
  • ATI Radeon HD 3870 (777MHz/1.126GHz GDDR4)
  • ATI Radeon HD 3850 (669MHz/1.658GHz GDDR3)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT (743MHz/2.0GHz)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT (800MHz/1.1GHz)

All of the video cards were tested on the Intel X38 Express Test platform, which is loaded with the latest and greatest hardware.  The Intel Core 2 Quad QX9650 ‘Yorkfield’ processor was used for testing as it proved to be the best desktop processor when it comes to game performance. The test system was also loaded with 4GB of memory and water cooled to ensure throttling of the processor or memory wouldn’t cause any issues.

Intel Test Platform



Live Pricing


Intel Core 2 Quad QX9650


Gigabyte X38-DQ6


Corsair PC2-8500 4GB

Video Card

See Above

Hard Drive

Western Digital SATA 250Gb


Corsair Nautilus 500

Power Supply

Corsair HX620W

Operating System

Windows Vista Ultimate

The Main Test System

Just for fun I tried to see if there was a performance difference when running one or two interconnects, but no difference was found.  To run CrossFire only one interconnect is needed.  The above picture was taken when we were testing the performance numbers with two interconnects. Now that we know exactly what the test system is, we can move along to performance numbers.

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