ATI introduced the Radeon HD3800 series in late 2007, and new life was breathed into the mid-priced graphics card market. ASUS
was one of the many partners to release cards based on the HD3850 and HD3870 reference designs, but they also hit the market with their "TOP" series of overclocked cards at about the same time.
We took a look at the 256MB ASUS EAH3850 TOP
back in December 2007, and for this review we have its big brother on hand; the 512MB ASUS EAH3870 TOP Overclocked Radeon HD3870. The promotional image above provides a quick look at the HD3870, and while there are some physical differences between it and the HD3850, it is immediately obvious that the general styling is the same. The bright red PCB and cooler, the "Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts" graphics, and the dual DVI connections are familiar, while the dual slot design of the cooler may be the most obvious difference.
In lieu of regurgitating the official features and specifications, please visit this page
on the ASUS website for more details on the features, this page
for a detailed list of the specifications, and this page
on the AMD website for general HD3800 series data. The product page shows a card with a different cooler than the one being reviewed, but the features and specifications are a match.
The "TOP" series comes overclocked by the factory, providing a performance boost with zero effort by the end user. A typical Radeon HD3870 might have a core clock speed of 775MHz and a memory clock speed of 2250MHz (1125MHz DDR4), while this version has a core clock speed of 851MHz and a memory clock speed of 2286MHz (1143MHz DDR4). The overclock on the GPU is about 9.8%, while the overclock on the memory is a rather trivial 1.3%. While the increase in memory speed may be slight, the total speed is rather impressive. 512MB of GDDR4 running at 2.28GHz shouldn't be the limiting factor in any games or performance tests.
The packaging for the 512MB ASUS EAH3870 TOP Overclocked Radeon HD3870 graphics card is shown below, and is one of many features shared by the HD3850 and HD3870 TOP cards. The oversized box provides a great deal of information on the product and the design incorporates elements from the game "Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts", which is included in the bundle of accessories.
"Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts" was one of the big DirectX 10 games of 2007, and probably added a good deal of value to the "TOP" series bundle at the time of release. At the present time the full version of the game can be purchased for under $20
, so unless you happen to really want this game and an HD3870, the draw might not be as great as it was a few months ago.