Team Fortress 2:
Team Fortress 2 is a game available in "The Black Box", and it was also analyzed using FRAPS. For testing purposes the game was played on the well map with a resolution of 1280x1024 and high settings.
You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between any card while actually playing the game. The results are all high enough that there should never be an issue visually, as even the lowest frame rate value achieved is well over 100 FPS.
Track Mania Nations Forever:
The final game to be used in this review was Track Mania Nations Forever. A built in benchmark was used to test the performance at a resolution of 1280x1024, with the settings rather high, including 8x antialiasing and 8x anisotropic filtering.
It takes an HD3870 to really boost the performance, but between the two HD3850 cards, the 1024MB Sapphire model performs roughly 5.6% better.
With performance testing complete, the final step was to monitor the GPU temperature while at idle and under a load. HWMonitor
was used to monitor GPU temperatures with the cards running on a test platform (no case) in a room with a constant 21C air temperature. The system was allowed to sit at the Windows desktop (with no other applications running) for at least one hour before the idle temperature was recorded. Then 3DMark06 was executed so that it conducted each test three times before exiting. At this point the maximum temperature reported by HWMonitor was recorded for the load result.
The 256MB Visiontek continues to concern me with just how hot it gets, and I am somewhat surprised it still works. The advanced design of the coolers found on both Sapphire cards keep them cool, quiet, and compact. The fan on the 1024MB HD3850 ramped up a few times during this test, but quickly returned to its usual low noise state. With a maximum temperature just over 60C, there is nothing to worry about in terms of cooling, no matter how intense the game play gets!