In November of 2007 ATI launched the Radeon HD3800 series (based on the RV670 core) which brings improved capabilities in high definition games and videos to the mid-range PCI Express graphics card market. Additionally, support for key features such as PCI Express 2.0, DirectX 10.1, 320 Stream processors, PowerPlay power saving technology, and CrossFireX multi-GPU capabilities were also included.
The initial offerings in this series of cards are the HD3850 and the HD3870, which carry approximate price tags of under $200 and under $250, respectively. This review is going to take a look at a card from ASUS, model number EAH3850/G/HTDI/256M, which is an overclocked HD3850 card with some interesting features that still manages to come in under $200.
As shown in the promotional image above, the ASUS EAH3850/G/HTDI/256M (or EAH3850 TOP as indicated on the packaging) is a large PCI Express card themed after the game "Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts". In addition to featuring graphics inspired by the game on the cooler, ASUS has bundled the game with the card, just to make sure you have something worth playing as soon as you pop this into your system.
Before taking a look at the rest of the ASUS EAH3850 TOP Overclocked Radeon HD 3850 Graphics Card provided for review, let's take a look at some information on the sponsor, as well as some published data on the card itself...
ASUS Corporate Information:
ASUS is a Taiwanese company that was founded in 1989 by a group of former Acer engineers. Among computer enthusiasts they are best known for their innovative and high performing motherboards and graphics cards. Their product line is far more extensive though, and they refer to themselves as "a leading provider of 3C (computers, communications and consumer electronics) total solutions", offering "a complete product portfolio to compete in the new millennium".
The data above was taken directly from the ASUS website, but the values for the Engine and Memory Clocks are incorrect. 668MHz and 1.65GHz are the speeds for the GPU and memory (respectively) on a standard Radeon HD3850. Information I have read on the web says that ASUS has overclocked the GPU to 730MHz and the memory to 1.90GHz. Running ATI Overdrive from the Catalyst Control Center indicates that the review sample is actually set to run at 750MHz on the GPU, and 1.90GHz on the memory. Either way, you're looking at about a 10% overclock on the core and about a 15% overclock on the memory.