|ASUS EAH3870 TOP Overclocked Radeon HD3870 Graphics Card
After a few initial benchmarks and a bit of 3D gaming to get a feel for the card, the Overdrive tab was used in order to try to overclock the card to see how much extra performance could be squeezed out of it.
The Overdrive overclocking capabilities are generally pretty limited, and it has been a while since I have had a problem maxing out a GPU by using it. But, I said "try" to overclock on purpose, as it wasn't a successful venture at all. While the screen indicates that 885MHz is the maximum speed you might be able to hit, I found that 851MHz was the actual maximum (yes that is the stock speed). Even the slightest overclock would turn the screen black when the "Test Custom Clocks" or "Apply" button was clicked, and I would have to reboot.
The memory did overclock, but I was a bit conservative as I did not want to create any problems after seeing how sensitive the GPU was. After getting up to 1173MHz without problems I just backed down to stock speeds. Overclocking the memory without the GPU didn't seem like much fun, and the performance gains from this slight bump weren't all that exciting anyway.
The GPU comes overclocked from the factory by close to 10% over a typical HD3850, but I thought a little more would be nice. I can't determine what the issue was, but it does not appear to be driver related as a few re-installations on Vista and XP left me in the same situation.
A system with the following components was used to test the ASUS EAH3870 TOP Overclocked Radeon HD3870:
» Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Dual Core processor running at 3375MHz (9x375MHz)
» OCZ Technology Vendetta CPU cooler
» ASUS P5K Pro P35 ATX motherboard
» Kingston HyperX PC-9200 2GB DDR2 dual channel memory running at 1200MHz, 5-5-5-15
» Maxtor MaxLine III 250GB SATA 3Gbps hard drive
» Tuniq Miniplant 950W power supply
All tests were executed under Windows Vista Home Premium with all updates current as of early March 2008 (prior to SP1). In lieu of the driver's provided with the card, version 8.3 of the ATI Catalyst software suite was used.
For comparison purposes, the 512MB ASUS EAH3870 TOP was tested head-to-head with two cards from the ATI Radeon HD3850 series. The first competitor is the 256MB ASUS EAH3850 TOP Radeon HD3850, and the second competitor is the 256MB Visiontek HD3850. From left to right in the image below we have the Visiontek HD3850, the ASUS HD3850, and the ASUS HD3870.
Except for the stickers the two HD3850 cards are identical, and the HD3870 has the same general dimensions but is just a two slot device.
The table below provides a side-by-side comparison of the key features and specifications for the three cards to be compared.