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Sapphire Toxic 512MB Radeon HD3870 Graphics Card
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Sapphire
Source: Sapphire
Purchase: PriceGrabber
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 3 of 9 [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ]
Sapphire Toxic 512MB Radeon HD3870 Graphics Card
May 13, 2008

Accessories:

The below left image shows the hardware accessories, which include a rather nice HDMI cable, a component video adaptor, a power adaptor to convert a 4-pin drive connector to a 6-pin PCI Express connector, a CrossFire bridge, a DVI to VGA adaptor, a DVI to HDMI adaptor, and a composite video adaptor. All in all the adaptors included have you covered on all ends, and the addition of an HDMI cable is a nice touch you don't often see.

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The above right image shows the software related accessories, as well as the user manual. You receive a copy of CyberLink's PowerDVD and DVD Suite, a disk with FutureMark's 3DMark06, and a driver CD. As mentioned earlier, there is also a code provided to get a free copy of "The Black Box" which includes Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Although the Black Box was canceled a long time ago, I found that I was able to activate the titles when I received a similar voucher with another card.


Installation and Operation:

The physical installation of the Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD3870 is a snap. Even though it has the specifications of an overclocked Radeon HD3870, it is more compact and lightweight than a typical HD3850. There should be no issues with getting this card into most systems, and the small footprint should make things easy for those looking to hook up a few of them in a CrossFireX setup.

Even though Sapphire includes a driver CD, I used the latest Catalyst software and drivers (8.471.1) that include a hotfix for compatibility with 3DMark Vantage (link). The screenshots below show some data on the card as provided by the Catalyst Control Center's Overdrive tab and by TechPowerUp's GPU-Z 0.2.1.

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During the first few hours of use it seemed like the fan ramped up to full speed far too often, even while just idling at the Window's Vista desktop or while running simple 2D applications. I was grateful that the noise of the fan at full speed was less than on other HD3850 and HD3870 cards I had used, but the frequency that it got to full speed seemed excessively. I can't really say what happened, perhaps there was a break in period on the thermal interface or the vapor chamber, but by the second day the noise situation had improved greatly. Now it only ramps up to full speed when the 3D action gets pretty heavy, and it is still quieter than other modern cards I have on hand. I don't mind the fan kicking into high speed during gaming, and I appreciate the low noise output during multimedia and desktop use.

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