Forum Thread: Gigabyte HD3870 review - page 1

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Author:   kspiess
Date:   Feb 28, 08 at 3:26am (PST)
Subject:   Gigabyte HD3870 review
Good day all.

I just reviewed Gigabyte's HD 3870. This one has a Zalman cooler on it, and comes with Neverwinter Nights 2. We benched it against the recently released 9600GT.

Check'er out.

Gigabyte Radeon HD 3870 versus the 9600GT

Author:   nem
Date:   Mar 1, 08 at 4:09pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
nice review ' Thanks
I love this card at first sight. Gigabyte done very good job

Author:   Jeff17
Date:   Mar 1, 08 at 5:30pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
The gigabyte 3870 cards use ddr3 memory. 3870 cards should be scoring at least faster than the 3850 cards, but maybe its the ddr3 that makes it score the same? Normally the 3870 cards all come with DDR4 memory.

Author:   kspiess
Date:   Mar 4, 08 at 1:57am (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
Nem-=> Thanks dude!

Jeff17 -=> This is the only HD3870 with DDR3 as far as I know.
Also, the Powercolor HD3850 Xtreme PCS that was used in the benchmarks is a factory-overclocked, super-charged HD3850 that uses DDR4 memory. So, it is sort of a reverse match-up of what you might normally see... it is a bit surprising how close the two came in the benchmarks. The low memory clock of the Gigabyte 3870 definitely does not help the cards performance -- but this can be overcome by a reasonable overclock.

Here's an old post about the differences between GDDR3 and GDDR4 (stolen from a forum):

1) 7.2 vs 11.2 GBps per chip max data speed
2) 1.8 vs 2.8 GBps per pin max data rate
3) 1.8 vs 1.5 v minimum power consumption which results in a 20-25% energy savings
4) 2.1 vs 1.9 v maximum power for overclocking
5) 4 vs 8 bit burst length which allows more memory bandwidth and lower latency
6) no DBI vs DBI: Data Bus Inversion - it takes more energy to transfer 0s than 1s. When there are a lot of 0s to move, it will send them as 1s instead and then use DBI to signal that all those 1s needed to be flipped back to 0s. This is a power saving feature.
7) Three point voltage control via video card driver for fine tuning and overclocking

I haven't specifically tested for speed differences between GDDR3 and GDDR4 (hey not a bad idea for an article hmm..) but I can tell you, that it makes a significant difference, but not a HUGE difference. As in, the difference isn't big enough to make or break a card; it is only a small performance difference; but it is there.

Author:   kspiess
Date:   Mar 4, 08 at 1:59am (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review

BTW we are missing pictures throughout my last two video card reviews.

It seems that we are being hot-linked a lot more now, and that is somehow getting our pictures taken off the articles due to cache issues. Developer guys here at home base are checking it out and will be fixing the problem soon, most certainly.

Author:   Astro
Date:   May 12, 08 at 10:52pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review

I'm a bit confused. The review said the Gigabyte 3870 card was quiet. It's anything but unfortunately. The fan stays on 100% all the time. This would have been a great card if the fan was temperature controlled.

Author:   kspiess
Date:   May 13, 08 at 12:16am (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
It's been awhile, but I do not remember the Gigabyte HD3870 running at %100 all the time. Something is most definitely going wrong somewhere if it is.

I'll be testing it tomorrow, so I'll investigate further and get back to you.

Worse case though, you could run a manual fan control program (such as riva tuner) and keep the fan running at %60 or %70 and you should be fine.

Oh and just btw, just checked out the card's price on newegg, and the first user review that popped up says the fan runs "nearly silent" so that also lends me to believe yours is misfiring somehow.

And you do have the HD3870 as pictured in my review right? Just wanted to check because there are multiple models of the Gigabyte HD3870.

Author:   Tompp
Date:   May 15, 08 at 5:07pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
The fan stays on 100% all the time. Atitool and Rivatuner do not change this (at least on mine). The fan is not terrible as fans go, but when you're used to adjusting the fan speed depending on the temperature then it is loud. My x1950pro with the Zalman already added was the best. Great cooling which only ramps up when you need. Quiet as anything for anything but games.

Author:   karim farouk
Date:   Oct 10, 08 at 12:19pm (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
Is there anyway to volt mod the fan on the vga board ..
i dont want to connect it to an external low volt source or use speed controller like Fan mate ?

Author:   kspiess
Date:   Oct 11, 08 at 12:55am (PST)
Subject:   re: Gigabyte HD3870 review
Have you dudes been using the Catalyst 8.10 drivers? With that release you can control fan speed.

Personally I haven't been using Cat 8.10; but that's what I've been reading.

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