The HD3870 from AMD has enjoyed the most positive reception since ATI was absorbed by AMD.  Along with the vanilla card came overclocked versions, as well as a Toxic model.  Elite Bastards has manged to get their hands on a new flavour, the Sapphire HD3870 Atomic.  This choice features built in watercooling and a modest overclock of 35MHz on the GPU and 31MHz for the RAM.  It also comes with a reservoir and pump, so you do not need a watercooled rig to run this card, but a bit of free space will certainly help.  Read on to see how it performed, and how much further they managed to push this card.

“Connected to the board and water block is a unit which contains the pump, reservoir, radiator and a 120mm fan for cooling. This fan is connected to the graphics board itself to both power the fan and allow for temperature monitoring so that fan speed is automatically adjusted dependant on the heat being produced by the GPU. When idling at the Windows Vista desktop, this fan often doesn’t need to spin up at all, and even when running graphically intensive titles at factory clock speeds we only ever saw it needing to run at its lowest fan speed. While the noise from this fan coupled with the water cooler’s pump is certainly noticeable at all times, I’d hesitate to call it ‘loud’ per se, its volume level seems pretty acceptable for the average system to me, although you may disagree if you’re looking to produce a near-silent high-end setup.”

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