Diamond Improves on the HD 3870
The fastest single-GPU card from AMD is still the Radeon HD 3870 and continues to struggle to stand up to the increasing competition from NVIDIA. Diamond is attempting to bump up the GPU’s performance by increasing the frame buffer to 1GB – but can it help performance at all?Introduction
Back in November of 2007 AMD released the Radeon HD 3800-series of graphics cards to a mostly positive reaction. The HD 3870 was the “high end” card meant to compete with NVIDIA’s 8800 GT card while the HD 3850 was aimed at the 8600 GTS and other mid-range solutions. Back then the HD 3870 was a 512MB card and the HD 3850 was 256MB – but times have shifted since then and in an attempt to keep up with increasing competition from NVIDIA in all price ranges we have seen both cards double their frame buffers. You can now easily find HD 3850 cards with 512MB of memory and today Diamond is the first card vendor to create a 1GB version of the HD 3870.
The GPU specifications and technical details remain unchanged from the reference HD 3870 cards we have become quite familiar with. The only exception is that Diamond has slightly overclocked this card to squeeze out every bit of performance available to it.
The Diamond Radeon HD 3870 1GB
With the most recent HD 3870 card releases, including the Visiontek review we recently posted, AMD and its partners have revised the cooler to be a bit quieter and slightly more efficient as well.
The Diamond Viper Radeon HD 3870 1GB card includes this new cooler that uses a copper heatsinks with heatpipes distributing the energy across an array of fins while the large fan on the back pulls in cooler air from the case, across the heatsink, and out the back of the double slot configuration.
The Diamond card continues to use dual dual-link DVI outputs with a single HDTV connection between them. Both of these DVI ports can be converted into HDMI ports using the included adapter.
Just like all the HD 3870 cards before it, this one supports CrossFireX configurations with up to four GPUs – you can go as far as to use four of these 1GB cards if you’d like or pair it with an HD 3870 X2 card for example.
The Diamond HD 3870 1GB card requires just a single 6-pin power connector.
Included in the box with the Diamond card is pretty much all you need to get started. There is a component HDTV dongle as well as an S-Video/composite adaptor cable to address most TV output options. They have also included a VGA-to-DVI adapter and the grey DVI-to-HDMI adapter; a twin Molex to PCIe power adapter rounds out the collection along with some documentation and driver CD.
Wait, didn’t I mention this card was overclocked? Yep, check out the next page for that!