ATI HD3870 X2 ReviewFormer staff writer - January 27, 2008
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So far I have tested at least one ATI 3870 on all three of the most popular 790FX motherboards, those being from Gigabyte, ASUS and MSI. The ASUS and MSI boards that I used were both first release boards and still have some stability issues even though I have updated them with every BIOS available. I have found that the Gigabyte board is the most stable at this time. I’m not ready to trash MSI or ASUS right now because they have worked very closely with me to get through the problems and have both decided to send me new boards.
I have two concerns. Why does the X2, in some games, perform worse with an overclock, and will there be an increase in performance with the final release of the 8.45 drivers? I want to talk a little about the benchmarks; as you have seen with Crysis, stock scores mimicked more of a Crossfire score than a dual processor. Yes, Crossfire is two processors, but they are separate boards and the architecture is much different than having both on the same board. You also forgo the bridges. Now is this due to Crysis being too nVidia specific and lacks the Crossfire support, or can it be that ATI’s architecture is not ready for such a demanding game? I had thought that the 1.1 Crysis patch would have fixed the problem, but it doesn’t look like it had. Ok, so that is one game, and in the rest it did outperform all 3870s, even those in Crossfire mode.
Getting back to overclocking. Was it worth it? I achieved a stable overclock of 855/951, which I think is pretty decent. Unfortunately, the X2 didn’t like it. Most benchmarks received fairly identical scores and at least two received lower. Don’t we overclock to go higher? In this case I guess not. I hope that with the final release of the new drivers things will change, usually things get better as they come of age.
Dual processors on one board are a great concept as it lowers the amount of space and the number of expansion slots used. The ATI HD 3870 X2 uses a 55nm chip and produces twice the Gigaflops per watt compared to previous high end cards. With these two factors, you should get less heat and increased performance. So far, I have not see an increase in performance but I have seen a decrease in heat, at max load and overclocked while playing Crysis as I only achieved a temperature of 79 Celsius. Compared to other cards I have used, not bad. So I have one last comment I’d like to make. AMD, Give Us More Stable Drivers!