Diamond Viper HD3850 Crossfire Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
Price: $179.99 each
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Purchasing a new video card is always a game of compromises. You usually start to compromise on performance when the dollar signs for the best of the best video cards start ramping up to those of your car payment or mortgage. Somewhere there has to be a price/performance line that is equitable to both your pocket book and your gaming experience. Now what if there was an option for a great gaming experience at a price point that is fair enough that you don't have to give up your first born child? Would you bite?
ATI/AMD and their partners have just released the latest in the HD series of video cards with the HD 3850 and HD3870 video cards. The Diamond Viper HD 3850 video card is one of these just introduced video cards. With a new release there is always anticipation while waiting for the results of those first benchmarks to see how well a release does. First let's talk about some of the features that make the new HD 3800 series stand out from the crowd. Direct X 10.1 support for HD gaming at its best, Shader model 4.1 support Support for PCIE 2.0, Plug and Play Crossfire X multi-GPU upgradeability, the ability to use four, yes I said four, video cards in Crossfire configuration on the new 790FX chipset AMD platform boards, the ability to watch HD or Blu Ray disks in full 1080p without placing most of the decoding burden on the CPU with UVD (Unified Video Decoder), and built-in HDMI 5.1 sound. For those who are looking at every watt of electricity they use, the R670 GPUs are built on a 55 nanometer process. Powerplay technology is used to reduce the consumption of power when the graphics are used in a nondemanding 2D environment by dropping the core speed of the GPU. With these kind of features, you can't go wrong. Is the Diamond Viper HD 3850 series more suited for use in an HTPC or an all out gaming rig? Let's find out.
The Diamond Viper HD 3850 256MB video cards come in a simple understated package rather than a gaudy box. The front has a picture of Ruby, the ATI icon, on the right hand side of the box, with the specifications and features on the back side. This no-nonsense approach is much appreciated. Just the simple approach works wonders and makes a product stand out from the crowd in the crowded world of retail shelf space. The video cards that were sent to OverclockersClub.com were OEM samples, so I will show the retail packaging and included bundle with pictures supplied by the manufacturer.
The bundled contents of the box include the manuals, Quick Start guide, driver disk, component output dongle, DVI to D-Sub adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter, S-Video to HDTV (7-pin) adapter, an S- Video cable and the Crossfire interconnect. The driver disk includes DVD playback software.
The Diamond HD 3850 series cards use a single slot cooling solution to keep the card's GPU, memory and power regulation circuits cool. The all copper cooling solution gives the card a weighty feel to it. The heatsink is kept in place by the retaining bracket over the backside of the GPU as well as six more spots on the card.
The Diamond HD3850 has two DVI outputs as well as an S-Video output. Dual-link DVI is supported. HDMI output is supported via the included adapter in the retail version of these cards. The Crossfire connections are seen at the front of the board. Having two connections available allows for having more than two cards in the Crossfire configuration. In fact, Crossfire X allows for up to four cards to be used in this configuration. The Crossfire interconnects are flexible and use a ribbon cable between the two contact blocks.