Diamond Viper HD3850 Crossfire Reviewccokeman -
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In the not so recent past, one of the drawbacks to performance based ATI video cards was the noise that the cooling solution generated. Having two hair dryers spooling up next your head is an unappealing solution to the cooling problem. With the reduced power and smaller 55 nanometer process used on the HD 38XX series of GPUs, the cooling solution does not need to be as robust. The Diamond HD 3850, like many of the ATI partner's video cards, uses the same single slot cooling solution. The fan used to cool the card has a noise level rating of 31 to 34dB. The rear of the heatsink covers the power circuits and does not gain any additional cooling capability from the fan used to cool the GPU. The Viper HD3850 only requires a single six-pin additional power power supply based on the lower power consumption of this series of GPUs. Rather than exhausting the hot air out of the case, the cooling solution on the HD 3850 series card is designed to blow the hot air back into the case. At least it is directed upwards so that the exhaust fan on the case can remove some of the heat.
Removing the heatsink from the Diamond Viper HD 3850, the GPU, power circuits and memory are revealed. The interface between the memory modules and power circuits is thermal tape. On the GPU, the material appears to be a silver based thermal paste. Behold ATI's newest core, the R670. The memory used on this application is manufactured by Samsung. The power circuits are located on the rear end of this series of cards.
After having a quick look at the card's features, it is time to get the pair installed and see how well they perform.