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Sapphire HD 3850 Review

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This Sapphire HD3850 will be put through a rigorous set of benchmarks that will be very demanding. I'll be comparing this card against another card from its family - the Sapphire HD3870. In addition to that card, I'll be comparing the Sapphire HD2600XT, the Foxconn 8600GTS and the eVGA 8800GTS 640MB against this HD3850. The 8800GTS 640MB is considered a top-of-the-line card while the 8600GTS and HD2600 XT are considered mainstream video cards. Let's see where this Sapphire HD3870 falls when compared against three great cards. In all of the gaming benchmarks and tests, higher is better.

Test System:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Processor
  • Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6
  • Sapphire HD3850
  • G. Skill 2GB (2x1GB)
  • OCZ GameXStream 600W Power Supply
  • Western Digital 160GB SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive
  • Windows XP Professional SP2
  • Thermaltake Armour Exteme Edition
  • Driver Version 7.10
  • UPDATED: Driver Version 7.11

Comparison Cards:

  • Sapphire HD3870 (ATi)
  • Sapphire HD 2600XT (ATi)
  • Foxconn 8600GTS OC (nVidia)
  • eVGA 8800GTS 640MB (nVidia)

NOTE: Our Sapphire HD 2900 XT was going to be included in this review but we don't have updated benchmark results at this time. The scores will be implemented into the review shortly.

UPDATE: We re-ran all of the benchmarks over with the new drivers that were posted on the Sapphire website after the review was launched. The results are in each of the graphs as "New Drivers".

UPDATE: We re-ran all of the benchmarks over with the new drivers and with the GPU overclocked to 850MHz and the memory at 950MHz. These updates are in the graphs as "Overclocked".

Gaming Benchmarks:

  • Far Cry: Hardware OC (Ubisoft Volcano)
  • F.E.A.R. (Performance Test)
  • Call of Duty 2: Stalingrad (FRAPS)
  • Quake 4: Hardware OC
  • Need For Speed: Most Wanted (FRAPS)
  • BioShock (FRAPS)


Benchmark: Far Cry

First, I'll start with an older first person shooter.


  • Maximum quality option, Direct3D renderer
  • Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
  • Pixel shader: model 2.0b
  • Antialising: 4×
  • Anisotropic filtering: 8×
  • HDR: disabled
  • Geometry Instancing: disabled
  • Normal-maps compression: disabled



Looks like the Sapphire HD3850 and the Foxconn 8600GTS will be a good match up, lets see how they compare on the rest of the benchmarks. Not only does it do very well against the 8600GTS, it also beats the HD2600XT which is one of the cards that is being replaced by this newer technology.


  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look Continued
  3. Installation
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing ( Setup,Benchmark FarCry)
  6. Benchmark: F.E.A.R.
  7. Benchmark: BioShock
  8. Benchmark: Call of Duty 2
  9. Benchmark: Quake 4
  10. Benchmark: NFS: Most Wanted
  11. Benchmark: 3D Mark 06
  12. Benchmark: RyderMark
  13. Conclusion
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