Dual-GPU Comparison - 3850x2 vs 3870x2 vs 9800GX2


As many of us will already have expected, the 9800GX2 is without doubt the fastest card of the bunch. Managing to beat out the 3870x2 by up to 70fps in some benchmarks, the 3870x2 is certainly starting to show its age. However, the reason we came here today was not just to simply pit these three dual-gpu cards against one another, but to find out if the higher price tag of the 9800GX2 is actually worth it.
With £35 separating the 3850x2 and 3870x2, and a further £100 between the 3870x2 and the 9800GX2, there are certainly some savings to be had if the performance differences between the cards is something that you'll never actually see. Looking back at the graphs over the previous pages, all three cards are more than adequate at playing most games at high resolutions and with AA enabled. However, when you get to the more taxing games such as Crysis the ATI cards struggle to make 30fps, whereas the 9800GX2 comfortably manages at least 50fps.
The graph shown below gives us an overall FPS/Cost score for each of the cards:
Cost Per Frame - Average
With all things considered, the results are actually quite a bit closer than we was expecting. Yes the 9800GX2 is over £100 more than it's nearest ATI counterpart, but the extra performance of the card brings its overall cost per frame to £3.86 at 1280x1024 resolutions and £3.53 at 1900x1200 resolutions. The 3850x2 does offer the best value for money across the board with £3.37 and £3.18 prices for 1280x1024 and 1900x1200 resolutions respectably, but with only a measly £0.49 between the highest and lowest results, it's hard not to recommend the 9800GX2 if you've got the cash.
ASUS EAH3850x2
OC3D Value For Money Award Recommended Award
Asus EAH3870x2
OC3D Recommended Award
Asus EN9800GX2
OC3D Performance Award
Thanks to ASUS for making this review possible. Discuss this review in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

07-06-2008, 12:31:10

good review as always

good to see that ATi have actually worked their way into a comfortable spot in the market Quote

07-06-2008, 12:40:29

kool - should be a good read as ive just bought a 9800GX2 and already own a 3870X2Quote

07-06-2008, 12:54:03

I`m always keen to see comparisons on a per-cost basis. I think it`s very important for people who intend to build the best pcs they can, with the budget they have available.

It`s not merely the case that with limited funds ur going to end up with a crap pc, but more that u have to be wizer about the parts u use for what. Value.

Same is to be said for cpus.

The only thing about these comparisons is that they can change so quickly. Next week or month, the prices change and the performance per cost changes - and yet u `can` be left with the memory of what the previous review said.

I`d like to see a push for a sale based on what grocery supermarkets have for products.

There are enough benches about, and as long as all the factors are taken into consideration - maybe at the start of each year, some1 like Futuremark can name a "performance" pc, afa they concerned. Thereafter in the year, the products for sale can have $4.50/frame08 ($3.75/frame08OC) - or something similar attached to them - based on their results within that PC setup.

Crazy idea, but it only takes some1 in someplace like Futuremark to mention it at a meeting and we`ll all be seeing it in the ads. Don`t think they necessarily need to take to AMD/nVidia about it, and have their legal people draw up a waterproof disclaimer.

Meh, I`d like it. Same for cpus.Quote

07-06-2008, 14:15:09

Yup, the frame per pound is very good

Its good to see a review that compares them all..Quote

08-06-2008, 15:59:37

Except a 3850x2 is like impossible to find and 3870x2 are cheaper anyway

Whatever happened to the GDDR4 models then :S

Nice review though, I think cards should be based on frames relative to money a lot more.Quote

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