Powercolor HD3850 Extreme PCS - AMD 3850 Performance explored

Introduction: AMD HD 3850 Technology and Specification

ati hd3850

The graphics card market is a fast moving place and after our last review of the XFX 8800 GT that did rather well it was inevitable that we would be seeing another card come out in the marketplace.

This time it's ATI's turn to come out with a new chip..and we've got our hands on the Powercolor HD3870. In my opinion the mid-high range has suffered a little lately with some bad and some ok offerings. Will ATI's latest card be the one to pick? Read on fellow enthusiasts...


With the limited information we've had available to us on this GPU, I thought I'd start with

3850 specification
The card is PCI-e 2.0 compatible and runs on the 55nm process. Another feature worth mentioning is that the card will support quad crossfire when AMD bring out their next chipset. Let's not forget that AMD are releasing this one with the label DX10.1 compatible and allegedly supporting Shader Model 4.1...whatever use they'll be for the next year or so...
It looks like AMD/ATI have taken the basics of the 2900XT and slowed it down a bit, but not much. With 320 stream processors and still a pretty fast 720MHz on the GPu itself we should hopefully see some good stuff. 512mb memory abounds on the HD3850 running on a 256MBit bus. Memory bandwidth again seems high with 57.6 GB/sec.

Lets not forget that the Powercolor HD3850 is overclocked out of the box from 668Mhz on the core to 720MHz and the memory is increased from 828Mhz to 900MHz. None too shabby.


Now let's get onto the card in hand (none in the bush). Powercolor have gone the classic route of adding an attractive computer generated lay-dee on the front cover of their packaging, which is a little cliché, but there's still a fair amount of information. The box looks a little samey which is a shame but I don't think many of these will be sold on retail shelves...more e-tail.
hd3850 box

hd3850 box rear
As I said, there's a fair amount of info there but it's a little uninspiring.
powercolor inside box hd3850

Inside the box we see that the GPU is pretty well protected. Certainly on it's journey around the world to me the card itself came to no harm, despite a rather alarmingly large dent in the packaging itself.


Powercolor have always been a company that tend to keep their package fairly minimal. All of the hardware you'll need is, however, inside the box but I do not think you'll be finding a raft of software to use. This isn't always a bad thing as it tends to reduce costs.
powercolor hd3850 package

As I said everything is there, including:

* Quick Start Manual
* S-Video to component connector
* S-Video to composite connector
* Composite to composite connector
* DVI to VGA connector
* Internal Crossfire connector

Not shown is the driver CD which will obviously be included in the retail version.

It's all looking fairly good so far, let's go on to see what the card actually looks like.
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Most Recent Comments

15-11-2007, 06:55:56

Nice review Kemp. Performance was a little underwhelming but it all depends on the price point really. I think on the first page hard should be harm.Quote

15-11-2007, 17:12:17

Cheers mate. Performance was pretty damn good if you ask me, £135 for a card that nearly performs as well as an 8800GT?Quote

15-11-2007, 17:17:11

Nice review there, I really thought I would have to be canceling my 8800gt order! But not quite. I've never had an Ati card, but I take it the price will be around £130 and up for pre oc'ed cards. Is the powercolor a reasonably middle of the road brand for Ati?

The cooler looks pretty decent, found a link to manufactures of them:


Nice one Quote

15-11-2007, 17:25:29

looks awsome

performs medeocre - reasonable

not bad i guess Quote

15-11-2007, 17:47:35

ATI are back in the game, well sort of. I wonder when places will get them in stock.Quote

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