R680 Has Landed: ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2

0 thumbs up



At first glance, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 looks much like AMD’s previous high-end GPU offerings.  The card features ATI’s signature red PCB with an up-close-and-personal look into Ruby’s eyes emblazoned on the fan shroud.  Flip the card over, however, and it becomes abundantly clear that the Radeon HD 3870 X2 has a lot going on under its cooler.


     


    


    
AMD's Reference ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 Card


 
As we’ve already mentioned, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 is powered by a pair of RV670 GPUs, the same chips used on the Radeon HD 3870 and 3850.  The two GPUs are linked together on the PCB through a PCI Express fan-out switch from PLX.  That switch takes the 16 PCI express lanes coming from the PEG slot and distributes them to both of the GPUs.  We should note, however, that although the RV670 GPU has a native PCI Express 2.0 interface, the on-board switch is PCI Express 1.1 compliant only.  Also note that the 3870 X2 has only a single CrossFire edge connector along the top of its PCB.  It has only one because the other connection is already utilized on the PCB.  Although the Radeon HD 3870 X2 is equipped with a CrossFire connector, at this time drivers are not available that will allow end users to link two of these cards together for quad-GPU CrossFireX.  Those drivers are coming though.

Each of the GPUs on the Radeon HD 3870 X2 has its own 512MB frame buffer, for a total of 1GB of on-board memory.  As you can see, the entire assembly is quite large and results in a 10.5” PCB – a little longer than a standard ATX motherboard.  The cooler used on the card is much like previous offerings, but there are some noteworthy elements to the design.  Each of the GPUs gets its own all copper heatsink, but the surrounding heatplate and heatsinks for the switch and RAM is made of aluminum.  AMD went with a hybrid aluminum and copper cooler to keep the card’s weight down, but it is still quite heavy.

Like the other members of the Radeon HD 3800 series, AMD’s reference ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 has a pair of dual-link DVI outputs, and an HD video output.  One of the DVI outputs can be converted to an HDMI output with audio using an included adapter.  Because the Radeon HD 3870 X2 has dual GPUs though, it is capable of supporting four DVI outputs.
 


 

If you look at the breakdown above, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 isn’t simply two Radeon HD 3870s fused together on a single PCB.  The GPUs on the Radeon HD 3870 X2 will be clocked at a minimum of 825MHz, up from the standard 3870’s 775MHz.  The X2’s frame buffer memory will be clocked lower, however, 1.8GHz vs. 2.25GHz.  What this means is that in applications that are limited by shader performance and fillrate, the X2 should be faster than a pair of Radeon HD 3870 cards running in CrossFire mode.  Conversely, in applications that are memory bandwidth bound, the dual-card CrossFire configuration should be somewhat faster.

Article Index:

Prev 1 2 3 4 Next
0
+ -

phresh:
You guys are awesome at missing the mark. 

To phresh:

What makes you an authority? Do you have any legitimate credentials?

You come off like you know a page more than the book, have you ever built a system... if so, how many?

Do you have any expirience bench testing high end machines comparatively or running a tech website?

Do you consider your critiques constructive criticism? If not then what is your agenda?

To the admins:

I've gathered that you guys have a pretty "thick skin" for the most part, but I can't help feeling as though phresh is willfully condescending and also can't help feeling a bit aggitated by it.

To the HH forum community:

You guys may feel like I'm overreacting and wasting my time by questioning this individual, but I respect HotHardware and trust their reviews implicitly!

BTW: If you think my reaction was spawned by just 1 post, read his other 2!

 

0
+ -

recoveringknowitall:

To phresh:

What makes you an authority?

Never claimed to be an authority. I'm just a dude that thinks critically and enjoys flaming forums. 

 

recoveringknowitall:

Do you have any legitamate credentials?

I can spell legitimate, does that count? 

recoveringknowitall:

You come off like you know a page more than the book, have you ever built a system... if so, how many?

No, I just run eMachines. lol. Really though, approaching 50 or so over the past decade. 

recoveringknowitall:
 

Do you have any expirience bench testing high end machines comparatively or running a tech website?

Bench testing yes, did a lot getting my q6600 to 3.4 stable on air without too many volts. Tech website, nope.

recoveringknowitall:

Do you consider your critiques constructive criticism? If not then what is your agenda?

Yes and I also enjoy being condescending, bite me.  My agenda is simply to point out things that don't make sense and have a bit of fun along the way.

 

Sincerely,

-phresh 

0
+ -

IMO you are misinformed and childish. I hope that if you continue to post here that you will step up your maturity and present your oppinion without disrespecting the people that run this site.

 

 

0
+ -

 And I think you lack any significant point and suck at spelling. Let's fight about it.

 The fact remains that no one here has properly addressed the issues I brought up. Pure fail.

0
+ -

We don't flame here, find another forum to disrespect.

0
+ -

I'll disagree with your assessment that this was a "terrible" review, but I see where you're coming from. The reason I don't test SLI is two-fold - 1) I compared single-cards throughout the benchmarks, and only included 3870 CrossFire as a reference point and 2) NVIDIA's 8800 GTX is the closes price-match to the X2.

HotHardware readers know that NVIDIA cards can be run in SLI mode, and there are a TON of SLI benchmarks on the site for all to see. This isn't "imsortaintopchardwareanddontknowmuch.com".

0
+ -

Everyone is making such a big deal about it but I think the performance ended up exactly where I thought it would.. basically 8800GTX ish performance with the right driver support of course. I think this card bought AMD some time but their next GPU had better really bring the goods or its gona be another long year for AMD. The price performance of this card is really good.. I think if it can be aquired for 399 ish then it would be a real deal. I would like to see a few more games thrown in when you guys get the time. I would also like to aquire the HIS overclocked turbo model instead of the reference design. My 2 cents.

0
+ -

Hi All, That's pretty much what I thought as well. New egg however has the cards in stock for this price though. http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=48&name=Video-Cards

0
+ -

 Hi there,

I have a 17 inch LCD monitor 1280*1024 32bit, Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 @ 3.262GHz 466FSB ORTHOS,PRIME,OCCT,SANDRA,AND OTHER FULLY STABLE (1.86GHz Default) with Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6 Motherboard (Rev. X.X WITH F7 BIOS) with 2GB Kingston Hyper-X 800MHz Memory modules in Dual Channel Mode (128bit - 64bit*2).I'm using ATI GFX-Cards FOREVER and the reason is because i don't know what the Bench sites are saying or doing but every time that i was trust any of the benchmarks i was pissed off because is like they are saying lies to me at least.Finally i want to make something about the ATI HD3870 clear and not for the ATI HD3870 X2 is that in any game i'm playing the frames are about 60F.P.S.(Frames Per Second) and up, not at least in any time of the game drops below of that at ALL FULL GRAPHICS and all Details Cranked Up - AA16X,HDR and so on...... and something else those 55nm babes and not 65nm are so easy overclockable ~1000MHz+++ core (stock cooling- within VGA BIOS modifications).

0
+ -

Hi All

I agree with you Flyin. I think that HotHardware's approach to benchmarking is the right way to go. The creation of their own time demo addresses the canned benchmark concern, while at the same time giving you a real world experience.

Prev 1 2 3 4 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: