Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: We were pleasantly surprised by the ASUS EAH3850 TOP. We expected it to perform about on par with the GeForce 8800 GT 256MB, but that wasn't the case. Thanks to its boosted clocks, the EAH3850 TOP outshined both the 8800 GT 256MB and the reference HD 3850, especially when the cards were running at high resolutions.
We are not sure why ASUS uses such big boxes for its cards, but we are consistently happy with their bundles, and the EAH3850 TOP package is no exception. Not only does ASUS throw in plenty of adapters and cables, but the company also includes Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, a great game that can definitely help you show off what your new card has to offer. For those of you wanting a good gaming card for your home theater PC, take a close look at the EAH3850 TOP, which offers HDMI output with built-in multi-channel 5.1 suround sound over the DVI-to-HDMI adapter.
A quick look around the web reveals that the regular ASUS EAH3850 can be yours for around $180-200. We weren't able to find the overclocked TOP version that we reviewed here, however, which means we are uncertain about current retail availability. Regardless if we are talking about the EAH3850 TOP or just the regular EAH3850, the bundle appears to be the same, which means both offer good value overall. For those of you uncomfortable with overclocking, but still want a boost in performance over the reference HD 3850, hopefully ASUS makes the TOP model more readily available soon.
While we found the ASUS EAH3850 TOP to be impressive and easy to recommend, we were definitely disappointed when we couldn't find it at any of the major online resellers at the time of this writing. Would we recommend the regular EAH3850? Yes, we probably would, but we'd still prefer the TOP model assuming it doesn't cost much more than the reference model.
|• Excellent mid-range performance
• Not too loud
• HDMI Output with built-in multi-channel 5.1 surround audio over DVI-HDMI adapter
• DirectX 10 support
• Good game included
|• Is the huge box necessary?|
• Availability of this model is questionable