Diamond Viper Radeon HD 3850 512MB Ruby Edition

Inspection of the Diamond Viper HD 3850 512MB

What else would we expect for a Radeon-based card from Diamond but one based on a red circuit board with no other markings except for Diamond's logo printed on the fan and a "D" over one port.  The Viper Radeon HD 3850 512MB Overclocked Ruby Edition is not a flashy card by any means, and at first glance looks it actually looks somewhat beefy unlike many of the slimmer, more decorated cards we've become accustomed to seeing.


The card's face is dominated by the large rectangular heatsink with embedded fan sitting squarely over the RV670 GPU.  The boxy structure juts directly out away from the card and is large enough that the Diamond Viper HD 3850 512MB requires not one slot, but two.  Some might hem and haw that a card not known as a true powerhouse is going to need more than one slot, but really who's using all of their slots nowadays anyway?  In stark contrast, the back side of the card is completely bare - not even a bracket is employed here to hold down the HSF, which is surprisingly light despite its looks.


The Viper Radeon HD 3850 512MB Overclocked Ruby Edition's cooling apparatus consists of two main parts: a large black aluminum heatsink and a brushless fan enclosed within a metal shroud.  The heatsink is attached directly to the GPU, but does not make any contact with the Samsung memory chips that encircle it.  Instead, the air that is drawn in by the fan blow over the heat sink and memory chips cooling them both.  Looking up the memory on Samsung's description list shows these chips as have a maximum frequency of 1000MHz, meaning there should be a little bit of wiggle room for raising speeds even further past the 900MHz they're clocked at on this card.


Two connectors are placed at the front of the card which can be used for connecting not only two, but up to four cards in CrossfireX - provided you have a compatible motherboard and the gumption to purchase that many graphics cards.  A dual Crossfire setup requires only a single bridge cable linking the two cards, while adding additional cards requires using the secondary connection with another cable.  As typically each card comes with its own Crossfire bridge, nothing else is necessary except for perhaps a more powerful power supply unit with ample power cables to keep the juice flowing.  Each card will require its own 6-pin power cable, although a converter from molex to 6-pin power is included in the box.


Along with the power splitter, S-Video and Component video cables are present as part of the bundle.  There are also adapters for HDMI-to-DVI and VGA-to-DVI conversions, and the CrossFire bridge that we mentioned previously.   An envelope labeled "Getting Started" contains a quick start guide covering card installation steps and slot identification to prevent any mix-ups that may occur.  The disc is generic and outdated, opening a PDF file catered to the HD 2000 series of cards rather than 3000s.

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