Diamond Viper Radeon HD 3870 Showcase

Base System and 3DMark06 Results

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on a MSI P6N Diamond motherboard powered by a Core 2 Duo E6550 processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair RAM. The first thing we did when configuring our test system was to enter into the BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS, and installed the latest DX10 redist and various hotfixes along with the necessary drivers and applications.

 HotHardware Test System
 Intel Inside!

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drive -


Intel Core 2 Duo E6550

MSI P6N Diamond
nForce680i SLI Chipset

Diamond Radeon HD 3870 1GB OC
Diamond Radeon HD 3870 512MB
Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 Atomic
PNY GeForce 8800 GTS 512
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

2GB Corsair Dominator DDR2
2x1GB, 4-4-4-12 (1T)

Integrated Creative X-Fi

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
750GB - 7200rpm - SATAII

OS -

Direct X -

Video Drivers -


Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX 9 -
DirectX 10 -
OpenGL -
DirectX 10 -
DirectX 10 -
DirectX 10 -


Windows Vista Ultimate

DirectX 10

NVIDIA Forceware v169.25
ATI Catalyst v8.4


3DMark06 v1.1.0
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Company of Heroes
ET: Quake Wars 1.4
Crysis Single-Player Demo
Bioshock 1.1
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.1.0
Details: www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06

3DMark06 is one of the more recent additions to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

Diamond's two Vipers performed well, but not enough to overcome the two GeForce 8800 variants, nor the overclocked Radeon HD 3870 from Sapphire.  The higher speeds of the 1GB-based Viper allow it to run slightly by the 512MB default version, but only by 1-2% in the overall score or individual shader model testing.  Sapphire's Vapor-cooled HD 3870 Atomic manages to take the top spot for ATI's camp by leveraging the highest GPU and memory speeds on one card, whereas Diamond's samples have only default speeds on their GDDR4 version, and overclocked speeds for the core on the card mixed with the 1GB of slower GDDR3.

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