A Close-Up Look At The Cards
The first card we’re going to show you here is the Asus EAH3870 X2 1GB. As you’ll see, the card is much like AMD’s reference design, save for a couple of minor details...
The Asus EAH3870 X2 1GB has a custom decal affixed to its fan shroud, and it is bundled with a leather CD / DVD case, a driver and utility disk, and a second utility disk that includes a number of proprietary Asus applications in addition to a copy of 3DMark06. The card’s bundle also includes two DVI-to-VGA adapters, a DVI to HDMI (with audio) adapter, a CrossFire bridge connector, a dual Molex-to-6-Pin PCI Express power adapter, a HD component output dongle, and a full version of the current, DX10 game Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Although not as popular as a game like Crysis or CoD4, the inclusion of CoH:OF is welcome considering the card’s price.
We should note that the Asus EAH3870 X2 1GB is not factory overclocked. Its GPUs are clocked at 825MHz and its memory is clocked at 900MHz (1.8GHz DDR), just like AMD’s reference design. And the card carried a carries a 3-year warranty.
The HIS Radeon HD 3870 X2 is also based on ATI’s reference design (and is clocked the same too), sans the large decal on the fan shroud. With this setup, it’s easy to see the dual aluminum / copper heatsinks affixed to the GPUs and the aluminum heatsinks fins in the center that cover the on-board PCI Express fan-out switch.
HIS includes a couple of noteworthy accessories with their Radeon HD 3870 X2 card. Along with a DVI to HDMI adapter, dual DVI to VGA adapters, a CrossFire bridge connector, and HD component output dongle, the card ships with a driver CD, a case badge, and a certificate for Valve’s Black Box gaming bundle, which is comprised of Half Life: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Also included is a handy pen-screwdriver branded with a large HIS logo.
Although its box looks similar, the Asus EAH3870X2 1GB TOP is a different animal than the “non-TOP” version pictured at the top of the page. The Asus EAH3870X2 1GB TOP differs from AMD’s reference design in a number of meaningful ways. First of all, the cooling apparatus used on the card is completely different. Asus’ design employs a pair of heatsinks with heat-pipes with dual, dedicated fans – one for each GPU. We found the cooling apparatus to work well too. Whereas the GPUs on a reference 3870 X2 typically idled at about 55ºC and hit about 85ºC under load, this dual-fan solution kept the GPUs at about 52ºC while idling at 80ºC under load. And it does its job quietly.
The Asus EAH3870X2 1GB TOP is also factory overclocked. The GPUs on the card are clocked at 850MHz and the memory it cranked up to 950MHz (1.9GHz DDR). We should also note that Asus uses .8ns Hynix GDDR3 RAM on the card, which is rated for up to 1200MHz, so there should be some headroom available for the overclockers out there. Finally, the EAH3870X2 1GB TOP differs from the reference design in that is has four dual-link DVI outputs. What Asus has done, is utilize both of the outputs on each GPU, so the EAH3870X2 1GB TOP works just like a pair of standard Radeon HD 3870 X2 cards running in CrossFire mode.