Let's Get It Out of the Way: Radeon HD 3870 vs. GeForce 8800 GT

The question on everyone's mind is how well does the 3870 stack up to the recently launched GeForce 8800 GT? If you haven't been noticing our hints throughout the review, AMD doesn't win this one, but since the 3870 is supposed to be cheaper a performance disadvantage is fine so long as it is justified by the price.

Does the 3870 deliver competitive performance given its price point? Let's find out.

Honestly, the Radeon HD 3870 stays very close to the 8800 GT, much closer than AMD's previous attempts to touch the 8800 series. But is the price low enough to justify the performance difference? For that we must do a little numerical analysis; the table below shows you what percentage of the 8800 GT's performance the Radeon HD 3870 delivers:

 3870: % of GeForce 8800 GT Performance 1280 x 1024 1600 x 1200 1920 x 1200 2560 x 1600
Bioshock 84.4% 82.4% 87.9% 93.9%
Unreal Tournament 3 87.8% 85.8% 89.6% 91.6%
ET: Quake Wars 80.5% 95.9% 96.8% 103%
Oblivion 66.7% 74.1% 74.4% 71.5%
Oblivion (4X AA) 70.5% 77.7% 80.2% 82.6%
Half Life 2: Episode 2 101% 95% 91%

86.7%

World in Conflict 81.5% 85.7% 84.9% 89.2%
Call of Duty 4 103% 98.3% 92.3% 82.1%
Crysis 72.4% 73.3% 75.5% -
Average 83.1% 85.3% 85.8% 87.6%

Here's what's really interesting, on average the Radeon HD 3870 offers around 85% of the performance of the 8800 GT, and if we assume that you can purchase an 8800 GT 512MB at $250, the 3870 manages to do so at 87% of the price of the 8800 GT. The Radeon HD 3870 becomes even more attractive the more expensive the 8800 GT is and the opposite is true the cheaper it gets; if the 8800 GT 512MB was available at $219, then the 3870 doesn't stand a chance.

If AMD can actually meet its price expectations then it looks like the 3870 is actually competitive. It's slower than the 8800 GT, but the price compensates.

Pricing and Availability Obsoleting Products: Radeon HD 3870 vs. 2900 XT
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  • peldor - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Only if it's a HT+Gaming PC. If it's just a HTPC, a 8600 or 2400 is still lower power and lower noise (with fanless options). Reply
  • semo - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    i'm still kicking myself for buying an ati 7500. Reply
  • bryanW1995 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    I must be psychic. I called that about 30 minutes b4 article was posted. Anand must be reading my mind...:) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Wanna go double or nothing? How do you think Phenom is gonna turn out? ;)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    10% improvement over WHAT Anand? Come on, tell us... :)

    Chuck
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    C'mon Chuck, one AMD launch at a time :)
    Reply
  • GlassHouse69 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Nice article :)

    3870 can run games decently on 1920x1200 resolutions. Being that i dont care about Crysis (oh no! taboo comment!) or xbox360 games on the pc (gears o war), it seems like it could be the card to get..... If the retailers do not price gouge. Waiting for newegg to inflate this one.

    It seems that the 3850 is the same card as the 3870 in many ways. Any attempt at oc'ing will be really fascinating. I wonder if 1 Gb of gddr4 will make this card more competitive. even 768 megs would be nice/adequate
    Reply
  • Kougar - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Newegg has stock on three HD 3870 cards, all three are priced at $220 right now. Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    I have to ask, was there any antialiasing in these benchmarks? I suspect not but I'd like to hear an answer anyway.

    The 3850 looks like a good card for overclockers, since it's just a downclocked 3870. At least it's nice to see that the 2900XT and 2900Pro have mostly been rendered obsolete by a cooler, quieter product that can be brought up to snuff with some overclocking.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    We included AA numbers with Oblivion (look for Oblivion AA in the graphs). The problem with AA these days is that most newer games don't really run well enough to have AA enabled and quality settings turned up (read: Crysis). While it's not a problem when testing pairs of 8800 GTXes, we felt it wasn't top priority for the more affordable and less powerful cards.

    That being said, I'll talk it over with Derek and see what we can do for some of our future articles.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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