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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  • Roy2001 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Well, once I played games with AA enabled, I would never turn it off. I would rather lower the resolution. Reply
  • falacy - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    That's a giant "ME TOO!" for me.

    my old ATi 9800XT would run 4x AA at 1024x768 in most games and I found that more enjoyable than running 1280x1024 without AA. The 60Hz fliker of the monitor at 1280x1024 played a role in that I am sure, but mostly the trouble with gaming without AA is that objects in the distance tend to shimmer in an unnatural way that seems to pull me out of the moment. So, indeed lower resolution + 4x AA = a better experience than higher resolution that has distracting artifacts.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Alright, thanks. I actually overlooked the AA tests on Oblivion. Silly me.

    Mostly I was interested in knowing if the 3870 had better results running with 4x AA than the 2900XT. Interestingly enough, the 3870 doesn't seem to lose a lot with 4x AA, especially at high resolutions. The 8800GT is another story.
    Reply
  • munky - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    But... I'd like to see more games benchmarked, and with AA preferably. Reply
  • StormRider - Friday, November 16, 2007 - link

    Is anyone else bothered by the transistor count of 666 million? Couldn't they have done something so that it was 665 million or 667 million instead? Reply
  • aeternitas - Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - link

    lol How stupid. As you go out using this card to obviously kill some sort of opponent, you're bothered by this? Reply
  • Kaleid - Friday, November 23, 2007 - link

    Just a number, nothing more to it. Reply

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