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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  • Agent11 - Sunday, November 18, 2007 - link

    I was very disappointed with the use of a p35 chipset to compare crossfire to SLI.

    You use a motherboard with 16x by 16x pcie lanes for SLI but use one with 16x by 4x for crossfire... And then make a point of crossfire not scaling as well!

    Ask any bencher, it does matter.
    Reply
  • SmoulikNezbeda - Sunday, November 18, 2007 - link

    Hi,

    I would like to know what numbers in graphs really represents. Are those average FPS or something like (min + max + ave)/3 FPS?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • Agent11 - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    If it isn't average then theres a problem. Reply
  • wecv - Monday, August 14, 2017 - link

    Hello, I am from the future.
    We now have 2GB GPUs with GDDR5 as entry level, 4GB-8GB GPUs for midrange with GDDR5 and 8GB GDDR5/GDDR5X/HBM2 or 11GB GDDR5X for High-end and enthusiast!

    You may go and live back in the past.
    Reply
  • TheOtherRizzo - Saturday, November 17, 2007 - link

    What would you need a frame buffer of 512 MB for? That's enough room for about 80 1080p images. Sounds to me like someone at ATI is stuck in 1994 when framebuffers were the only memory on a graphics card... Reply
  • wecv - Monday, August 14, 2017 - link

    Hello, I am from the future.
    We now have 2GB GPUs with GDDR5 as entry level, 4GB-8GB GPUs for midrange with GDDR5 and 8GB GDDR5/GDDR5X/HBM2 or 11GB GDDR5X for High-end and enthusiast!

    You may go and live back in the past.
    Reply
  • ZipFreed - Friday, April 13, 2018 - link

    Lol, this comment is awesome and cracked me up. I am reading these older GPU reviews researching something and have been thinking similar sentiments to myself as I go.

    Glad you necro'd this.
    Reply
  • 0roo0roo - Saturday, November 17, 2007 - link

    the convoluted naming systems of gpus garrantees pretty much only geeks in the know will make good purchasing decisions. this matters to the health of the pc game industry, i'm sure many have been turned off by the experience of going to their local store and buying a card within their budget and little other useful information and getting a lousy experience. i'm sure retailers actually benifit from the confusion since they can charge more and just hope the customer just bases their decision on their price range. Reply
  • Shark Tek - Saturday, November 17, 2007 - link

    Finally GPU manufacturers are thinking right. Instead of making oven like heaters power hogs GPUs they're trying to make things right like Intel and AMD are doing with their CPU lines with less heat and power consumption.

    Lets see the upcoming generations how they will perform. ;)
    Reply
  • araczynski - Friday, November 16, 2007 - link

    I'm assuming this is a mid line card with better stuff coming out?

    otherwise I don't see the point of getting anything other than an 8800gt, prices are too close to give up top of the line for merely 60 or so bucks, or better yet, waiting a few more months till the 8900's roll out.
    Reply

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