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
POST A COMMENT

117 Comments

View All Comments

  • Iger - Friday, November 16, 2007 - link

    Another interesting question is warranty. Main manufacturers of 8800GT (eVGA and XFX) give lifetime warranty on their products - that's much more impressive than saphire's 1 year... Reply
  • Odeen - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    In one word, kinky. Reply
  • Xcom1Cheetah - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    At techreport they show that the 3870 power usage under full load is full 39W less than the 8800GT... thats a huge difference..
    Any idea why there is such a large difference.

    http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/13603/9">http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/13603/9
    Reply
  • GlassHouse69 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    that makes immensely more sense than the results shown here. the 3850-70 isnt a massive leap and the ram requires alot less juice to run as well. (according to other articles of 3vs4 gddr) Reply
  • just4U - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    First off excellent article.

    As to the sightings .. Ok here in Canada we tend to get things a little later then those in the states BUT the local shop I deal with already has 3850/70s in stock for
    179/239 respectively.

    For some reason even tho our dollar is finally on par (accually higher then the us greenback) we still seem to be paying higher prices. Perhaps price gouging from the retail stores.. (what ever) But anyhow it's in stock here in Calgary and there's not a 8800GT to be had... which sells at 329(ish) so yeah ... I think ill pick one one up based on this article.
    Reply
  • forPPP - Friday, November 16, 2007 - link

    quote:

    ... 3850/70s in stock for 179/239 respectively. For some reason even tho our dollar is finally on par (accually higher then the us greenback) we still seem to be paying higher prices.


    You are extremely lucky. In Poland 3870 is listed for $440 !!! OK with VAT (without $360), but it's the same price as for 8800GT. Well, who will buy it then ??? It's a joke - same price, much slower and more power hungry ! ATI what happened !?
    Reply
  • just4U - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    mmm ok so I was wrong. Shops around here have them listed but don't yet have them in stock. They are expected over the next few days. Reply
  • falacy - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    This is something we should all keep in mind, given that nothing has fundimentally changed in PC computing in the last 8 years. There is still a lot of fun to be had from the plethora of older PC games, which even the lowest end harware can play in full detail (with the exception of Unreal, which really taxes older hardware). And hey, if you're not going to complain about waiting 10 seocnds for it load, Open Office works great on lowend hardware too. Heck, even the lowest end Conroe CPUs trounce the 3.0GHz Pentium4 line in video tanscoding (and it would be interesting to see how the new Celeron 4xx series stacks up against a Pentium4 with 512K of chache, as they are both single core...).

    I just purchased a EVGA E-GEFORCE 8600GT Superclocked 567MHZ 256MB 1.5GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card for $95 CAD, which sure beats the $110 CAD that the 8500GT was priced at a couple of weeks ago. As far as usefullness goes in the $100 price segment, the 8600GT is a great buy, as it has playable graphics at 1280x1024 and 1024x768 in many games, where the 8500GT just does not.

    Hopefully now the passively cooled 8500GT models, which have smaller heatsinks and price tags than the passively cooled 8600GT, will be the standard for HD player PCs and we can all forget about the 8400 line of cards.

    It would have been nice to get one of the 3850s, but for the extra $80 it's not really worth the performance boost for people like me who are still using a 1024x768 CRT and Windows XP, playing older games and who perhaps have gotten too old to want to chase the latest gaming craze. I do have the hardware for Vista 64bit, but it's not worth hassle of the side-grade, when there isn't anything out there I feel compelled to play in DirectX 10. Maybe in a couple years there will be more DX10 titles that it will be worth upgrading the OS and monitor, rather than spending money on hardware.

    I'm running an ASUS P5K-VM, Pentium-Dual Core E2160, 1GB DDR2 667, which leaves my Pentium4 531 and 1GB DDR in the dust! Apart from only supporting PCI-E 1, this board will stand the test of time, so long as games/applications become more quad-core optimized, but for right now it's a super fast, super cheap computer compaired to what I paid for my Celeron 300a based uber-computer I had less than 10 years ago!
    Reply
  • poeticmoons - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    It’s seems like you just ran over the fact that the 3870 is a dual slot card. Now I know that the 8800GTS and GTX were dual slot, but the 8800GT isn’t and I feel that is a very important factor. I don’t see how you would run 4 dual slot GPU’s in an ATX form factor case. Yes I know that the 3850 is a single slot card, but the high memory GT isn’t competing with that card it’s competing with the 3870. With a die shrink I would have just assumed that a dual slot card would be unnecessary. Reply
  • Spoelie - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Text hints at 3870 actually being quieter, while the slide mentions otherwise. Any data to back this up? Also, is the quieter part during idle or load, or both? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now