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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  • ViRGE - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Testing Reply
  • dustinfrazier - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Going on a year for Nvidia dominance and boy does it feel good. I bought my 8800gtx pair the first day they were available last year and never expected them to dominate this long. God I can't wait to see what comes out next for the enthusiasts. It get the feeling it is gonna rock! I really wanna see what both companies have up their sleeves as I am ready to retire my 8800s.

    I understand that these latest cards are great for the finances and good energy savers, but what does it matter if they already have a hard time keeping up with current next gen games at reasonable frame rates, 1920x1200 and above? What good does saving money do if all the games you purchase in 08 end up as nothing but a slide show? I guess I just want AMD to release a card that doesn't act like playing Crysis is equivalent to solving the meaning of life. Get on with it. The enthusiasts are ready to buy!
    Reply
  • abhaxus - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    err, tried to do a hardocp logo and it hid everything in the previous post.
    text is:

    I've read that... but then I've also read on AT and that with current bios releases the asus boards are fine to around 360-400 FSB. I haven't O/C'ed an intel chip since the Celeron 300A so I am pulling my hair out trying to decide if it's worth it to plan for going SLI or just get a P35 board and stay with a single card.

    sorry to go so OT. the article was very good in typical anand style.
    Reply
  • JonathanYoung - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Just browsing through the article and this graphic caught my eye:

    Monitors command buffer to *ASSES* level of GPU utilization

    Not sure if this is an AMD or AT graphic, but you guys might want to correct it!
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    That'd be an AMD graphic, if I had an editable source I'd correct it, but all I've got is the PDF :)

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

    I have heard quite a few people dislike those line graphs you use, the eyes just don't register lines well vs bars (one reason why long lines are not put in center of roads and they use bars to make the line) Why not stick to bar graphs like you do in the power consumption page?

    The eyes like things to conform to a shape, or should I say the brain. :) Quick glance at a bar graph is easier for the brain to compute than following lines.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Regarding lines on road, this is somewhere on US83 between La Pryor and Leakey in southern Texas.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/strikeback0...">http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/strikeback0...

    I have no idea what that road marking means.

    As for the line charts, I like them better than a multiple bar chart would to display all the same info on a single chart.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    It's always tough finding a good balance, since I can cram so much more information into a line graph than a bar graph. I've just been toying with these things for the 8800 GT and this review, I'll see if I can come up with something better for the next round :)

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

    Can't please everyone I guess. I really like the line graphs. I think it is much easier to compare cards scaling across resolutions and gives a better overview of performance in relation to one another.

    You could use hand puppets and then everyone would be happy. I know I would :)
    Reply
  • JNo - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    I second that - lines ftw Reply

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