ATI R680: the Rage Fury MAXX 2?


What should we think of this Radeon HD 3870? First of all, AMD has reached its goal, taking back the crown for the most powerful graphics card. After all, it had been more than a year (since the launch of the 8800 GTX) since it was lost.

However, looking a little closer, the situation isn’t the best; to get to this, the manufacturer has used the old technique of pairing two mainstream GPUs on a single card using its existing technology: CrossFire. This design carries many consequences. First and foremost, there are random performance issues; in the rare event when games haven’t been profiled or can’t take full advantage of the spread computational power, performance is low and often inferior to those of the GeForce 8800 Ultra. Other consequences include a few early bugs related to CrossFire and a lower efficiency (the HD 3870 is only outperformed by 41% on average) resulting in a perfectible performance-power consumption ratio.

Even on the level of pure performance, the situation isn’t exceptional: the 8800 Ultra, a card available for 8 months now, is only outperformed by 7% (in 1920 * 1200), the gap being tiny in the other resolutions or even going to the advantage of the 8800 Ultra. Compared to AMD’s older high end, the Radeon HD 2900 XT, performances are increasing by only 42%.

However, at €400, the situation is still favorable to the HD 3870 X2. Expected in stores today, the 8800 Ultra can’t be found for less than €550 . The only thing is that this situation could be a short lived one. NVIDIA only needs to offer its own dual GPU card based on two G92s (which are more powerful than a R670 when considering actual clocks) to overshadow AMD on performance. However, we aren’t there yet and we should highlight the fact that this card’s life seems longer than the 7950 GX2, given its DirectX 10.1 support.

AMD Radeon HD 3870 X2

The fastest card today, once again, carries the AMD signature, after a long domination by NVIDIA. Based on two RV670, the HD 3870 X2 suffers, however, in part from its conception and isn’t as thrilling as a new chip, like a real R680, would have been.


The most powerful 3D Card
DirectX 10.1 support and possibility to add another card
UVD Inside (Avivo HD)


High noise and power consumption at peak
Small difference compared to a 8800 Ultra
Few bugs a holes in performances due to the internal CrossFire

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  • topman
    i wonder wat it would be like to run folding at home on. that would boost my skor lol
  • spuddyt
    i will reserve judgement on the ultra vs 3870x2 until the first driver release after the official release of the card - think how much performance the 2900 xt gained! (not that i would expect anything like that much, but the ultra has had a year for it's drivers to mature)
  • darthpoik
    Two chips and not even a beater of a single GTS and still no where near a card (the GTX) that has been out for almost a year. Come on ATI whats happenned.
  • blackwidow_rsa
    Anand's shows the card in a better light, something about newer drivers i hear? Beating the GTS in most games with a largish margin
  • aron311
    Is the R700 really delayed until 2009? I thought that rumour was dismissed...
  • sosrandom
    "Anand's shows the card in a better light, something about newer drivers i hear? Beating the GTS in most games with a largish margin"

    no it doesnt