ATI HD3850 & HD3870: Improved Acoustics & Power Effi

Want to talk about one of the articles in SPCR? Here's the forum for you.
MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

ATI HD3850 & HD3870: Improved Acoustics & Power Effi

Post by MikeC » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:59 am

Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

derekva
Posts: 477
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:00 am
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Contact:

Post by derekva » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:08 pm

Great article - especially the comments about the 'obese frog'! :D

Any chance we can have a follow-up comparing these cards to the 9600GT and 8800GT 512 respectively (since those are the primary competition for the HD3850 & HD3870)? Also, as a general note, I'd love to see an article on the HD3450 / HD3470 / HD3650 series of cards, since these will be appealing to a lot of the SPCR readers - especially those who are looking at building HTPC systems.

-D
[size=75]Desktop: Antec P150|Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R|Intel Xeon E3110|2x2048MB PC8500|HR-01|eVGA 8800GT SC|HR-03 GT|Scythe PWM 120mm|Scythe PWM 92mm|WD5000AAKS|Seasonic SS400-HT
HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Intel DG45ID|Intel E8400|2x2048MB PC6400|Scythe Big Shuriken|ATI HD4550|2xATI DCT|80mm Nexus|2TB WD 3.5" SATA + 100GB Seagate 2.5" SATA|NeoHE 430[/size]

AuraAllan
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:49 am
Location: Denmark

Post by AuraAllan » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:13 pm

Thanks for another great article.

Id also like to see a follow-up with the 9600GT and 8800GT 512.
I'd rather go synchronize swimming with Angela Lansbury

autoboy
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Post by autoboy » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:41 pm

Good article. I found my 3870 was barely acceptable in my gaming rig, which is not on most of the time. I am very impressed with the speed of the card. I initially thought the 3850 would be louder than that! That is good news and I may consider one for my regular PC. I have friends come over and play games once in awhile, and now that I have a 24" monitor on that machine, my 7300LE basically rolls over and dies. I was considering the 3650, but now the 3850 could actually fit the bill with a 22db rating and 11W idle power I would likely not hear it. I hope that is typical.

For the HDMI audio, you need to install a special driver for the audio chip. It tends to take over the audio system of the computer so it does not install itself in the normal installation procedure.

Anodyne
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 3:38 am
Location: Durham, NC

Post by Anodyne » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:10 pm

Great article, I'd love to see more reviews of video cards as well. They are one of the easier components to swap in a system, and probably get upgraded more frequently than CPUs, hard drives, etc.

The last vidcard I bought, a Gigabyte X1950PRO, promised silent running with its Zalman heatsink and fan. Alas, it was not nearly as quiet as I had hoped. Other websites have begun commenting on the noise levels of video cards they review, but none of them look into it with much depth.

I too would like to see reviews/comparisons with other vidcards at this level, such as the 9600GT and 8800GT. I've read that the new nVidia cards are much quieter, but I also heard that about my X1950PRO!

Obviously no one interested in a silent rig is going to be in the market for 8800 Ultra's in SLI, but I would always like to be able to find out what the best balance of silence and power is.
[size=75]Antec Solo; AMD Phenom II 955BE; MSI 785GM-E65; 4 Gb DDR3; Antec NeoHE550; Sapphire ATI 4850; WD 1001FALS/Samsung F1 1Tb SATA HDs; Pioneer DVD-106; Plextor 708A DVD+/-RW[/size]

zoob
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 7:12 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Contact:

Post by zoob » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:45 pm

FYI, Link to Sapphire forums regarding BIOS fan control fix.

I've had to flash 4 cards of mine (three 3870 and one 3850) with an updated BIOS that controls the fan speed properly, otherwise my cards would throttle after an extended period of gaming.

Apparently it only affected earlier batches of video cards (all of mine were purchased before 2008).
solo ii: i7 3770k - p8z77-v pro - 4x4gb - gtx660ti - crucial m4 256gb - ax750
t61p: t9300 - 2x2gb - intel 330 240gb
win2008: i3 2100 - z77pro3 - 2x4gb - arc-1231ml 12x2tb wd eads r6 - cx400

josephclemente
Posts: 580
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: USA (Phoenix, AZ)

Post by josephclemente » Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:46 pm

I have a Sapphire 3850 which has a fan that runs at a constant speed. I checked out that link to the Sapphire forum - their moderator is surprisingly insulting. :shock:
SilverStone SG05, Antec Kuhler H2O 620, Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-13 120MM, Seasonic X-460, ASRock Z77E-ITX, Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2, Samsung 30nm 1.35V 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM, PowerColor AX7750, Samsung Series 830 256GB SSD, Win 7 Ultimate x64
Link

Das_Saunamies
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 2000
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 1:39 am
Location: Finland

Post by Das_Saunamies » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:56 pm

Exactly the review I was waiting to happen, thank you!

I'm putting together a new machine, as now is obviously the time with 45nm out at affordable prices and efficiency the keyword in just about every field, so this helps greatly in making the decisions. I've had bad experiences with ATI cards before, but if these are indeed an improvement, I'll give them a second chance... but not before I see or hear a 8800 GT 512! :wink:

Sign the follow-up request, hope some manufacturer is smart enough to send you a sample, and perhaps a 8600 GT or 9600 GT too.
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD B-G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, MS Sculpt, Logitech G303, Synology DS213j 3+3 TB NAS

leifeinar
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:24 am
Location: tromsø in norway

Post by leifeinar » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:46 am

as allways when u remove a gpu cooler the ammount of thermalpaste is just waaay out there. i cleaned my GTS, put on some good paste resulting in temps down 10 celcius and fanspeed down 10% making it go bellow ambient sounds. this might be an answer for a "noisy" 3870 ?? or did u do this?

a 3870 with the accelero S1, and a 8400 undervolted with a ninja..... sounds like a plan to me

great review :)

roadie
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Liverpool, UK

Post by roadie » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:15 am

An enjoyable read, thanks for the review. I also found this quote damn amusing:
Palit is a Hong Kong based manufacturer, so naturally an obese frog in a suit of high-tech armor adorns their HD 3870 box.
I have had two 3870 cards; a reference Sapphire card and a non reference Gigabyte card. I agree that the stock HSF design for the 3870 is not really up to par, but it is certainly much less expensive than the one for the x1950xtx, which I have also owned. Obviously part of the reason for this is because of the different target markets for each card.

The Gigabyte card came with a Zalman VF700, which was too loud both at stock and under load, and it has since been replaced by an Accelero S1 rev 2 with a Turbo Module, which is perfect in every way, acoustically.
I Customised Antec Solo I Antec NeoHE 550W I MSI P67A-GD65 I Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5Ghz I
I 8Gb Samsung @ 1866Mhz I Corsair Force GT 60Gb I Zotac GTX 670 I Dell SP2208WFP I Windows 8.1 x64 I

thejamppa
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:20 am
Location: Missing in Finnish wilderness, howling to moon with wolf brethren and walking with brother bears
Contact:

Post by thejamppa » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:30 am

I have two Club 3D's HD 3850 in CF. Their fan's act exactly as described in article. They spin up in start up but after that they become inaudiable. Albeit card's run hot they're still in acceptable levels.

But gaming speed is more than acceptable. I think HD 3850 reference cooler is best active reference cooler ever. Sure card runs hot but still in acceptable limits and in very well ventilated case ( P182 with 3 or 4 upper fans or Antec 900 ) temperatures wouldn't be issue I believe.
If seeing is believing, how can blind person believe in anything?
Maturity is just not experience in life but also ability to make compromises.

psklenar
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:37 am
Location: Southern New England, USA

Post by psklenar » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:51 am

Please forgive this likely dumb question, but ...

My understanding is that there are no issues or concerns with running a single ATI or NVIDIA card under any chipset. In other words, an NVIDIA card can run without issue under an NVIDIA 680/750/780 chipset and under a P35/X38 chipset just fine. And visa versa with the ATI cards being fine on NVIDIA chipset motherboards.

However ... what's the story with Crossfire & SLI? Can two (or more) ATI cards be run in Crossfire on an NVIDIA chipset? Can two (or more) NVIDIA cards be run in SLI on an Intel chip set? Or are there issues that really mean you should limit them to the appropriate chipset vendors?

Thank you,
pat----

mkk
Posts: 687
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:51 pm
Location: Gefle, Sweden
Contact:

Post by mkk » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:37 am

A nice look at the factors we care about.

My Powercolor 3870 has an even worse noise signature with a very noticeable ticking noise, and I'm waiting for an S1 to replace it. It was nice to see how the card looked with the standard cooler removed.

The memory and mosfet heatsinks don't seem too easily replacable, in case one would want to have a go with putting some quality paste under them, correct?

The HDMI result sounds a bit odd though I've not tested it myself yet. Perhaps the cable was the culprit, or I suppose the failing of a visibly touted feature would have made more noise on the net.

aburgard
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:30 pm

Post by aburgard » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:25 am

psklenar wrote:Please forgive this likely dumb question, but ...

My understanding is that there are no issues or concerns with running a single ATI or NVIDIA card under any chipset. In other words, an NVIDIA card can run without issue under an NVIDIA 680/750/780 chipset and under a P35/X38 chipset just fine. And visa versa with the ATI cards being fine on NVIDIA chipset motherboards.

However ... what's the story with Crossfire & SLI? Can two (or more) ATI cards be run in Crossfire on an NVIDIA chipset? Can two (or more) NVIDIA cards be run in SLI on an Intel chip set? Or are there issues that really mean you should limit them to the appropriate chipset vendors?

Thank you,
pat----
You can run either card on any chipset, but for now for SLI or Crossfire you need to have cards of that respective manufacturer's chipset. ATI is currently developing a Crossfiresque platform that will allow your integrated video and one or more ATI cards to work together.

On another note, I was apprehensive for the longest time about getting a video card. I checked SPCR and searched these forums many times for info on newer cards without much luck. I did eventually buy this card and could not be more pleased:

ASUS EAH3850/G/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814121219

Mats
Posts: 3044
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:54 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Mats » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:35 am

Nice review!

MikeC: Looking at your final thoughts, are you saying that the 3850 have a better HDMI output than the 3870?
___________________________________________

What's the word about the 9600GT's fan noise compared to these? I haven't seen a decent review yet, although I haven't searched much either, but I got the impression that the 9600 stock cooler is pretty bad?
Maybe partly because no software can find a thermal sensor on this specific card, IIRC.

That Sapphire guy is really pissed! I think I'd try finding the BIOS somewhere else . . :D
The people at Rage3D are quite helpful.

ryboto
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1439
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:06 pm
Location: New Hampshire, US
Contact:

Post by ryboto » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:13 pm

I wish you guys had been given more samples. There are so many factory installed cooling solutions out there, it'd be nice to see a comparison of all of them in one review instead of having individual reviews for all. Sapphire has an atomic card, HIS has the ICEQ3, Powercolor has a passive 3870... I know I can find the reviews elsewhere, but the quality and focus of other review sites isn't nearly the same as SPCR.
[url=http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=userpage&teamnum=31574&username=rybot]F@H[/url]
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36172&highlight=][size=75]Oldest Setup[/url]
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=48778]Old[/url]
i5-750 | TR AXP-140 | DFI MI P55-T36 | Lan-Gear mITX | HD5850 | Silverstone ST45SF[/size]

AuraAllan
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:49 am
Location: Denmark

Post by AuraAllan » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:37 pm

ryboto wrote:Sapphire has an atomic card
And a toxic card.
I'd rather go synchronize swimming with Angela Lansbury

smilingcrow
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:45 am
Location: At Home

Post by smilingcrow » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:50 pm

I bought a GeCube HD 3850 512MB O/C Edition recently and have generally been very happy with it.
I was amazed at how quiet it is at idle although when left to its own devices it does ramp the fan speed up too much under load. I used ATI Tools to manually set the fan speed and it’s marginally too loud under load and the temps are slightly too high for comfort. So I removed the red cowling and attached a Panaflo 80mm fan using blu-tack and elastic bands and it’s now cool and silent. :) I’m using a Fanmate to reduce the fan speed so that it is silent and the GPU is 40C at idle and hits 80 – 85C at load. I have some headroom with the fan and can turn it up a bit and still retain silence but I haven’t tested it yet.
It’s a dual slot card and the cooling is more akin to a HD 3870 which is not surprising as the spec is half way between a 3850 and 3870. The copper heatsink compares fairly well against a Thermalright V2; it weighs 230g versus 280g. I think it’s up to the task of cooling a HD 3870 at stock speeds in silence when using an 80mm fan.

My disappointment is that the card idles at its full over-clocked speed of 725/900 MHz – GPU/RAM. I’ve reduced the speed using ATITool 0.27 and the power consumption remains the same at idle. This suggests that the under-clocking mechanism is likely to be dropping the voltage to achieve the admirably low power draw that the SPCR review measured.
According to a review of this card at Techpowerup it does support under-clocking so maybe I need to update the BIOS!

This brings me to my only bugbear with these cards which is that there is too much variability in terms of under-clocking in 2D mode, fan speed control and no doubt fan noise. I can recommend them but do your homework if you’re after one with all the features fully implemented; don’t just buy on price.

Note: I used ATITool to down-clock the card and it didn’t affect power draw at all but when I set the clocks back to their default settings the power draw at idle increased by over 20W. I don’t know if this is typical but it’s odd behaviour.

Scoop
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:28 am

Post by Scoop » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:44 pm

It was rather obvious that you're not that big on GPUs :P

You pointed out that you couldn't make the HD 3850 ramp up it's fan. Well I have a similar thing, the fan won't ramp up at least before 90C but I have chosen to manually adjust the fanspeed with Rivatuner so the card keeps cool. Artifacting running atitool wasn't due to temps on my card as it was artifacting with temps of 70C when I OC'd it too high. Now it's running fine with moderate 10% core and 20% memory OC 74C under load without artifacts.

You said there to be some sort of undervolting with the card but that's just the AMD PowerPlay feature dropping the core and memory clocks to minimum when they aren't needed. Once again, this can be monitored with Rivatuner. Voltage can't be monitored but they seem to market some sort of voltage switching as well. This is a very VERY good feature. You can OC the card without having to think about using excessive amounts of power when you don't need it.

mg1394
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Silicon Valley

Why the jokes about the frog???

Post by mg1394 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:08 pm

Hello Mike,

Nice review on the cards - it's good to read about something I wouldn't consider using once in awhile (too noisy!). But on that topic, you are very careful to give quanitative numbers in all the tables in the review. So, as an engineer, I was wondering - given the good sound measuring equipment you have - what really is the noise level (dBA) of the "moose in heat" referred to on page 3??? In all my time at UBC and SFU, I never saw that quantified. Thanks.

ryboto
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1439
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:06 pm
Location: New Hampshire, US
Contact:

Post by ryboto » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:54 pm

AuraAllan wrote:
ryboto wrote:Sapphire has an atomic card
And a toxic card.
Interesting, I thought the atomic was the vapor chamber card...too many models to remember.
[url=http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=userpage&teamnum=31574&username=rybot]F@H[/url]
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36172&highlight=][size=75]Oldest Setup[/url]
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=48778]Old[/url]
i5-750 | TR AXP-140 | DFI MI P55-T36 | Lan-Gear mITX | HD5850 | Silverstone ST45SF[/size]

continuum
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:23 pm
Location: California
Contact:

Post by continuum » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:03 pm

Nice. :) Power consumption results make sense too-- they don't track perfectly with Xbitlabs numbers, but they're more than close enough... which is useful to me and many others-- as quite a few reviews all with their own power consumption numbers and testing procedures for 'em have quite a bit of variation in results.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: Why the jokes about the frog???

Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:39 pm

mg1394 wrote: So, as an engineer, I was wondering - given the good sound measuring equipment you have - what really is the noise level (dBA) of the "moose in heat" referred to on page 3??? In all my time at UBC and SFU, I never saw that quantified. Thanks.
hmmm.... The noise of one moose in heat has been found to be equivalent to...

1.3x banshee scream of Irish origin
min 8.2 dBA lower than average movie orgasm sound effect
Celine Dion concert in Vegas heard across the desert 12.8 miles away with earplug on
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

AuraAllan
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:49 am
Location: Denmark

Post by AuraAllan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:43 am

ryboto wrote:
AuraAllan wrote:
ryboto wrote:Sapphire has an atomic card
And a toxic card.
Interesting, I thought the atomic was the vapor chamber card...too many models to remember.
AFAIK Atomic and Toxic both use the vapor chamber thing.
I'd rather go synchronize swimming with Angela Lansbury

ironhead1230
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:06 am

Post by ironhead1230 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:59 am

I just built a new system using a Gecube 3850 512mb and E8400. I am using a Scythe ninja Rev B (bought before the latest SPCR Ninja article) and an Accelero S1 w/turbo. While I can't comment on game play or power consumption yet, the card temps with the S1 have not gone above 55C with both CPUBurn and a Fur rendering running. With the stock heatsink and default fan speeds, it would get up to around 70C.

I will be doing more temperature monitoring but so far, I am happy with the temps on the card and will soon be testing out some games.

-Mike

zds
Posts: 261
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:26 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Contact:

Post by zds » Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:27 am

The review comments the 3850 heat sink being copper.. is it really? In the photos it looks like painted aluminium to me. It's an way-too-common fake trick.. some manufacturers even glue the painted ALU pieces together, instead of soldering.

plympton
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:40 am

Post by plympton » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:57 pm

zds wrote:The review comments the 3850 heat sink being copper.. is it really? In the photos it looks like painted aluminium to me. It's an way-too-common fake trick.. some manufacturers even glue the painted ALU pieces together, instead of soldering.
I put an Accelero on my Visiontek 3850 - it definately SEEMS like it's aluminum (I didn't do the scratch test... but it was very light for the size)

The Accelero ROCKS on it, however.

-Dan

Lt_Dan
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 4:37 pm
Location: IL

Post by Lt_Dan » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:17 am

i think the article was a bit lacking - i think it should have been added a test of the heat pipes editions as well.
also, as some cards are known of having coil whine it should have said something more on that.
beside that, the article was very good and informative.
dan.
[color=blue][size=75] E6600 - 2.4GHhz | Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3P| PQI+Corsair 4GB 800MHz |
Scythe Ninja + stabilizer w/ Fanmate 2 | Corsair VX450W | Gigabyte 8600GTS SilentPipe3 |
SEAGATE 320GB + WD 640GB (soft mounted) | Gigabyte Poseidon w/ (r)Scythe s-flex 1200 (f)Noctua NF-S12B FLX |[/size][/color]

Immortals
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:02 pm

Post by Immortals » Thu May 01, 2008 2:18 am

plympton wrote:
zds wrote:The review comments the 3850 heat sink being copper.. is it really? In the photos it looks like painted aluminium to me. It's an way-too-common fake trick.. some manufacturers even glue the painted ALU pieces together, instead of soldering.
I put an Accelero on my Visiontek 3850 - it definately SEEMS like it's aluminum (I didn't do the scratch test... but it was very light for the size)

The Accelero ROCKS on it, however.

-Dan
Did you cool the mosfets/vrms in anyway? Arctic Cooling claim it's not necessary for the 3850

rpsgc
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:59 am
Location: Portugal

Post by rpsgc » Thu May 01, 2008 3:08 pm

Hello,

Can anyone tell me if a HD3870 will work with a 420W PSU? (14A+15A)

A64 X2 3800+
HD3870
1 HDD
1 DVDRW


Thanks.
Fractal Define R4 | Corsair AX750 | MSI Z97 Gaming 5 | Intel Core i7 4770K w/TRUE 120 Rev. C | 16GB G.Skill Sniper DDR3-1866 | Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 8GB OC | Crucial m4 128GB + Crucial MX100 512GB + WD Blue 1TB + WD Red 4TB | JVC HA-RX900 | Dell U2312HM + BenQ G2400WD | Asus Echelon Mechanical Keyboard | Logitech G400s

Post Reply