ASUS EAH3870X2 1G Graphic Card Review

asus eah3870x2 1g

The most awaited ATI release for 2008 so far – the 3870×2 based graphic card that sports dual GPU! Here we me, the ASUS EAH3870X2 1G!

The Appearance

It’s huge, pretty much look and feel like the ASUS EAH2900XT. Of course with the cooling system differs as it has to cater to dual GPUs.

Now, about the artwork on the heatsink cover – I really don’t know how to start. The EAH2900XT’s heatsink cover artwork was based on the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that with the bundle. It was highlighted on the box cover too. The EAH3870X2 comes with Company of Heroes : Opposing Fronts (COH:OF), so naturally one would expect to see COH:OF on the heatsink cover artwork but apparently this was not the case.

asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g

So instead of an artwork related to the bundled game or something that looks fierce, we now have the dual GPU solution and the baddest graphic card available at this point of time that actually looks feminine. 🙂 Yes, it’s a sweet and sexy looking ancient Asian lady warrior that’s far from being fierce.

Well, it’s not a huge issue but I thought I’d highlight it since I find it awkward. 🙂 Suddenly I felt like I was watching the History Channel or like I was about to playing some Chinese MMORPG.

Besides admiring (or should I say criticizing) the artwork, I also took the unit apart (Yes, I’m a curious fella) and I seems that heatsink for one of the GPU was copper while another was aluminum. I have no idea why, perhaps to reduce the weight of the system? I have no idea.

The Bundle

  • 1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
  • 1 x DVI to HDMI adaptor
  • 1 x HDTV-out cable
  • ASUS Utilities & Driver
  • Company of Heroes – Opposing Fronts
  • Leather CD Wallet
  • 6-pin PCI-E power connector

Card Details

Here’s a summarized detail of the card.

GPU HD3870x2
GPU Code Name RV670
Memory Type DDR3
Memory Bandwidth 256-bit
Memory Capacity 1GB
Core Clock 825Mhz
Memory Clock 900Mhz (1.8Ghz DDR)

More details at the official product page

Test Setup

The computer setup used for this review.

Processor Intel E2140 Overclocked @ 3.2ghz
RAM 2x 1GB Kingston DDR2 667 @ DDR2 800
Motherboard ASUS P5K-E
Cooler Xigmatek HDT-S963
Power Supply Gigabyte Odin GT 550W
Monitor 20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD
Operating System Windows XP (SP2)
Driver Version ATI Catalyst 8.2 (Version: 8.453)

The Performance

This heavy-weight contender from ASUS is powered by ATI’s latest powerhouse, stepping into the ring with 825Mhz on core and 900Mhz memory (meaning 1.8Ghz DDR) 🙂 Dual GPU of course! But does it pack a double punch? Let’s have a look.

Anyway, I also managed to overclock the card to 825Mhz on core and 947Mhz memory (meaning 1.894Ghz DDR) – far from being an outstanding overclock.

asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g

By the way, I’ll be including some benchmarks achieved by the EAH2900XT but take note that the benchmarks were done on the older Catalyst 7.1.

3DMark06

Default setting.

Card Score
EAH3870X2 13295
EAH3870X2 OC 13185
EAH2900XT 10780

The card runs slightly slower after overclock. The overclock is barely enough to make an impact in the first place.

F.E.A.R.

Graphics were set to maximum details, resolution was set to 1680 x 1050.

Card Average
EAH3870X2 103
EAH3870X2 OC 103
EAH2900XT 59

Wow, looks like this game works great even with single-card CrossFire solution.

Lost Planet : Extreme Condition

Graphics were set to default details, resolution was set to 1680 x 946.

Card Snow (Average) Cave (Average)
EAH3870X2 28.8 39.2
EAH3870X2 OC 28.9 39.1
EAH2900XT 22.4 29.8

It’s much faster than the EAH2900XT, too bad the overclocking margin is too little to make any impact.

Company Of Heroes : Opposing Fronts

Graphics were set to maximum of whatever option that’s available, resolutions was set to 1680 x 1050.

Card Average
EAH3870X2 58.3
EAH3870X2 OC 58.4
EAH2900XT 56.1

Not much of a lead compared to the EAH2900XT.

World In Conflict

Graphics were set to maximum of whatever option that’s available, resolutions was set to 1680 x 1050.

Card Average
EAH2900XT 24
EAH3870X2 (8.1) 25
EAH3870X2 (8.2) 26

Same here, not much of a lead compared to the EAH2900XT.

Summary / Thoughts

The tests above were done in DirectX 9 mode. While the Catalyst 8.2 doesn’t show significant improvement here, don’t discount it totally as greater movements are usually seen on DirectX 10 mode, which is where games and graphic cards are heading.

Take note also that the 3870X2-based cards are basically a combination of 2x HD3870 cards. Call it a “single card CrossFire solution”. So instead of getting 2 cards separately, you could just get a HD3870X2 based card and that settles your CrossFire hassle.

Don’t have a CrossFire capable board? Get a HD3870X2-based card! 🙂

asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g

If you’re concerned on why the HD3870X2-based card doesn’t out-perform the HD2900XT by far, here’s some food for thought. The performance of the single-GPU HD3870 is similar to that of a HD2900XT and it doesn’t out-perform the HD2900XT all the time. The HD3870X2 on the other hand, as you can see does out-perform the HD2900XT on practically every test thrown at it, however performance boost is entirely subjected to the game / application and of course, the drivers.

Anyway, the EAH3870X2 Top hovers at around 59°C on idle and around 81°C on load. Compared to the EAH2900XT? It’s 3°C cooler when on idle and 3°C hotter when on load. 🙂

With Catalyst Control Center’s Overdrive enabled, the fan speed is then controlled and temperatures remain within a healthy 40°C on idle and 61°C on load. Too bad the fan would be a tad noisy when that happens.

Conclusion

It’s hot but the cooling system was sufficient in handling the heat generated with a little sacrifice on noise level. The only drawback would be that you might need to upgrade your power supply if you’re on anything less than 500watt.

Do note that HD3870X2 cards of any brand would bear the same negative points such as being a power hogger and generating quite a significant amount of heat. So for anyone out there that’s looking into a.

asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g
asus eah3870x2 1g

The ASUS EAH3870X2 is a great card. If you’re looking for performance, this card is the way to go as game developers are now enhancing whatever games in the line to utilize multiple GPU solutions.

On the side note, ASUS’ SmartDoctor application WILL NOT work with this card unless you have a 6+2 PCI-E pin connected. Same applies to ATI Overdrive that monitors the temperature and fan.

This is probably the only ridiculous part of these high-end ATI cards. 6+2 PCI-E pins aren’t available on many power supplies and the Overdrive is really useful in temperature monitoring.

goldfries recommended

goldfries rated this product :

20 Comments

  1. Whoah man you actually get your hand on the card!
    Haha fastest card on the market now, but the price is way out for me though… T_T

  2. Author

    Yes. In fact I got it about 2 weeks back, just that the review was delayed a little. 😀

  3. i doubt if compare with CF 3870, which one will have better performance and how much differ?

  4. Author

    from what I read, in some cases the 3870 CF could be faster.



  5. your pro is bottleneck the r680 gc . . bro

  6. Author

    my proc you mean. 🙂 of course it is but then the bottleneck varies, the E2140 @ 3.2ghz is still still faster than the average consumer processor these days. the only setback for the E2140 are the lack of cache, virtualization and various stuff stripped from the C2D line-up.

  7. silverstone strider 560w can run it?
    i cannot see 8 pin pcie in this psu.
    required 6 + 8 pin pcie right?

  8. Author

    you can use 2x 6pin PCIE and it’ll be fine. the additional 2 pin is just to enable overdrive.

  9. So is that why my drivers from ASUS dont work.?

    Cuz i put 2 x 6 pin for power.and no wonder my catalyst doesnt show overderive.

    I will go back and try later so I have to us 1 X 6 pin and 1 X8 pin for all the software to work right?

  10. Author

    What do you mean the drivers from ASUS don’t work? 🙂

    the SMARTdoctor won’t work when you’re using 6+6 only. I’ll come up with a guide on how you could could make OVERDRIVE appear. stay tuned!


  11. My asus drivers still dont work im using XP pro..Says its not compatible or somethin.(using the 3870×2 with the dual fans)

    But i installed 8.3 drivers from ATI it works fine and got the 6+8 pins working for my overdrive.

    anyway nice guide kentang emas.

    cheers

  12. Author

    Eh, which guide? the 6+8 pin?

    Are you referring to SmartDoctor?




Comments are closed.