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PowerColor Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme 512MB Graphics Card Review

Dec 3 2007, 12:00am CST | by , in Reviews | Computer Hardware

PowerColor Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme 512MB Graphics Card Review
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Benchmarks

Features & Specifications
The PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme has a core clock of 720 MHz and a memory clock of 1800 MHz. The card uses 512MB of GDDR3 RAM and has a 256MB memory interface. Supported DirectX versions include DX9, DX10, and DX 10.1. For the full specifications of the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme see the specifications section of this review.

Test Machine
Before we get into the benchmarks for the card, let’s look at the test system I will be using today:

  • CPU- Intel QX6850
  • Mainboard- XFX 680i
  • PSU- PC Power and Cooling 1KW
  • Display- Dell 30-inch
  • OS- Windows XP Pro

Benchmarks & Testing
I will be using 3DMark06, FEAR, Bioshock, and Quake Wars to test the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme video card today. The first test up is 3DMark06.

3DMark06
For this test I ran 3DMark06 at default settings in the application and in the NVIDIA control panel. The results of the 3DMark06 test were:

  • Total 3DMarks- 11377
  • SM2.0- 4375
  • HDR/SM3.0- 4727
  • CPU- 4551
  • Return to Proxycon- 33.261
  • Firefly Forest- 39.650
  • Canyon Flight- 43.394
  • Deep Freeze- 51.143
  • CPU1- 1.513
  • CPU2- 2.190

When I reviewed the NVIDIA 8600 GTS I was using a different test machine so the results of the 3DMark06 test won’t match up exactly to the results of the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme. The XFX 8600 GTS XXX scored 6309 3DMarks on a test machine using an Intel QX6700 processor. The new NVIDIA 8800 GT I tested recently on the same test machine used for the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme scored 13546. The XFX 8800 GTS 320Mb Fatal1ty graphics card scored 12717 3DMarks.

FEAR
The next test up for the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme is FEAR. I ran FEAR at a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600, all settings on max, and soft shadows on. The results from the FEAR in game test loop were as follows:

  • Min 11fps
  • Avg- 32 fps
  • Max- 64 fps

The percentages showed that at these settings 18% of the time frame rates were below 25 fps, 62% of the time frame rates were 25 to 40 fps and 20% of the time frame rates were above 40 fps.

Quake Wars
The next game test up was Quake Wars, which I ran at a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600, all setting son high, 8x AA and smooth foliage on. I used Fraps to record frame rate data on a single player campaign in Africa. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:

  • Min- 19 fps
  • Avg- 30.361 fps
  • Max- 52 fps

Bioshock
The final game test up for the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme was with Bioshock. I tested the card using Fraps to record frame rate data on a single player level where you must leave your weapons behind at Fontain Fisheries. I ran the game at 1920 x 1200, shadow maps on, high detail post processing on, real time reflections on, distortion on and all settings on high. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:

  • Min- 31 fps
  • Avg- 49.254 fps
  • Max- 81 fps

Final Thoughts
This card has very good performance considering the price in the $200 range. It’s been a while since I have been reasonably impressed by the performance of an ATI card. It’s good to see ATI with something that can compete with NVIDIA and the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme does a good job competing with the cards from big green in its price class.

Verdict

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good price
  • Good performance
  • Factory overclocked

Cons

  • Not bundled with games

Verdict
It has been a while since I was surprised by the performance of an ATI card and the PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme did just that. The performance of the card is very good and PowerColor squeezes even more performance form the card with factory overclocking.

9.0
10
 
 

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