ATI Radeon HD 3870 & 3850: A Return to Competitionby Anand Lal Shimpi & Derek Wilson on November 15, 2007 12:00 AM EST
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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|
|Unreal Tournament 3||87.8%||85.8%||89.6%||91.6%|
|ET: Quake Wars||80.5%||95.9%||96.8%||103%|
|Oblivion (4X AA)||70.5%||77.7%||80.2%||82.6%|
|Half Life 2: Episode 2||101%||95%||91%||
|World in Conflict||81.5%||85.7%||84.9%||89.2%|
|Call of Duty 4||103%||98.3%||92.3%||82.1%|
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.