Conclusion: It doesn't seem like that long ago that we used to complain about the lack of variation in graphics boards from ATI's AIB partners, back in the days when factory overclocking such parts was all but outlawed, and custom cooling solutions were equally rare. Thus, it's really rather pleasurable to take a look across the gamut of ATI Radeon HD 3000 boards and see so much innovation and differentiation between each partner's line-up.
Excerpt: While new AMD cards are around the corner, AMD-only partners continue to release new HD 3870 models. One particular AMD partner is Sapphire who has always been pretty much on the ball when it comes to stand-out models.
Summary: The overall performance of the Sapphire Radeon HD3870 Toxic was very similar to the MSI RX3870, with only the Powercolor slightly in front. It performed without any problems, producing very good scores during all our benchmarks. This is all thanks to the overclocked ATI RV670 GPU @ 800Mhz (default is 775Mhz), with memory @ 1152Mhz (2.3Ghz).
What makes is card so different is the slim size and the cooling system.
Summary: Sapphire's new Vapor-X cooler is doing a pretty good job at keeping the card cool. During our testing we observed similar temperature levels compared to the HD3870 reference design, which uses a dual-slot cooler. Sapphire's card is the only Radeon HD 3870 on the market today that works with a single slot cooler making it an excellent choice for small form factor or media PC systems.
Pros: Single slot cooling!, Great performance, Excellent presentation, metal case, Lots of accessories, Overclocked out of the box, Low power draw, HDMI+HDCP+Audio, PCI-E 2.0 support
Cons: No highest end offering from AMD/ATI, High price, Limited additional overclocking
Summary: While the naming scheme may suggest that the HD 3870 is AMD's new king of the hill, it is not. Certainly the card performs better in some benchmarks than the 2900 XT, but not always. Also a difference of 970 (= 3870-2900) suggests that this is a much faster product. On the other hand performance per watt and performance per dollar have been significantly improved. So overall I would say the RV670 and HD38xx Series are a good step forward for AMD.
Pros: Solid performance, Low power draw, Affordable, Software bundle included, full version of 3DMark06 Pro!, 256 bit memory interface, DirectX 10.1 Support, PCI-E 2.0 support, HDMI+HDCP+Audio+UVD, CrossFire and CrossFireX capable
Cons: Two slot cooling, Still no highest-end card from AMD, Not faster than 8800 GT which is $249 too
Summary: The Sapphire Toxic 3870 is a pretty special card when it comes to the price-to-performance ratio. The ability to play any games at high settings and at higher resolutions is a godsend to most of us. For someone upgrading from an older would be overly impressed when they see their frame rates of their favorite game grow. And with this model being slightly overclocked adds to its value as well as performance compared to other 3870 available.
Excerpt: Like all the mid-range cards here, this one is outclassed by Sapphire's HD 4850. However, the only HD 4850 cards currently available are based on the original reference design, which is cooled with a fan on its heatsink. If you're looking for a passively cooled card, you'll have to buy an older card such as this one. This HD 3870-based card has a large heatsink that does away with the need for a fan.
Conclusion: Wieder liegen eine Reihe von Benchmarks hinter uns und das Fazit rückt näher. Heutiger Testproband war die HD 3870, die düstere Stunden der HD 2900 XT vergessen machen sollte und das - so darf man festhalten - ohne Wenn und Aber auch tat. Sie muss sich vor den Nvidia-Chips ihrer Klasse nicht verstecken und stellt für den hiesigen Preis eine hervorragende Investition dar.