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