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Kyle Schurb

ATi HD 3870 - cheap, should I buy?

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I was browsing the local Best Buy just now and looked at the video cards for pure curiosity and they have a Visiontek HD 3870 512Mb for $129! I'm itching to pick it up but wanted some opinions.I currently have a 7950GT 256Mb x 2 SLi config., but I have anti-aliasing problems with both Flight Sim and was looking at going the ATi route. The performance difference is not much if any, according to benchmarks, and hopefully this would cure my AA issue.Any experiences with the HD 3870 would be great and any tips, opinions would be appreciated!Thanks,Kyle

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Kyle,Until recently I owned the 3870X2. This, I thought, was the definitive card for FSX. Whilst image quality is unsurpassed and frame rates with small amounts of cloud are excellent it fails to perform when cloud amounts increase. AA and AF were very good but that is no substitute for good performance.The 3870 has DDR3 mmeory compared to DDR2 with the 3870X2 but I don't think will help very much. I would recommend you consider the 8800GT or GTX if funds allow.

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Hi there...I just joined up here after years of lurking the forums! I was tempted as well by the BB 3870 deal, as I am in the process of getting parts for my new FS build (expect an opinion/advice thread on that in a few hours), but for the money check out this:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...-_-NA-_-NA-_-NApretty much the same price as BB, but for a 880GT. That's what I would go with instead.

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Well, sorry guys but temptation took over and I made the purchase and I have to say, I am VERY happy so far. Equal, if not better performance in everything I've tested from FS2004, FSX to Call of Duty 4. Plus - ANTI-ALIASING! All with one card now.I get to sell 2 video cards and basically pay for the 3870.

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>I was browsing the local Best Buy just now and looked at the>video cards for pure curiosity and they have a Visiontek HD>3870 512Mb for $129! I'm itching to pick it up but wanted some>opinions.>>I currently have a 7950GT 256Mb x 2 SLi config., but I have>anti-aliasing problems with both Flight Sim and was looking at>going the ATi route. The performance difference is not much if>any, according to benchmarks, and hopefully this would cure my>AA issue.>>Any experiences with the HD 3870 would be great and any tips,>opinions would be appreciated!>>Thanks,>KyleThat's a good card! The OC version that is.

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Kyle -- Over the last month I've been doing a lot of testing with the 3870, the 3870 OC, 3870x2 OC, and the nVidia 8800 GTX and personally I still can't decide which to go with. I agree: ATI = OUTSTANDING graphics quality, much better than the nVidia. nVidia = Much better frame rate performance in heavy clouds. Since you already bought the ATI card and it's installed, this is what I would do RIGHT NOW -- and this is what I did. Run real world weather (Active Sky, if you have it) and find an area with heavy cloud layers (maybe KSEA or Oregon area?). See if you are ok with the 3870 frame rates. If not, take it back and get the nVidia card. Best Buy will refund your money within 15 days of purchase -- no harm, no foul.My ATI handles multimon and installs much better/easier; but there is a performance hit in heavy weather. My nVidia has better performance in heavy weather, but at a significant reduction in image quality (to me, that makes perfect sense -- ATI is sharper so of course heavy clouds will be more of an issue).I can't decide either. I'm running FS9 exclusively right now.

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>My ATI handles multimon and installs much better/easier; but>there is a performance hit in heavy weather. My nVidia has>better performance in heavy weather, but at a significant>reduction in image quality (to me, that makes perfect sense -->ATI is sharper so of course heavy clouds will be more of an>issue).Chuck!Tomorrow I'm going to make an order for a new PC. After a week of study at this and other forum boards I seem to have made a decision. It is to go for Radeon 3870 or GF 8800GT.After reading your post now, could you please tell me how big FPS loss are we talking about? Do heavy clouds take just a few FPS with 3870 compared to 8800GT or are we talking about a dramatic difference?I'd be so grateful to know.The look is important to me, but the main reason for going into a new PC is that I can no more stand low FPS in FS9.1If others too can answer my question and help with my decision - please do.Thanks in advance.I've also read a lot about nvidia drivers and nhancer problems. Should I worry enough to go for ATI instead?I'm definitely not a hardaware/software specialist.Best regards,RafalFS9.1Windows XP Home SP2My PC until tomorrow:AMD Athlon 64Radeon 9800 Pro2GB RAMMy PC after tomorrow: :)E8400 3GHz?ATI 3870 or GF 8800GT?RAM DDR2-800 2GB

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Rafal,For FS9 either card will be fine especially with the E8400. I trebled my frame rates going from a P4 3.0Ghz, 128 Radeon 9800Pro to my system below.The performance issues with the 3870 relate to FSX and they are substantial. Since I switched to a 8800GTX flying in heavy cloud is no longer a problem.You can improve fps in FS9 by using Active Sky v6.5 which uses alternative cloud textures and these really do boost performance.

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Thanks, Ray!Good that the cloud problem is related to FSX only. Silly me not to have noticed that before.Yes. I'm using AS plus freeware cloud textures replacement. But I'm considering buying F1 Flight Environment for my new PC.So, if there is no significant difference in FS9 between 3870 and 8800, I will go again for Radeon probably (to avoid the drivers / nhancer stress). And it's a bit cheaper, although the price difference is not big here.Best regards,Rafal

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So, a little update. Turns out the HD 3870 is kind of crap compared to the 7950GT. Right after popping in the 3870 to try it out, I found a tutorial and got the AA working right on my 7950's. I was pretty disappointed in the 3870's performance, so I actually would not recommend it. It's being returned to the store today.

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Hi Rafal,I'm not familiar with FE. make sure you don't clash with AS texture choice.FS is always CPU bound but the E8400 has so much muscle you'd have to use a pretty rubbish graphics card before FS9 became poor with a E8400.The ATI is a good choice for FS9 with its superior image quality. I haven't done any direct comparisons in FS9 between my former 3870X2 and the 8800GTX but they should both be excellent.

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>The ATI is a good choice for FS9 with its superior image>quality. I haven't done any direct comparisons in FS9 between>my former 3870X2 and the 8800GTX but they should both be>excellent.After reading some of the comments here about ATI vs. Nvidia

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FS2004 ATI vs. NvidiaATI 3870atifs20041xs7.jpgNvidia 8800 Ultranvidiafs20041kc0.jpgATI 3870atifs20042du1.jpgNvidia 8800 Ultrafs20047ka0.jpgATI 3870atifs20047ai0.jpgNvidia 8800 Ultrafs20041cj7.jpgATI 3870 atifs20044qu6.jpgNvidia 8800 Ultrafs20042ns2.jpgATI 3870atifs20045vr8.jpgNvidia 8800 Ultrafs20046sd7.jpg

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AT 3870 / FSXa>a>fsx3fz3.jpga>With heavy clouds the 3870 often struggled to maintain 30 FPS.a>Having Light bloom enabled also impacted frame rates considerably, but this feature usually performs better in DirectX 10 Preview mode anyway. I

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Here are some screens taken with Vista 64 in DirectX 10 Preview with the ATI 3870.I used the same CCC settings as above. This install of Vista 64 included the new

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