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AMD's two-fisted ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 card goes official

AMD announces a new high-end 3D card

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown
2 min read
AMD's ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 uses two 3D chips to process game graphics. CNET

A week after it was supposed to, AMD announced its Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics card today. Roughly $450 will get you this high-end 3D card, which melds two Radeon HD 3870 chips onto a single 3D card package. The resulting performance is basically the same as two standalone Radeon HD 3870 cards in AMD's multicard ATI Crossfire mode. Various review sites show it competing more or less well against Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTX and 8800 Ultra cards, although neither AMD nor Nvidia can claim an across-the-board victory.

Our illustrious colleagues at GameSpot are working diligently on updating their benchmarks for this card after a late-breaking driver update (the reason for the cancellation of last Monday's announcement). We weren't originally going to retest, but for reasons unrelated to the driver, we decided we would. Once we have scores, both CNET and Gamespot will post our respective reviews. In the meantime, Anandtech, ExtremeTech, and PC Perspective have well-done coverage of AMD's new card. And how do those sites find the DirectX 10 performance picture?

It depends on your definition of an acceptable frame rate. On the DX10 version of Company of Heroes, for example, Anandtech shows all cards in this high-end neighborhood performing well. The DX10 implementation in that game is minor, though. In Crysis, the posterchild for next-gen gaming, neither AMD nor Nvidia can muster an average of even 30 frames per second at even a forgiving 1,280 x 1,024. Where we come from, it's 60 frames or nothing for first person shooters like Crysis. So either Crysis is ahead of its time, or the graphics card vendors have been too slow to adjust. Either way, it's frustrating for gamers that even their multi-thousand-dollar rigs will still likely choke on a game that's been out for three months.