updated 08:20 am EST, Thu November 15, 2007
ATI Radeon HD 3800
AMD's graphics card label ATI today unveiled its anticipated Radeon HD 3800 series, a new chipset that promises better performance for the mid-range as well as new graphics features. The line bucks the trend of reserving new visuals for high-end cards by introducing support for Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 10.1 (and according OpenGL 2.0 features) and its enhanced features, such as high dynamic color range for lighting and improved anti-aliasing effects. For Windows, the 3800 series also introduces CrossFire X, a new technology that allows users with supporting AMD mainboards to use as many as four graphics cards in tandem to improve 3D performance beyond even what may be possible with higher-end graphics cards.
Regardless of software, the Radeon HD 3800 series is also far cooler than the outgoing Radeon HD 2600 it replaces. A denser and more efficient 55-nanometer manufacturing process allows the card to reach twice the performance per watt while also reducing heat and the need for active cooling, ATI says. When supported by a given system, the cards also provide full hardware HD video decoding and the added bandwidth of PCI Express 2.0 slots.
The 3800 series launches with two models. A base card, the 3850, incorporates the full feature set in a single-slot design with a 670MHz core speed and 256MB of video memory at 1.66GHz. The Radeon HD 3870 switches to a double-slot size but is clocked at a minimum 775MHz and doubles the amount of memory to 512MB at a faster 2.25GHz. ATI is releasing the cards as a Windows upgrade both under its own name and with third-party manufacturers at prices of $179 and $219 respectively. Support for other operating systems has not yet been mentioned but is expected.
Radeon HD 3850
Radeon HD 3870