Before we get into that though, let’s quickly outline what the Radeon HD 3800-series is. If you read our news story which covered AMD’s announcement, you’ll know that there are two products in the ATI Radeon HD 3800-series – the Radeon HD 3870 and the Radeon HD 3850.
Probably the first thing you’re going to ask me is why there isn’t any nomenclature after the product name? After all, it’s something we’ve become increasingly accustomed to over the last few years and we’ve made fun of the alphabet soup we’re usually presented with.
In the six months between the launch of R600 and its replacement, the RV670 chip that is at the heart of these two products, AMD’s marketing department appears to have finally seen some sense by changing the way that products within the same family differentiate themselves from one another.
There’s no longer a string of essentially meaningless letters after the product family, as AMD has incorporated the model into the string of numbers after the product’s name.
No more alphabet soup from AMD... you just need to be good with numbers instead.
Where it got this idea from, we don’t know, but I actually think it makes a lot of sense – I can see it making AMD’s range of graphics cards a lot easier to understand for those that don’t follow graphics technology quite as close as a typical bit-tech reader. After all, to anyone that isn’t adept with the latest goings on in the graphics industry – what’s the difference between an XT and an XTX, or a Pro and an SE? Yeah, the alphabet soup does nothing but confuse the end user that just wants a better gaming experience.
On the other hand, 3870 is clearly a larger number than 3850 which means it’s going to be a better or, at least, a faster product. AMD explained to bit-tech that the first letter of the product number is the generation that the product belongs to, the second number is its family and the final two numbers are the variant. If you’re wondering what the numbers are in comparison to the old way in which AMD used to name its products, the 3850 is the equivalent to a ‘Pro’ whilst the 3870 is the equivalent to an ‘XT’ model.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at the card...