Manufacturer:Asus UK Price (as reviewed): £170 (inc. VAT) MSRP Availability: Two to three weeks
Core Clock: 851MHz Memory Clock: 2.28GHz Warranty: Three years (parts and labour)
Factory overclocked graphics cards are something that we take for granted these days on the Nvidia side of the fence, such that we are usually inundated with a selection of cards from different partners with often vastly different clock speeds. This is good in many ways, because it allows each partner to carve out a niche within their market.
However, it can often lead to some quite fierce competition between some of the top partners. This goes right to the extreme where some partners will spend more time down playing other manufacturer’s products than they spend marketing their own.
By comparison, this whole pre-overclocked malarkey is fairly new to the ATI side of the fence, as partners have previously been limited to offering Radeons that almost matched the ATI reference designs to the tee. This didn’t really lead to good business, and partners were soon branded ‘sticker partners’, because that was the only thing they were allowed to change.
One of the first companies to break the mould was of course HIS, which came along with its range of pre-overclocked Radeon X800s featuring Arctic Cooling’s popular VGA Silencer fansinks. Asus also broke the mould with its rather interesting EAX1800 XT TOP graphics card, which looked quite dramatically different to the run of the mill ATI Radeon X1800 XT graphics card that most of ATI’s partners were selling to end users.
Ever since the launch of that particular card, Asus has continued to deliver factory overclocked graphics cards based on both ATI and Nvidia GPUs. Today we’re looking at one of the company’s newest additions to this series—the EAH3870 TOP. And, given the product’s name, it will come as no surprise to you for us to say that it is based on AMD’s current flagship part, the ATI Radeon HD 3870.
Box and Bundle:
What’s interesting here is that, although Asus is really pushing the fact it has bundled Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts with the EAH3870 TOP, it isn’t making as much noise about how high it has clocked this card out of the box. Given that there’s a 75MHz core speed increase, we’d expect Asus to have made a little more noise than the relatively small TOP logo on the front of the box.
Having said all of this, the card we have here is quite an early sample and we have seen an updated box design that does make a lot more noise about the benefits of this card’s increased clock speeds.
As Asus has been working closely with THQ for a few months now, it comes as no surprise to see that the box has been given some quite serious Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts treatment. The two main characters from the game, along with the rest of the CoH artwork, take up most of the box’s real estate.
Not surprisingly, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts is included in the box and, by all accounts, it’s a pretty good game but wasn’t quite good enough to make it onto our Top 10 Games of 2007. With an exception made for Crysis, it’s probably the most impressive-looking DirectX 10 game to date and there are several small graphical improvements over the original DirectX 10 patch for the original Company of Heroes, which was first released in June last year.
What’s interesting though is the fact that there was no Black Box voucher included – we’re not sure whether this was intentional, but it seems strange given that AMD is offering the bundle to all of its board partners selling Radeon HD 3870 cards. Aside from Opposing Fronts, there are a few more software applications included on the utility CD.
The list includes SmartDoctor, a graphics card monitoring and overclocking tool; GamerOSD, an application that allows you to take screenshots, record movies and measure frame rates; the Asus Splendid video player; and Video Security Online, a CCTV-esque application that allows you to monitor your home remotely via webcam. Hmmm, strange but interesting nevertheless.
To round off what is quite a good bundle, there is a driver CD, a multi-lingual manual (on CD), a leather CD wallet and an assortment of cables and connectors. The selection includes both DVI-to-HDMI and DVI-to-VGA converters, a CrossFire connector, an S-Video to composite adapter, a component adapter and a 6-pin PCI-Express power converter.