Sapphire passive HD 3870 installed in a case.
The one that almost got away; Sapphire showed off a couple of new coolers at this year's CeBIT. The company is not limiting its new slimline cooler to the overclocked Radeon HD 3870 Atomic
series, but it will also extend it as an option across its to its Radeon HD 3870 Toxic range for a nominal fee, rather than an astronomical one.
Considering the very, very tight margins of the upper mid-range though, it could be very sensitive to the extra cost and it might only appeal to those who really need a single slot solution, even if it is very good.
Sapphire has also updated its Ultimate HD 3870 with a better passive cooler so it now with has four heatpipes instead of two and a large fin array on the backside of the card. This cooler can cool even a Radeon HD 3870 passively, but the fins are massive, taking up at least a slot above it. This can cause possible incompatibility problems with north bridge heatsinks for example, however, it’s the price you pay for absolute silence and the only passive HD 3870 on the market.
Also quite a surprise was Sapphire's 770X motherboard – with black, red and white styling this little board should be inexpensive and not over-engineered like its 790FX. It still supports CrossFire and features a couple of PCI, PCI-Express x1, 8 channel High-Definition sound with S/PDIF in and out on the rear I/O.
It’s still only got the older SB600 south bridge, but both chipsets are passively cooled. Compared to the budget 770X boards elsewhere this is arguably the best looking we’ve seen, if you can find it.
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