Sapphire takes Radeon HD 3850 to AGP

Written by Tim Smalley

January 7, 2008 // 7:21 p.m.

Tags: #101 #3850 #amd #ati #ces-2008 #connector #directx #events #hd #pcie #power #radeon #sapphire #socket

Sapphire today showed us what looks to be the world’s first graphics card to support both DirectX 10.1 and the now legacy AGP interconnect.

The card is a Radeon HD 3850 with 512MB of on-board memory that’s clocked at 1700MHz (effective) and has a core speed of 700MHz – these are slightly higher than the reference Radeon HD 3850 clock speeds of 670/1660MHz.

Interestingly, Sapphire has paired the AGP port up with a 6-pin power connector that’s normally used exclusively on PCI-Express graphics cards – the reason is because, with the AGP slot only being able to deliver 50W of power, a 4-pin molex connector isn’t enough to meet the card’s 95W maximum power draw.

Rather than adopting two 4-pin molex connectors like the GeForce 6800 Ultra did many moons ago, it made more sense to include the 6-pin connector that can deliver up to 75W. For those that are worried that their power supply doesn’t have the necessary connector, Sapphire said that it provides an adaptor in the box.

In terms of the GPU underneath the heatsink, it’s a full-fat version of the HD 3850, meaning there are 64 5-way superscalar shader units (meaning a total of 320 stream processors), 16 render backends (or ROPs), an internal 512-bit ring bus memory architecture (256-bit external) and all of the funky power management features that got AMD several commendations in the bit-tech Hardware Awards from 2007.

The Unified Video Decoder is also present, meaning there is full hardware accelerated decode for H.264 and VC-1 video streams. To complement this, there is a pair of dual-link DVI connectors—complete with HDCP support—and you can also use the supplied HDMI dongle for connecting to your high-definition TV.

Are you still running an AGP system? Tell us about it in the forums.
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