The ASUS EAH3870 X2 videocard was once the flagship of
ATI/AMD's graphics processor line, but like all top-end hardware, after enjoying
its day in the sun it has been eclipsed by newer, faster technology.
However as products like this age, prices also drop
precipitously, moving the ASUS EAH3870 X2 from a $500 part into the much more
affordable $250 range.
This shift in price means that it's no longer competing
against its younger brother, the HD 4870 X2, instead it'll be compared to some of the
midrange cards from this year and the high-end cards from last year that also
occupy this price segment.
When it can get past its driver and game profile issues,
the ASUS EAH3870 X2 can indeed keep up with the likes of 9600GTs in SLI mode, the Radeon HD 4850 and handily
beats nVidia's 7950GX2 - but in about half of
our benchmarks we saw disturbing performance gaps where the multi-gpu
configuration of the ASUS EAH3870 X2 was unable to compete with cheaper, less
power-hungry single GPU cards.
This phenomenon is exacerbated when moving from two GPUs
to four under Crossfire. Paying double for a pair of ASUS EAH3870 X2s will
rarely net you double the performance, and in many cases the frame rate will
decrease as the cards fail to distribute their workloads efficiently. Users who
already have an HD 3870 X2 graphics card will want to think twice about
performance gain and power consumption before moving to a quad-GPU system.
interpretation of AMD's RV670 graphics processor has made the ASUS EAH3870 X2 a
unique graphics card. The four DVI ports are a great addition for those who are
tired of fiddling with dual video cards to make multiple displays work. They've
also managed to get the ASUS EAH3870 X2 fitted with HDMI with audio, which gives
this card even more versatility. While the ASUS EAH3870 X2 is a little too big
and hot to find a home in most home theatre cases, it will fit nicely inside the
Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE, and that would look just
as nice in your living room, right?
Aside from the ASUS EAH3870 X2's connectivity options,
they've also added in a unique cooler - while it doesn't have drastic heat or
noise performance differences from the MSI R3870X2 videocard PCSTATS tested a few months ago,
it does look quite a bit nicer, and feels more like a high-end product. To round
out the ASUS EAH3870 X2's package, ASUS also threw in a copy of the game Company
of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, which lets you get playing with your new DX10 card
right away. Not bad for $260 CDN ($230 USD, 110 GBP).
If your biggest concern is pure GPU performance, there
are better options for around $250 than the ASUS EAH3870 X2, namely in the form
of AMD's Radeon HD 4850 graphics card. Its single GPU is more power efficient
and will give more consistent frame rates in a wider variety of games than the
ASUS EAH3870 X2's dual processors.
ASUS EAH3870 X2 is offering more than just frames per
second though. Its wealth of DVI ports, included software and extras can still
make this a compelling buy for enthusiasts looking to own a once flagship
graphics card that no longer demands a flagship price.
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