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|18th February 2008, 14:18||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
PowerColor Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme PCS 512MB
AMD's partners haven't been afraid to play around with the Radeon HD 3850 to create cards that mix things up a bit – that's exactly what PowerColor has done here with its Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme PCS 512MB card. First and foremost, there's the clock speed increase, which takes this card to somewhere right in between the standard Radeon HD 3850 and Radeon HD 3870 cards at a price that's competitive. Not only that, but the card have twice as much video memory on-board—something that this class of card can definitely benefit from in many scenarios.
And then there are the display output options. While they're not to my personal tastes as an avid multi-monitor user, they are different and it gives the user a choice on the market. That said, I can't help but feel PowerColor should have at least indicated that the card features native HDMI (instead of dual DVI) on the box, because from looking at the packaging alone, one would assume the card comes with dual DVI and a DVI-to-HDMI adapter. Clearly, that isn't the case though.
In terms of competition for the PowerColor Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme PCS 512MB, there is currently Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GS 384MB, which hits roughly the same price point. This provides adequate competition for the Radeon HD 3850—it's faster in some cases, but quite a bit slower in others—but for the time being I'd probably opt for the Radeon HD 3850 with 512MB of vRAM. Those of you that follow the industry closely will surely know what's coming soon though, and we'll be answering that question when the time comes.
PowerColor's factory-overclocked Radeon HD 3850 is a good buy at under £120 (inc. VAT) if you can live with the different display output configuration but, in saying that, I can't help but feel like I'm repeating myself over and over at the moment. I guess that's because the mid-range has never been as strong as it is today – there are just so many good purchases out there and that means it's a good time to be a PC gamer building a new system.
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