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Sapphire launches passively-cooled Radeon HD 3850 with 512MB

by Tarinder Sandhu on 6 December 2007, 09:40

Tags: Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 , Sapphire

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AMD/ATI released its Radeon HD 3800-series GPUs three weeks ago and we surmised that the HD 3870 512MiB made reasonable sense if your budget was limited to £150 or so. It was, after all, faster than the incumbent Radeon HD 2900 XT and brought a fuller feature-set to the table.

AMD also released the Radeon HD 3850; a cut-down version of the 3870 that featured slower clocks - 670/1660 (engine/memory) vs. 775/2250 - and a smaller 256MiB frame buffer. All other architectural features were kept intact, including PCIe 2.0, UVD, CrossFireX and DX10.1 support.

The lower-power nature of the HD 3850 256MiB has allowed enterprising add-in board (AIB) partners to release passively-cooled SKUS into their respective ranges, and that's exactly what Sapphire has done.

Using zero-noise cooling via heatpipe-based cooling, the 55nm-based Sapphire HD 3850 ULTIMATE Edition clocks in at a reference-like 668MHz/1660MHz.

Sapphire, however, equips this board with 512MiB of GDDR3 memory, doubling what's normally present. We see this is a better move than, say, just increasing operating frequencies, as frame-buffer limitations will play a larger part in determining performance once resolution and image-quality have been dialled up.

We like the fact that the passively-cooled design keeps to a single-slot, too (at leasst on the topside).

Expect to see the Sapphire HD 3850 ULTIMATE Edition available for around £125, and keep an eye out for the review.

Read the press release here, if you're so inclined.

HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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Needs to be benched against an x1950 Pro and the 3870 please as I'm looking for a silent, better performing solution than my current 1950 ta :)
I'm in the same boat as Trig. I find this model particularly interesting as it has a seperate power circuitry heatsink, setting it apart from the other 3850's - hello reusing my current waterblock!
These look good! Im sure they will be a popular choice around this time of year. Nice to have quick and silent.
Nothing on this yet, I've ended up with the normal sapphire 3850 256Mb model which tbh is quiet anyways since it seems to throttle ram and gpu speeds dependant on workload which I missed in the review….