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Sapphire HD3870 X2


Author:  Jason Jacobs
Date:  2008.05.19
Topic:  Video
Provider:  Sapphire
Manufacturer:  Sapphire






Sapphire HD3870 X2

Introduction:

Sapphire Technologies is the largest and best performing ATI partner in the world currently. As such you may have seen their products on store shelves and online quite a bit. Sapphire carries the entire ATI lineup as well as offering their Ultimate and Toxic series. Today, however, we are not looking at either one of those cards but the flagship of the ATI lineup, the HD3870 X2. This card offers two 3870 GPU's on one card and weighs in at a full 1GB of DDR3 Ram.

So the question we found ourselves asking was "Is two better than one?" ATI and Sapphire would be answering yes, but we wanted to dive a bit deeper and find out if this two GPU in one card is really worth your cash.

Let's take a quick look at some numbers.

  • 666 million transistors on 55nm fabrication process
  • PCI Express x16 GPU bus interface
  • 256-bit GDDR3/GDDR4 memory interface
  • Ring Bus Memory Controller
    • Fully distributed design with 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads and writes
  • Microsoft® DirectX® 10 1 support
    • Shader Model 4.1
    • 32-bit floating point texture filtering
    • Indexed cube map arrays
    • Independent blend modes per render target
    • Pixel coverage sample masking
    • Read/write multi-sample surfaces with shaders
    • Gather4 texture fetching
  • Unified Superscalar Shader Architecture
    • 320 stream processing units
      • Dynamic load balancing and resource allocation for vertex, geometry, and pixel shaders
      • Common instruction set and texture unit access supported for all types of shaders
      • Dedicated branch execution units and texture address processors
    • 128-bit floating point precision for all operations
    • Command processor for reduced CPU overhead
    • Shader instruction and constant caches
    • Up to 80 texture fetches per clock cycle
    • Up to 128 textures per pixel
    • Fully associative multi-level texture cache design
    • DXTC and 3Dc+ texture compression
    • High resolution texture support (up to 8192 x 8192)
    • Fully associative texture Z/stencil cache designs
    • Double-sided hierarchical Z/stencil buffer
    • Early Z test, Re-Z, Z Range optimization, and Fast Z Clear
    • Lossless Z & stencil compression (up to 128:1)
    • Lossless color compression (up to 8:1)
    • 8 render targets (MRTs) with anti-aliasing support
    • Physics processing support
  • Dynamic Geometry Acceleration
    • High performance vertex cache
    • Programmable tessellation unit
    • Accelerated geometry shader path for geometry amplification
    • Memory read/write cache for improved stream output performance
  • Anti aliasing features
    • Multi-sample anti-aliasing (2, 4, or 8 samples per pixel)
    • Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA) for improved quality
    • Adaptive super-sampling and multi-sampling
    • Temporal anti-aliasing
    • Gamma correct
    • Super AA (ATI CrossFire™ configurations only)
    • All anti-aliasing features compatible with HDR rendering
ATI CrossFireX™ Multi-GPU Technology
  • Scale up rendering performance and image quality with two, three, or four GPUs
  • Integrated compositing engine
  • High performance bridge interconnect
  • ATI PowerPlay™
    • Advanced power management technology for optimal performance and power savings
    • Performance-on-Demand
      • Constantly monitors GPU activity, dynamically adjusting clocks and voltage based on user scenario
      • Clock and memory speed throttling
      • Voltage switching
      • Dynamic clock gating
    • Central thermal management – on-chip sensor monitors GPU temperature and triggers thermal actions as required

 

  • Texture filtering features
    • 2x/4x/8x/16x high quality adaptive anisotropic filtering modes (up to 128 taps per pixel)
    • 128-bit floating point HDR texture filtering
    • Bicubic filtering
    • sRGB filtering (gamma/degamma)
    • Percentage Closer Filtering (PCF)
    • Depth & stencil texture (DST) format support
    • Shared exponent HDR (RGBE 9:9:9:5) texture format support
    OpenGL 2.0 support
  • ATI Avivo™ HD Video and Display Platform
    • Dedicated unified video decoder (UVD) for H.264/AVC and VC-1 video formats
      • High definition (HD) playback of both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats
    • Hardware MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and DivX video decode acceleration
      • Motion compensation and IDCT
    • ATI Avivo Video Post Processor
      • Color space conversion
      • Chroma subsampling format conversion
      • Horizontal and vertical scaling
      • Gamma correction
      • Advanced vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
      • De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
      • Detail enhancement
      • Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
      • Bad edit correction
    • Two independent display controllers
      • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls and video overlays for each display
      • Full 30-bit display processing
      • Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion
      • Spatial/temporal dithering provides 30-bit color quality on 24-bit and 18-bit displays
      • High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all display outputs
      • Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
      • Fast, glitch-free mode switching
      • Hardware cursor
    • Two integrated dual-link DVI display outputs
      • Each supports 18-, 24-, and 30-bit digital displays at all resolutions up to 1920x1200 (single-link DVI) or 2560x1600 (dual-link DVI)1
      • Each includes a dual-link HDCP encoder with on-chip key storage for high resolution playback of protected content2
      • Two integrated 400 MHz 30-bit RAMDACs
      • Each supports analog displays connected by VGA at all resolutions up to 2048x15361
    • HDMI output support
      • Supports all display resolutions up to 1920x10801
      • Integrated HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support, enabling a plug-and-play cable-less audio solution
      • Integrated AMD Xilleon™ HDTV encoder
        • Provides high quality analog TV output (component/S-video/composite)
        • Supports SDTV and HDTV resolutions
        • Underscan and overscan compensation
      • MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264/AVC encoding and transcoding
      • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
      • VGA mode support on all display output

On the surface you can see that with the HD3870 X2 ATI has chosen to go with the cheaper GDDR3 memory than what is found on the single GPU 3870 cards. Also the clock rate is slightly higher than on the single 3870.

Here is a breakdown of the card:

Click on the Thumbnail for a Larger Image.

Key to this card are the following Specs:

  • 55nm process technology
  • Over 1 TeraFLOPS of GPU Compute Power
  • 640 (320 x2) stream processing units
  • 2 x 256-bit memory interfaces
  • DirectX® 10.1 / Shader Model 4.1 support
  • Game physics processing capability
  • ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
  • High-speed 128-bit HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering
  • Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing
  • Unified Video Decoder (UVD) for Blu-ray™ and HD DVD at full HD 1080p
  • The HD3870 X2 brings 10.1 Direct X where the Nvidia cards do not, you also get a unified Video Decoder for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD playback. It should be noted that the 8xxx/9xxx series cards support playback of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD but at various quality.

    REAL TIME PRICING

     



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