Sapphire HD3870 Ultimate 3870 Video Card

smallBased off of the RV670 chipset is the Sapphire Ultimate 3870 video card. This card many not be overclocked like the Toxic we reviewed a few weeks back. This means it won’t perform at the same level of the Toxic did, but the major thing the Ultimate has over the Toxic is silence. Combined with 512MB of GDDR4 and Shader 4.1, silence isn’t the only feature the card has that it can boast about. Just how well does it match up against the Toxic mode? Read on to find out.

 

3D Realms Prey
“Tommy is a down-on-his-luck garage mechanic, stuck in the middle on who-knows-where on some forgotten reservation, where Native Americans are tucked away out of sight, out of mind.
And then the unthinkable happens! Earth becomes prey to the galaxy’s largest predator, a space bound Texas-sized alien that’s looking to satiate its hunger with the organic goodness that most populates Earth: Us. And the first course is a certain forgotten reservation.
Tommy and his girlfriend have become prey, his grandfather killed, and hundreds of his tribal nations have been abducted through space-warping portals. Freeing himself, all Tommy cares about is saving Jenny. But the spirit of his grandfather beckons him to embrace his heritage, accept the ancient teachings, and prepare to battle the menace that threatens to destroy all the planet’s life.  It’s a choice between love and responsibility. It’s a choice that cannot be made easily.”

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Electronic Arts Crysis
“Earth, 2019. A team of US scientists makes a frightening discovery on an island in the South China Sea. All contact with the team is lost when the North Korean Government quickly seals off the area. The United States responds by dispatching an elite team of Delta Force Operators to recon the situation. As tension rises between the two nations, a massive alien ship reveals itself in the middle of the island. The ship generates an immense force sphere that freezes a vast portion of the island and drastically alters the global weather system. Now the US and North Korea must join forces to battle the alien menace. With hope rapidly fading, you must fight epic battles through tropical jungle, frozen landscapes, and finally into the heart of the alien ship itself for the ultimate Zero G showdown.”

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Ubisoft Far Cry
“A tropical paradise seethes with hidden evil in Far Cry, a cunningly detailed action shooter that pushes the boundaries of combat to shocking new levels.
Freelance mariner Jack Carver is cursing the day he ever came to this island. A week ago, a brash female reporter named Valerie had offered him an incredible sum of cash to take her to this unspoiled paradise. Shortly after docking, however, Jack’s boat was greeted by artillery fire from a mysterious militia group swarming about the island.
With his boat destroyed, his money gone, and the gorgeous Valerie suddenly missing, Jack now finds himself facing an army of mercenaries amidst the wilds of the island, with nothing but a gun and his wits to survive. But the further he pushes into the lush jungle canopy, the stranger things become.
Jack encounters an insider within the militia group who reveals the horrific details of the mercenaries’ true intentions. He presents Jack with an unsettling choice: battle the deadliest mercenaries, or condemn the human race to a maniac’s insidious agenda.”

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Valve Half Life 2: Episode Two
‘Half-Life® 2: Episode Two is the second in a trilogy of new games created by Valve that extends the award-winning and best-selling Half-Life® adventure.
As Dr. Gordon Freeman, you were last seen exiting City 17 with Alyx Vance as the Citadel erupted amidst a storm of unknown proportions. In Episode Two, you must battle and race against Combine forces as you traverse the White Forest to deliver a crucial information packet stolen from the Citadel to an enclave of fellow resistance scientists.
Episode Two extends the award-winning Half-Life gameplay with unique weapons, vehicles, and newly-spawned creatures.”

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Inserts taken from respective deverloper’s website.

Temps

The main reason for me being impressed with the Ultimate is due to its quiet operation. When it comes to performance it is pretty good at that as well. The one thing this card does do is get hot with its cooler. Since I test in an open environment I decided to see how hot it was. Well there is a warning on this cooler for a reason, I found out first hand. When connected to a 790i board, the cooler got pretty dang hot to the point where you can’t touch it for any extended period of time. I was really surprised. When contacted to my regular test board which is an ASUS P5E3 it still got hot, but not to the point it did on the other board.

As for temps, the Ultimate idles at 48C constantly which is not bad considering there aren’t any fans to help cool the unit. Pumping up the volume a little with some game play the temps quickly rose to 63C and never went above this.

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The whole reason for purchasing this card is due to the fact that it is as quiet as you will ever get. The whole idea of having a higher end video card that is quiet and can play today’s games should be fascinating to any gamer. I think this card has spoiled me, because after I installed it in my everyday rig I enjoyed the total silence. I was able to go about my everyday duties without being bothered by the whine of my 8800GT.

It would be awesome to see two of these in Crossfire. Even better performance and no noise. If you think about it a little more you can have the ideal quiet PC. High end coolers are being offered with ultra quiet cooling fans, hard drives are getting quieter every year, and power supplies are as quiet as ever.  An individual can go all day without hearing a peek from their PC.

Performance wise we could not be happier. Yes there are faster cards out there, but how many of them can be cooled passively. Not many as they produce way too much heat to run this way. We reviewed the Toxic version of the 3870 awhile back, and were impressed with its performance numbers. We are just as proud of this cards performance as well. A real solid purchase if you ask me.

Speaking of purchasing we searched many online retailers to see if we could find a price for the Ultimate. We are sad to say that we did not find any. I would suspect the card to go for about $140-$150 as the price of the 38xx chipset has dropped due to the introduction of the 4850 and 4870.

To sum up the Ultimate in short form….it gets no better when it comes to quiet operation.

 

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