Sapphire Radeon HD3850 Ultimate
- Silent heat-pipe
- Not for high-end gamers
An excellent choice for casual gamers who care more about noise than getting the best performance out of the latest games.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Of ATI's new HD3000 series cards the HD3850 is the low-end, competing with NVIDIA's 8800 GTS 320MB cards. It may not be the most potent performer available, and certainly isn't the best choice if you want to see games like Crysis running at full capacity. However, its cooler operational temperatures allow it the opportunity to run on a passive heat sink, such as with the Sapphire HD3850 Ultimate we had the pleasure of testing.
The HD3000 range supersedes the HD2000 series, bringing a far more acceptable level of performance than the previous generation could muster. Although the HD3870 is the top player so far from the new family, the HD3850 is still a decent choice, especially considering the silent heat-pipe option.
It offers 512MB of GDDR3 RAM on a 256-bit external memory bus. The core clock runs at 668MHz while the memory puffs along at a bizarre 828MHz (1656MHz effective speed). Unlike NVIDIA's GPU (graphics processor unit), the 320 stream processors on all ATI Radeon cards run at the core clock speed, rather than on a separate frequency. All of this is achieved on a nice, power efficient 55-nanometre architecture.
Among its new features the Sapphire Radeon HD3850 runs the latest DirectX 10.1 API (application programming interface), a minor upgrade to DirectX 10. Although it's a bonus, this is not a feature to buy on, as it is only a small scale update to the API. The Sapphire HD3850 Ultimate also offers Crossfire X support, allowing up to four boards to be linked up in a daisy-chain (requires a Crossfire X motherboard). This will initially allow for displays on a maximum of eight screens while still offering support for only two GPUs, but will eventually support four GPUs in a Crossfire configuration.
Probably the coolest thing about this board, however, is simply its silent, passive heat sink. The card is no dud, it will run early 2007 titles at high quality settings in high resolutions, and is capable of running late 2007 titles (and hopefully more into 2008) at medium or at worst, low quality settings at high resolutions. The only caveat is the size of the heat sink, which is almost triple the size of the active stock cooler, taking up two PCI slots. This, unfortunately, is the price of silence, which this card offers in droves.
In our tests, as we've mentioned, the card didn't rock the frames, but it did perform fairly well for its price. For DirectX 9 (DX9) we used Half-Life 2, in which the Sapphire Radeon HD3850 Ultimate averaged 122fps (frames per second) using the maximum resolution of our Samsung SyncMaster 245B (1920x1200) and with all the quality settings turned up to the max. In FEAR it averaged 54fps using the highest quality settings and a resolution of 1600x1200. In 3DMark 2006 it scored 9876.
In DirectX 10 (DX10) tests the Sapphire Radeon HD3850 ultimate was less impressive, but was still able to run the games, and would still be suitable at lower quality settings or at lower resolutions. In the DX10 version of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, using the default settings, this card managed an average of 47fps, but fell to pieces at the maximum 1920x1200 and with all the DX10 features turned on, averaging just 13fps. Equally, in Crysis using the same resolution and all settings at high this card only managed 16fps. In the Call of Juarez DX10 demo we saw slightly better results with an average of 24fps using the default settings.
It's not going to suit hardcore gamers, but casual gamers will still be able to enjoy most gaming titles, as long as they're willing to sacrifice some of the higher quality visual effects.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
cloudandco Smart Cane
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Toys for Boys
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- BenQ unveils a pair of new ergonomic eSports mice
- Crucial Launches Highest Density 128GB DDR4 LRDIMM Server Memory
- The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Will Now Resist the Elements
- Logitech Unveils MX ERGO, their first trackball in nearly a decade
- MSI's new Ryzen-ready motherboard coming to Oz
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- PC World 2017 Editors' Choice Awards Nomineees Announced
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCExstream DeveloperNSW
- FTDigital Marketing Business AnalystOther
- CCCustomer Service RepresentativeNSW
- FTDesktop Support AnalystOther
- FTIntegeration ArchitectOther
- TPCommunicatons and Change AdvisorQLD
- FTBusiness Analyst ManagerNSW
- FTDigital ProducerQLD
- TPCommunication Advisor | ICT Project ImplementationQLD
- CCProgram ManagerNSW
- FTPlatform Software Engineer (Data Warehouse/Big Data) - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTMicrofocus Cobol DeveloperOther
- FTPrincipal ConsultantOther
- CCCloud Test EngineerNSW
- TPDesktop Support & PC DeploymentVIC
- FTSenior Developer - Node.js - APINSW
- FTSQL DeveloperQLD
- FTOnboarding Specialist / Service Design - ITIL | ServiceNowOther
- CCTechnical Lead - DigitalNSW
- CCPHP DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTAutomation DeveloperOther
- TPSystems EngineerQLD
- CCIteration Manager - Insurance BackgroundQLD