Graphics Cards Guide
The GeCube Radeon HD 3870 X2 X-Turbo Dual
The GeCube Radeon HD 3870 X2 X-Turbo Dual
In case you still harbor any doubts, GeCube lists this Radeon HD 3870 X2 as PCIe 2.0 compatible. While this is in line with ATI's reference design, GeCube has gone beyond the standard design on this card by redoing the PCB and there are some interesting changes on this overclocked edition.
First, the PCB is slightly shorter than the reference design. It won't help the X2 card fit into a small enclosure but the board actually looks like it will fit within the confines of our motherboard. Then there are four dual-link DVI outputs at the back, two more than the default and making full use of the dual slots occupied by this card. However, we found that only the top two DVI outputs can be used to boot up the card. This is because all four outputs only work if you disable CrossFire in Catalyst Control Panel and presumably the card is in CrossFire by default during startup.
GeCube has also gone with two 6-pin power connectors, instead of having a 6-pin and a 8-pin. Going by ATI's design, the 8-pin must be connected to enable Overdrive but apparently, GeCube has bypassed this requirement with their redesigned board and even with only 6-pin connectors, we were able to get the Overdrive on the Control Panel. Also, if for some reason (like game compatibility issues or for the quad DVI outputs like the case here) you need to disable CrossFire, you can also do that via the Catalyst Control Panel. This wasn't possible on the reference card we tested previously. Our only concern with GeCube's design is that though its packaging claimed the use of all solid capacitors onboard, we found the picture on the retail box to differ from our review unit and a few of the capacitors were definitely not the solid type.
Moving on to its dual fan cooler, it's a large single piece with heatsinks for the memory and quad heatpipes for the cores. The two 75mm fans add up though and clearly make more noise than the reference when running benchmarks. So be warned, this is not a quiet card. Surprisingly, despite its two fans, the GeCube actually feels lighter than the reference board, which perhaps points to the larger proportion of aluminum on the GeCube as opposed to the solid copper heatsink on the reference.
Finally, we get to the clock speeds and this card is slightly overclocked. Core clocks get bumped up to 850MHz from 825MHz while the GDDR3 memory goes up to 1960MHz DDR from 1800MHz. Given such a small increase, we are expecting a minor boost in performance but for an overclocked edition, it's not very exciting. For the package, GeCube includes an early DirectX 10 title in Call of Juarez along with the usual accessories and cables, all of which are listed below:-
- 1 x DVI-to-VGA adapter
- 1 x DVI-to-HDMI adapter
- 7-pin mini-DIN to Composite/S-Video dongle
- 2 x 6-pin Molex power connector
- 7-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
- User manual
- Driver CD
- Call of Juarez
The benchmarks were conducted on a Intel Core 2 Duo system using a E6700 (2.66GHz) on an Intel D975XBX 'Bad Axe' motherboard with 2GB of low latency DDR2-800 memory from Kingston running in dual channel model. A Seagate 7200.7 SATA hard drive installed with Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 and DirectX 9.0c completed the test system.
While we have downloaded the promised new drivers from ATI's FTP that were made available on the launch date of the Radeon HD 3870 X2 (but not officially released), our preliminary testing found little to no improvements in our benchmarks. With no significant change in results, we have decided to stick with Catalyst 8.1 for the GeCube, so that we could compare this overclocked card against the HIS on a level footing. Reusing the scores from that review, we also had the GeForce 8 GTX, Ultra and GT, running ForceWare 169.21 while the single Radeon HD 3870 was still on Catalyst 7.12. The following benchmarks were tested using their built-in time demo or benchmarking tools:
- Futuremark 3DMark06 (ver 110)
- F.E.A.R (ver 1.0)
- World in Conflict (1.05)
- Crysis (ver 1.1)
- Unreal Tournament 3 (ver 1.1)