Inside the very nicely designed box, there is nothing too special as far as “bundle” is concerned. Although it may seem strange at first, HIS tends to follow the general trend set by other manufacturers lately and “expel” all non-essential things from the box of enthusiasts' cards, going for the lowest possible price. Here, that means: the card itself, driver disc, basic cables and converters (DVI-to-VGA and DVI-to-HDMI). The latter will enable you to connect your PC straight to an LCD/plasma TV and watch HD material in resolutions up to 1920x1200.
As soon as you cast a glance on it through the transparent part of the packaging, it will be clear to you that this is a special card you are dealing with. The cooling system is more impressive even than the one on the referent HD 3870 model. Its basis is made fully in copper. Beside the part covering the GPU, there is also a part which covers the voltage unit and another one leading the heat away from the memory chips.
All of this is covered by a plastic armor which neatly creates a steady airflow towards the back of the case. This affects the card temperature greatly, and thus indirectly the case itself, as the hot air is ejected from the case without mixing with the rest of it. This system is most evidently a work of ArcticCooling, and although the previous IceQ models sport the same coolers, this time, AC surpassed itself. The temperatures are very low – on a normal room temperature, the card temperature was lower than 40 degrees in idle mode and no more than 55 degrees in full load.
This is truly remarkable, and sets this card as the best cooled HD 3850 on the market. The cooling system takes up two slots, naturally, but this cannot be considered a drawback even remotely, since performance is the target of the manufacturer. The PCB is identical to those seen before, except that it is blue-colored, in order to fit the image of HIS better. The bracket connectors are gold-plated to provide perfect signal transition, but we cannot recall any monitors which have this kind of connectors, so this will probably remain unexploited.
The R670 GPU has 320 stream processors, and, as the “Turbo” in the title suggests, its clocks are set slightly higher than ordinary – 735 MHz for the GPU and 1960 MHz for the memory. This is a respectable overclock for factory-shipped standards, which comes dangerously close to the HD 3870 clock values. The memory bus is 256 bits wide, and the memory chips are declared to 1 ns response time, which is the maximum possible RT for DDR3 generation chips.
This is the only difference between this card and the HD 3870 which possesses DDR4 chips with a RT of 0.9 ns and clock speeds of 2.25 GHz. The R670 supports all (AMD) technologies such as DirectX 10.1, Shader Model 4.0, OpenGL 2.0, Avivo HD and the rest.
As expected, the card is more likely to compete with the HD 3870 cards than the rest of the HD 3850 generation. The clocks are high enough to give this card a headstart, and the 512 MB of video RAM are also very important in leaving the other HD 3850 models choke on its dust, as 256 MB is really too little in resolutions higher than 1280x1024.
The results in the charts state this clearly enough. The maximum achievable overclock was 780 MHz for the core and 2120 MHz for the memory, which places it even closer to the elder brother.
WinXP SP2, Catalyst 7.11
* Medium Quality
If you are still unsure about purchasing this card, we will make it easier for you by awarding it with an Editor's Choice and warn you that it is a limited edition card, which means that it will not be remade after the initial series is sold out.
As its price is insignificantly higher than the other, regular HD 3850 cards', we recommend that you rush to the nearest (online?) shop and get one immediately. These will hardly hang on the market for long.