Official Product Website: http://www.xpertvision.com/
My old graphics card just wasn’t coming up with the frame rates it used to. I’m becoming increasingly more addicted to games such as Team Fortress 2. My battle-hardened Geforce 6800 was pretty good in most games surprisingly – but there were signs of trouble. In some certain games (my son’s Marvell Ultimate Alliance particularly) the GPU just couldn’t handle the extra shadows, geometry and particles.
So I browsed my local e-tailers for something to put a smile back on my gaming family’s face. I was torn between ATi HD 2900Pro or the mighty new ATi HD 3850. I found a nice cheap 3850 (with 256mb) on Overclockers.co.uk for less than £100 with tax and delivery!
Click the pictures to see higher resolution images.
The Xpert Vision HD3850 box. It’s kind of Terminator-like to say the least.
The actual PCB looks quite dated, in fairness. This image reveals a standard heat-sink and fan, 6 pin power input. Nothing unusual there. I have to admit I was quite gutted when I didn’t see a lovely red plastic flame exhaust thing. Oh well it was really cheap and it might be quite good. Though if you look closely you’ll see a VGA output, a Dual-Link DVI output and what’s this? A HDMI socket, not a DVI to HDMI adapter – a real proper HDMI socket!
Ok fancy some technical guff? Here’s the specifications while I plug it in and test it.
- Bus interface: PCI Express® 2.0
- Memory Support: 256MB GDDR3
- Memory Interface: 256 bit
- Memory Clock: 1656 MHz (828 MHz x 2)
- Core Clock: 668 MHz
- RAMDACs: 400 MHz
- Full Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 Shader Model 4.1 support
- Dual-link DVI output supports 2560×1600 resolution display
- Superscalar unified shader architecture
- 320 stream processing units
- 128-bit floating point precision for all operations
- Dynamic Geometry Acceleration
- ATI CrossFireX™ Multi-GPU Technology
- ATI Avivo™ HD video and display technology
- HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support
- Native HDMI
- Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista™
After playing a couple of games I can comfortably say that this card is probably more than enough power for most gamers. I’ve not had a single gaming, driver, hardware issue with it. It may not have enough video memory to play Crysis at 2560×1600 with full details and Anti-aliasing, but for under £100 it is an amazing buy.
I suspect you could probably run Team Fortress 2 in high definition though -with 4x Anti-aliasing and full 16x Anisotropic filtering. I can’t remember the last time I bought a graphics card for under £100 that was any good. It does actually run Crysis fine with medium and high settings mixed. You can forget Anti-aliasing sadly though. Still looks great though and plays smooth so no real problem in reality.
We also tried NFS: Pro-Street, Unreal Tournament 3, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4, Guild Wars, Counter Strike:Source, Disney Pixar’s Cars, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Assassin’s Creed, Sonic Riders, Half Life 2 series and they all worked flawlessly. Fast frame rates and Superior image quality. Some game engines really allowed me apply insane amounts of detail with no performance loss at all.
The video power was far superior to my previous Purevideo offering. ATi offer motion picture acceleration on most video files unlike my old nVidia’s Purevideo’s WMV and DVD support. AVI formats like DivX and Xvid through hardware acceleration is noticeably better. No scaling bugs either (nVidia please note this).
The fan is not loud, even under stress. The card only fills one expansion slot, yet the bracket is a double. A little strange – but I suppose it prevents overheating. Just think of it as bit of surplus metal for free!
It drains very little power too. There’s not much heat coming from it either. I guess you can figure it has good overclocking possibilities, right?
I just cannot stress how happy we are with our purchase. We love it here, and it’s getting plenty of use! I just had to share the gossip, otherwise I wouldn’t sleep tonight. Welcome to the goat herd, ATi and Xpert Vision!
Xpert Vision HD3850 is a really Über-great value and well built graphic’s card.
You get a top title game (Yes, even if it’s Tomb Raider and not Orange Box).
You get native HDMI support which is quite nice to see.
It’s great for home theater. Quiet cooling.
It’s not really very pretty. Maybe think twice if you have a chassis with a window.
People might think you own a Radeon 9800Pro.
256mb of GDDR3 is fast, but may not be enough for future games. 512mb versions are available though.
“It’s cheap & very cheerful.”