In the test 15 years ago: Sapphire's Radeon HD 3870 with vapor chamber


In the test 15 years ago, the Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 (test) was a custom model of the ATi Radeon HD 3870, which came with a wealth of accessories and above all a vapor chamber -Cooling could shine. Despite overclocking, the Sapphire graphics card remained cooler than a Radeon HD 3870 with reference cooling.

Table of contents

  1. Limited model with a lot of accessories
  2. Thanks to overclocking as fast as a GeForce 8800 GT
  3. Conclusion

Limited model with a lot of accessories

The Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 was a limited edition Radeon HD 3870 that came with plenty of accessories. In addition to the graphics card itself, the scope of delivery included an aluminum case, a 3 m long HDMI cable, a CrossFire bridge, a DVI to D-Sub, DVI to HDMI, S-Video to Composite and S-Video to YUV adapter, power cord, two UV lamps, Cyberlink DVD Suite, PowerDVD 7, driver CD, Valve Black Box coupon and $20 discount coupon.

Image 1 of 8

Atomic HD 3870 rear side
Atomic HD 3870 fan< /figure>

Atomic HD 3870 bracket
Atomic HD 3870 voltage converter
Profile of a steam chamber
Schematic representation of the steam chamber

< p class="p text-width">Apart from that, the single-slot cooler in the vapor chamber design was a distinguishing feature of the graphics card. Dubbed Vapor-X, the technology worked with a five-layer vapor chamber that was under a vacuum. The steam chamber contained water that was heated by the component to be cooled and evaporated at a low temperature thanks to the vacuum. The water vapor then rose to the condensation fabric, where it cooled and returned to a liquid state. Finally, the water flowed back through the transport tissue to the point of origin, closing the cycle. In order to keep the temperature of the top of the cooler and the adjacent condensation fabric low in the long term, an air cooler was also installed on the top.

Thanks to the vapor chamber cooling, it should the GPU temperature of the Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 can be up to 7 °C lower than with conventional cooling and the cooler can also be significantly more compact. Sapphire took advantage of this and increased the chip clock from 775 to 825 MHz and the memory clock from 1,125 to 1,200 MHz.

Fast like a GeForce 8800 GT thanks to overclocking

Due to the increased clock rates, the Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 was able to achieve a performance comparable to that of a GeForce 8800 GT in the test. Compared to a conventional ATi Radeon HD 3870, the average performance advantage was around 7 percent. The cooling performance of the compact single-slot cooler was able to stand out positively. Despite the higher clock rates, the cooler managed to keep up with the reference design under load. When idling, the GPU was 8 C cooler. The verdict was less positive for the sound pressure level, the Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 was particularly loud under load.


Performance rating

    • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT100,5< /li>
    • Sapphire Atomic HD 3870100.0
    • ATi Radeon HD 387093.1
Unit: percent volume

  • Windows:
    • ATi Radeon HD 387045.5
    • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT46.5
    • Sapphire Atomic HD 387048.0
  • Last:
    • ATi Radeon HD 387047.5
    • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT48.5
    • Sapphire Atomic HD 387049.5

Unit: dB(A) Power consumption

  • Windows:
    • ATi Radeon HD 3870169
    • Sapphire Atomic HD 3870170< /li>
    • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT192
  • Last:
    • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT248
    • ATi Radeon HD 3870254
    • Sapphire Atomic HD 3870262

Unit: Watt (W) Temperature

  • Windows:
    • Sapphire Atomic HD 387042
    • ATi Radeon HD 387050
    • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT58
    • < /ul>

    • Load – GPU:
      • ATi Radeon HD 387088
      • Sapphire Atomic HD 387089
      • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT92
    • Last – chip backside:
      • Sapphire Atomic HD 387065
      • ATi Radeon HD 387067
      • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT70

    Unit: °C Overclocking

    • Call of Juarez:
        < li class="chart__row">Atomic HD 3870 – Overclocked (864/1250)13.9
      • Atomic HD 3870 – Standard (825/1200)13.4
      • < /ul>

      • Unreal Tournament 3:
        • Atomic HD 3870 – Overclocked (864/1250)117.9
        • Atomic HD 3870 – Standard (825/1200)113.5
      • Jericho:
        • Atomic HD 3870 – Overclocked (864/1250)20.0
        • < li class="chart__row">Atomic HD 3870 – Standard (825/1200)19.2

      Unit: frames per second (FPS)


      The Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 as a limited version with an aluminum case and vapor chamber cooling was not a bad offer at a price of 259 euros. Thanks to the factory overclocking, the performance was roughly on par with a GeForce 8800 GT. However, those who wanted the best performance for the least money were better served with a cheaper reference card.

      The editors have been throwing in the category “In the test 15 years ago” since July 2017 a look at the test archive every Saturday. The last 20 articles that appeared in this series are listed below:

      • The GeForce 8800 Ultra twitched and sweated in 3-Way-SLI
      • The Logitech G51 fought with the devil
      • What did inexpensive multi-GPU bring 15 years ago?
      • ZEROtherm kept graphics cards loudly cool
      • Intel's Core 2 Extreme on 45 nm steroids
      • The GeForce 8800 GTS 512 with the secret G92 full expansion
      • Scythe Ninja Cu, the limited copper slug
      • Introducing the Radeon HD 3850, the 135-euro miracle weapon
      • With the Zalman VF-1000 against Arctic Coolings S1
      • ATi made a comeback with the Radeon HD 3870
      • Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT was almost perfect
      • Intel's 45 nm process made Penryn fast and economical
      • The thermal right IFX-14 two towers were not enough
      • The best Radeon HD 2600 XT were blue
      • Thermalright's Ultra-120 Extreme was the reference
      • 249 euros was too much for the Radeon HD 2600 XT X2
      • Teufel's elegant 2.1 system with excellent sound
      • Arctic Cooling's Accelero S1 was colder than the competition
      • Zalman wanted to reinvent itself and failed
      • Cooler Masters Cosmos at an astronomical price

      More content of this type and many more reports and anecdotes can be found in the Retro corner in the ComputerBase forum.

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