Under the heatsink is a whole lot of GDDR3, which in itself doesn't mean much--you can find a pile of budget cards with a gig of RAM, the extra memory incapable of boosting their meager performance--but the 3870 is plainly able to fill its frame buffer. If it were truly a budget card, it would come off as sheer marketing; with a high-end card like this, it really does make a difference. The last great ATI card was the HD 2900 XT, a spectacular misfire. But despite it's ridiculous power consumption, sub-par video processing, and tremendous heat with the blower to match, it still beat out the 512MB HD 3870. I hoped that this redesigned 3870 would have what it takes to finally put out the year-old performance despot. And it does, in almost every way.
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