GECUBE Radeon HD 3850 X-Turbo III

Following our recent 3850 Crossfire article, we test GECUBE's souped up 3850 X-Turbo III in a single-card configuration.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Dec 21 2007 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GECUBE

Introduction





We had a look at the GECUBE HD 3850 the other week in Crossfire form to see how it went up against the new G92 based 8800GTS 512MB. We promised we would have a closer look at the card in its single form along with checking out the package.

GECUBE have got a new cooler for their overclocked cards, and with some nice clockspeeds to boot. What we'll do is have a look at the package and card before we get stuck into the benchmarks.

While we saw the performance of Crossfire 3850 setup we didn't actually compare it against a single 3850, so today we'll also check that out.

The Package




GECUBE are using a bigger than normal box this time; while not ASUS big, it's clearly bigger than boxes that we see from companies like Palit or MSI. It also stands on another angle which is something a bit different.



Ultimately it doesn't matter which way it stands, but as long as the front is informative then that's the main thing. We have all the standard information on the front of the box, the brand at the top while the model across the bottom. We can also see ATI logos along with a Windows Vista logo. We see mention of PCI Express 2.0 along with 512MB of GDDR3.

The two major stand-outs on the front of the box are the shield in the top left corner that shows the card is an OC edition along with a picture just below that showing the new fan which GECUBE label the X-Turbo III.



Turning the box over we have some more in depth details of the card and what the core can offer, along with some main features and contact information. What we also have is a diagram that shows what you can do with the I/O ports. We also have some awards running across the bottom of the card.



Getting inside the box we have a simple 3800 series manual and a CD that just comes with the driver for a number of operating systems.



The cable department is a bit more full-on though; we have our standard molex to PCI-E Express power connector, DVI to VGA connector, Crossfire connector and Component out cable. What else we have is an S-Video to RCA/S-Video connector if you're making use of an older TV, and a DVI to HDMI connector if you have a newer one that can accept this connection.

While the CD department was on the light side of things GECUBE managed to save themselves a bit with a good setup of cables and connectors to get you up and running straight away.

We would have liked to have seen a game included in the package but no doubt people prefer the pre-overclock and different cooling design.

The Card




Getting the package out the way and moving onto the card the first thing you notice is the huge cooler. A cooler like this is generally saved for the 3870 but GECUBE thought they would go all out and add a larger cooler onto the lower spec 3850.



The cooler really manages to take up majority of the card, we can see some copper heat pipes running across the bottom of the card along with the copper heatsink that sits over the core. We can also see the copper base coming out the bottom. The cooler is pretty serious and should be significantly quieter and cooler than the standard single slot one we saw on the ASUS.





Moving around the card we have a pretty standard affair, the back of the card has a single PCI Express connector located just below the fan and heading around to the top of the card we can see our Crossfire connectors that we won't be making use of today.



The I/O department is also pretty normal with our two Dual Link DVI connectors and single TV-Out port. As we mentioned the card is also a dual slot design and you can see where the hot air comes out here.


Specifications

The card is of course overclocked and comes in with a 725MHz core and a 1900MHz DDR clock on the 512MB of GDDR3 memory. This is up from the standard 670MHz/1600MHz DDR found on stock clocked cards.

Compared to the ASUS TOP version there isn't much at all between the two cards, both share the same 1900MHz DDR clock speed on the memory while the ASUS TOP offering comes in with a slightly higher 730MHz core.

Test System Setup and 3DMark05


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): ASUS Blitz Extreme (Supplied by ASUS)
Graphics Card(s): GECUBE HD 3850 OC Edition X-Turbo III(Supplied by Bronet)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Corsair XMS3 DDR-3 1066MHz 7-7-7-21 (Supplied by Corsair)
Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA-2
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 7.11, Forceware 169.06

With the single 3850 OC Edition from GECUBE in hand we thought we would throw in the stock clocked 8800GT from ASUS, but more importantly the Crossfire configuration using two 3850 OC Editions from GECUBE to see what going to a second card does for us.

As usual we will be running a number of synthetic and real world benchmarks while testing on both Windows XP and Windows Vista for some Direct X 10 fun.


3DMark05

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
Buy It Here




3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.

For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.




In the less intensive 3DMark05 we can see there isn't a lot of difference between the cards at the lower resolution, though when we climb up there you see them separate a bit more.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




You can see there are good gains for the Crossfire setup across the board, while the single HD 3850 OC really holds its own against the 8800GT.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here




By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode One opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode One with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.




We can see small gains for the Crossfire setup and the 8800GT coming out ahead the whole time. What you will notice is that we have big numbers across the whole line up though, so playing a source based game at 1920 x 1200 isn't going to be any dramas on the single 3850 OC.

Benchmarks - Prey


Prey

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here




Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.




The NVIDIA favored Prey shows small gains on offer from the Crossfire solution again. The single 3850 OC manages to handle itself well too, over 100 FPS at the highest resolution is seen here.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R.

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.vugames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/
Buy It Here




F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror...and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.





We can see Crossfire is working here, but with a minimum of 71 FPS on the single card you're not going to have any dramas playing F.E.A.R. with a single 3850.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.






We again see some good gains from the Crossfire setup, but the single 3850 OC from GECUBE manages to really hold its own. It's not that far behind the more expensive 8800GT.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict (DX9)

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





We can see the higher resolution shows some good gains for the Crossfire setup while the 8800GT also puts out a pretty decent score. We can see the single 3850 sits back a bit. Changing the settings a little more and bringing that minimum up to 35 should give you a perfect experience at 1920 x 1200.

High Quality AA and AF




Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06



We can see good gains with the Crossfire setup but the single card really plods along when we turn on AA and AF.


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)



We can see a big hit again to the AMD offerings when we turn on AA and AF here.


Prey



Again AA and AF performance really take a hit to the AMD cards with the single 8800GT coming out ahead.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - Vista


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




3DMark06 sees good gains from the Crossfire setup while the single card manages to handle itself not too badly at all. Of course the more expensive 8800GT does sneak out ahead of the single card setup.

Benchmarks - Call of Juarez (DX10) - Vista


Call of Juarez (DX10)

Version and / or Patch Used: DX10 Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.techland.pl/en/
Product Homepage: http://www.coj-game.com

Buy It Here



Call of Juarez is a Western-themed FPS from Techland. The North America release was one of the first games to utilize DX10.

Call of Juarez is loosely based on a number of Western movie hits from the last four decades, particularly the Spaghetti Westerns that became popular in the sixties and early seventies. The game features two different characters: Billy "Candle", a young fugitive accused of murder and the Reverend Ray, an ex-outlaw who turned to religion, believing that God himself has chosen Ray to be the instrument of His wrath.





With Crossfire issues in COJ we can see the single card come out ahead of everything else, including the 8800GT.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet (DX10) - Vista


Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_lostplanet_home.html




Driven to the brink of extinction on ice-covered wastelands, humankind fights to survive. From extreme conditions and insurgent Snow Pirates to hostile gargantuan alien Akrid, all that you can trust are your instincts.

Combining a gripping single player campaign and intense multiplayer modes with support for up to 16 players online, Lost Planet is an epic gaming masterpiece. Enormous world maps unfold as players' battle across vast snow fields and deserted cities either on foot or in armed, robotic Vital Suits.



Crossfire offers us a decent gain at the higher resolution, though we can see the 8800GT puts out a good score across the board in Lost Planet.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes (DX10) - Vista


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.




At the higher resolution the 8800GT and the HD 3850 OC sit very close together while the Crossfire setup offers some decent gains at the top.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.




The bigger fan helps keep temperature down, especially compared to the 8800GT.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).




The bigger fan again helps thanks to its ability to spin slower, this in turn helps keep noise down.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




Power is down slightly from the faster 8800GT.

Final Thoughts




GECUBE made quite the name for themselves back in the 9600XT era, and it seems like they have stuck with a working formula.

Better fan + Overclock = Good Graphics Card.

They've done a good job with the HD 3850. It performs well out of the box, is generally pretty quiet and seems to offer a pretty good bang for buck. There isn't much more you could ask for.

We also had a closer look at Crossfire performance here today, and you can see that it doesn't really offer huge gains. The single card setup on the other hand manages to hold its own very well and really comes close to the 8800GT at some points, Considering it's priced a fair bit better and there are no stock issues it offers a pretty good performance to price ratio.

All in all GECUBE have done a good job with the HD 3850 and the X-Turbo III cooler is a step up from the stock single slot design we're use too seeing.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
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