ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB
- Four DVI ports, excellent performance when playing DirectX 9-based games at maximum detail levels and high resolutions, doesn't run very hot, doesn't require a CrossFire-capable motherboard
- Poor performance in the DirectX 10-based game Crysis, can't use all four DVI ports in CrossFire mode
Two GPUs on one card sounds promising in theory, but this card didn't shine in all our tests. It does have four DVI ports though, so if you've always wanted to run four monitors off one PC, then this is the card for you.
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
With this high-end graphics card, you'll be seeing double. Not only does it have two ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics processing units (GPUs) onboard, it also has four DVI ports – twice the amount of a typical card. This means you can attach up to four monitors to your PC, boosting your productivity and making your friends and colleagues jealous of your vast desktop expanse.
The ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB uses ATI's CrossFire technology to render games, so both GPUs can alternate the processing load between them to render the pixels you see on your screen quicker than a single GPU can. However, CrossFire isn't entirely bug free under Windows Vista yet, so some games may not benefit at all from this card.
A case in point is the DirectX 10-based Crysis, which, at a resolution of 1920x1200 and with high image details, averaged 10.3 frames per second (fps). That was with both GPUs working in CrossFire mode, yet it averaged 11.7fps with CrossFire disabled.
Conversely, the DirectX 10-based Call of Juarez benefited from CrossFire; at a resolution of 1280x1024 and with the image quality profile set to 'balanced', the game's benchmark averaged 50fps. Without CrossFire, the same settings garnered 28fps. If you're a fan of Call of Juarez, then this card will definitely give you a better gaming experience, but don't go playing it at 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 resolutions – even with CrossFire, it averaged 18fps at 1920x1200, which isn't a playable result. As always, if you have a 22in or bigger monitor, you'll benefit from a faster high-end card such as one based on the NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX.
For DirectX 9-based games, you won't have to worry much as this card will play them very comfortably. Here are a couple of results just to give you an indication of what it can do: Half-Life 2 averaged 132fps with CrossFire enabled and 120fps with it disabled. That was at a resolution of 1920x1200 on our Samsung SyncMaster 245B monitor, and with all the detail settings turned up. At a resolution of 1600x1200 and with maximum detail settings, FEAR averaged 113fps with CrossFire enabled and 61fps with it disabled.
The card's specifications aren't typical of a standard ATI Radeon HD 3870 GPU; the GPU core on this X2 card runs at 825MHz, while the memory runs at 1802MHz. Each GPU is accompanied by 512MB of GDDR3 memory. The GPU clock speed is 50MHz faster than that of a standard Radeon HD 3870 GPU, but the memory speed is almost 450MHz slower.
CrossFire is enabled on the card by default (and you can use this card even if your motherboard doesn't support CrossFire), but if you plan on using four monitors, you'll have to disable it. With CrossFire disabled, you'll still be able to play games, of course, you just won't be able to harness the power of both GPUs. Luckily, with CrossFire enabled, you can still use a dual-monitor setup, so it's not all bad.
It's a double-thickness card, so it'll occupy two expansion slots in a PC, but because it has four DVI ports, its cooler doesn't have an exhaust. If you use this card, you'll need to ensure that your PC has proper airflow running from the front to the rear so that warmth generated by the card can escape. Furthermore, you'll need two PCI Express power cables in order to run it, which could cause some clutter.
For its $599 price, this card is more cost-effective than two individual Radeon HD 3870-based cards (which will also require a CrossFire-capable motherboard), but it only barely keeps up with cards based on NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GTS GPU, which can also be found at more competitive prices (see MSI's GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB (NX8800GTS-T2D512E-OC) as an example). Compared against the 8800 GTS, the 3870 X2 was particularly disappointing in Crysis. Still, if you won't be playing that game, and if you've always wanted to run four monitors off one PC, then this card can be considered.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- EVGA's GTX 1080 FTW2 and SC2 graphics cards get updated with faster memory
- Qualcomm: First Windows 10 ARM PC coming in the fourth quarter
- User-created patch lets Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs receive Windows 7 updates
- Samsung ready to make chips faster than the ones in Galaxy S8
- Prices of SSDs and DRAM will crash in 2019, Gartner predicts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTJava Team LeadVIC
- CCBusiness Implementation Manager - Wealth AdviceNSW
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystQLD
- FTProcess Analyst - Green BeltVIC
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- FTMid-Level .NET DeveloperVIC
- CCPMO AnalystVIC
- FTBI Report DeveloperQLD
- FTTechnical SpecialistACT
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystSA
- FTPayroll Systems AnalystQLD
- PTProject ManagerNSW
- FTData Entry Administrator - TelecommunicationsNSW
- CCSenior Change ManagerQLD
- CCWindows Server EngineerNSW
- CCTechnical Business AnalystSA
- FTTest AnalystNSW
- FTAudio Visual / Video Solution Architect | $100 p/hrVIC
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- TPPrincipal Project Officer - ReportingQLD
- CCSolution Architect - Network Operations/Design - TelcoVIC
- FTSolution Architect - SecurityVIC
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Linux AdministratorNSW
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW