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Discussion Starter #1
First thing it's passively cooled.
Second it can be overclocked quite nicely if I choose to.
Third I can use it for gaming or htpc
Fourth It looks AWESOME
Fifth It looks AWESOME

Sapphire HD 3850 Ultimate Edition
retail is about $240-250

Best review that I found is here. http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_hd_3850_ultimate/

Little info about it.

The card has an absolutely massive heatsink on it that almost completely covers the card on both sides. This card is has 512MB of onboard memory and it is specifically made for a PCI-Express port. Notice how the heatsink fins on the back of the card are angled at almost 45 degrees over the card.


The Sapphire HD 3850 Ultimate Edition did better than the Diamond HD 3850 in almost every benchmark by only a few frames per second. This card was dead silent due to the fact that it has no fan on it. The heatsink on the top of the card is quite large, so I'd be sure to check to make sure that it won't touch an after-market CPU cooler. Not only was this card silent, but it was also a very cool-running card. It idled at 21 degrees Celsius! That's very impressive for a card that doesn't have an onboard fan. When I overclocked this video card, I was able to push it pretty far. I got the core clock from 670MHz to 715MHz and the memory clock from the stock 830MHz to 945MHz. If you ask me, that's a good overclock for a video card. If you're considering getting a mid-range card, definitely take a look at the Sapphire HD 3850 Ultimate Edition! It's silent, runs cool, overclockable, and it performs a little better than other cards that have the same GPU. The only downside is the price over a normal 3850 is almost $50 more in some cases, but if you don't mind paying for a card to be silent and to get a few extra frames, this is a card to look at.


Mike
 

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Any idea how much faster this would be than a passive 3650 card?

I am looking to replace the passive 7600GS card in my HTPC - the only problem with that card is that it can't handle higher resolutions in Guitar Hero III (which is the only PC game that I play) and it doesn't have hardware decoding for BluRay codecs (I plan to buy a BR drive for my HTPC shortly as they are now under $200).

If the 3650 passive cards are fast enough then I wouldn't mind just going with that.
 

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I wouldn't put a 3850 in a HTPC. If you have the money and don't mind the noise from the extra exhaust fans that are required to keep the PC cool, go for it.
 

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I wouldn't put a 3850 in a HTPC. If you have the money and don't mind the noise from the extra exhaust fans that are required to keep the PC cool, go for it.
What would you recommend for an HTPC? A passive 3650? If so is there that big of a difference in power consumption between the two?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It seem like every I go and look all as I see are people looking for a budget htpc card or a budget htpc build. Nothing wrong with that at all, I just don't do things this way.
Maybe I am a bit misunderstood on the htpc. My computer is a regular everyday case with fans on the side and the back. It's a big case with lots of room. It is my everyday computer that if called upon I would like to use for games and ht. 99% of the time it will be used for audio through my turtle beach sound card via optical to my Yammy receiver.
the 3850 ultimate is a passive solution, that doesn't generate that much heat from what I read even when overclocked.

What other card would be a possible solution that can do gaming and htpc extremely well?

I was also looking at the 3870 512mb ddr4 for around the same price.

I am currently using an 8600gt but would like to upgrade to a card with dual dvi, and is better for gaming. The consensus from what i have been reading the last 2 weeks on avs and here is that ati offers a better visual than the nvidia cards but has more problems with drivers.
 

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It really depends on what you want to do with it.

Since you are planning on gaming with it that means you need as much video card horsepower as possible. The usual side-effect of that is increased noise/heat.

Have you looked at taking two of the "lower" powered cards and running them in an SLI/Crossfire configuration? I'm not really a gamer so I don't know if that's a better solution price/performance wise than a single, high end card.

As far as image quality is concerned there is really very little difference between ATI and Nvidia these days. On a properly calibrated setup either will look very good and the video PQ is as much dependant on the application and setup as anything.
 

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It sounds like this is not really a HTPC but a multipurpose system. A gaming system that is also used for playing media is not a true HTPC. Gaming systems and dedicated HTPCs have very different requirements. Most gaming systems are quite good at HTPC duties due to the high end hardware that is required. If 3850 is required for you gaming system that is also used play media, go for it.
 

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I'd say a Nvidia 9600GT card is your best bet if you want gaming/HTPC perormance.

It can be had for $150-$200 and generally outperforms the ATI 3850 in all facets.
 

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pappcam is probably right.

The 9600GT is a better fit to your needs without turning your PC into a furnace or needing a "Mr. Fusion" to run it.

If your gaming and HTPC needs were a 50/50 split, I would stay with the 3850 but it sounds like HTPC duties are a distant second place.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm a little confused.
I hear what you guys are saying just trying to understand where all this heat is coming from. The card exhausts right from where the dvi connectors are so any heat goes right out of the back of the case. If I'm not wrong this card also uses less power than the 2600 and 2900.
I'm not questioning anyones answers just trying to clarify them.

Thanks
Mike
 

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Newer cards tend to be more energy efficient so the 3000 series will consume less power for the same performance as the 2000 series. If the heat exhausts out the back, great. That is a very good design, better than a passive heat sink if done properly. Note that most video card designs, including passive, exhaust the heat inside the case, requiring extra ventilation to get rid of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You know what. I was wrong.
Sorry guys.
I was getting the configuration of a couple different cards mixed up in my head. This card just has a huge heatsink and I see what you mean by having so much heat sitting inside the case.
 
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