Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 Ultimate

Aron Schatz
June 5, 2008
Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 Ultimate
When you need a completely silent and fast graphics card for your next build, look no further than the Sapphire Radeon 3870 Ultimate.

Page 1: Intro, Box, Info


While the next generation of graphics cards from ATI are just around the corner, you can get some amazing performance with full open source support for a great price. Some of the readers might also be looking for a silent solution while having good performance and the Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 Ultimate steps up to provide that. It combines a truly massive heatsink with the powerful 3870 GPU to create a fast and completely silent graphics card for your quiet PC.

About Sapphire:


Pioneers in a new era of how data is displayed and games are played, Sapphire shepherds the performance oriented with ground-breaking solutions to an environment that remains in a constant state of flux and ultimate evolution. For over ten years Sapphire has held true to its unwavering commitment, the commitment to deliver the most feature rich and soundly engineered products. Because of Sapphire's firm position on achieving excellence with each product that leaves our ISO9001 and ISO14001 certified factories, you can rest assured that your customers will recognize YOUR commitment to selling only the highest of quality components.

"Sapphire is ATI's largest and best performing partner World Wide" Dave Orton, CEO ATI

Since ATI announced its manufacturing & distribution relationships with ODMs and AiBs in June of 2001, SAPPHIRE has been THE key ATI Graphics Boards Supplier worldwide and now stands poised and ready to capture the mainboard audience of those who seek a stable platform for their mission critical operations.

Captured within the circuitry of each of SAPPHIRE's graphic cards and mainboards can be found the collective feedback from generations of enthusiasts in every market niche. Brought to life through performance oriented innovation and an emphasis on quality control, SAPPHIRE designs, manufactures and distributes the most complete range of ATI video boards and mainboards--from the mainstream products that afford the casual user the opportunity to enjoy enriched graphics and affordable platform solutions to the state-of-the-art technological marvels that drive fantasies to before unattainable thresholds of realism, and offer the pinnacle of stability and performance! SAPPHIRE refuses to compromise quality by cutting corners at the expense of its customers experience with their products. All ATI board designs undergo a stringent layout inspection by our staff of engineers to guarantee that they represent the usual high-quality image of ATI original boards. We also enjoy the resources of a highly innovative technical department that layout complex designs to accommodate different market niches as they arise. SAPPHIRE ATI video boards have long been the reliable choice for a great number of OEMs and large System Integrators in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America based largely on our ability to meet a fast paced technical markets advancements as well as our means to produce large quantities of product.

All SAPPHIRE ATI video boards are manufactured under 100% ATI production criteria including QC and outgoing system. Our monthly video board production capacity can reach a lofty 1.8 million and often topples this landmark figure. Our factory has always been the major manufacturer on ATI boards for most of the top ten tier 1 OEMs worldwide. With this background, you should undoubtedly be guaranteed of the impeccable quality, production capacity and product reliability of all ATI video boards and mainboards from SAPPHIRE. Be they business oriented or something just off center of the crosshairs, Sapphire has a solution for you and we look forward to an exciting and prosperous relationship with you!



This is the Ultimate retail box. What I find very interesting is the fact that the box doesn't mention anywhere that it is a completely silent, passively cooled card. You would think that would be one of the selling points of the card!



A bit strange is the fact that the card didn't come in an anti-static bag. I'm assuming that the card was a repacked one as Sapphire uses cards from other places for review. Even so, the card is fine without the bag protecting it. That warning is important as I forgot to plug the power in (by accident). Nothing bad really happens, though.


  • 666 million transistors on 55nm fabrication process
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
  • 256-bit GDDR4 memory interface
  • Ring Bus Memory Controller
  • Fully distributed design with 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads and writes
  • Microsoft┬« DirectX┬« 10.1 support
  • Shader Model 4.1
  • 32-bit floating point texture filtering
  • Indexed cube map arrays
  • Independent blend modes per render target
  • Pixel coverage sample masking
  • Read/write multi-sample surfaces with shaders
  • Gather4 texture fetching
  • Unified Superscalar Shader Architecture
  • 320 stream processing units
  • Dynamic load balancing and resource allocation for vertex, geometry, and pixel shaders
  • Common instruction set and texture unit access supported for all types of shaders
  • Dedicated branch execution units and texture address processors
  • 128-bit floating point precision for all operations
  • Command processor for reduced CPU overhead
  • Shader instruction and constant caches
  • Up to 80 texture fetches per clock cycle
  • Up to 128 textures per pixel
  • Fully associative multi-level texture cache design
  • DXTC and 3Dc+ texture compression
  • High resolution texture support (up to 8192 x 8192)
  • Fully associative texture Z/stencil cache designs
  • Double-sided hierarchical Z/stencil buffer
  • Early Z test, Re-Z, Z Range optimization, and Fast Z Clear
  • Lossless Z & stencil compression (up to 128:1)
  • Lossless color compression (up to 8:1)
  • 8 render targets (MRTs) with anti-aliasing support
  • Physics processing support

This card is a bit slower than the recently reviewed Toxic edition from the same company. For a passively cooled card, this is quite good. You probably won't notice the difference in speed, but will in noise.
members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2630m.jpg box.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2631m.jpg packaging.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2632m.jpg parts.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2633m.jpg cardtop.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2634m.jpg cardside.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2635m.jpg cardbottom.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2636m.jpg cardback.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2637m.jpg cardside2.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2638m.jpg cardfront.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2639m.jpg cardside3.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2640m.jpg hsheight.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/05/2641m.jpg clearance.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/06/07/2642m.png CCC members/attachments/upload/2008/06/07/2643.png spec.png


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