ATI 3870 Inquiries

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ungraphic, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. ungraphic macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Alright, here goes:

    1) Seeing how there are quite a few people reporting problems with the card, how is ATI in terms of warranty? Are they reliable? Suppose I buy the card but its got issues and I need a new one, what happens then?

    2a) The card would obiously go into the first slot x16 lanes to boot into windows and OS X. Is it possible to add an additional non OS X compatible radeon of equal or greater calibre into the second slot and still have OS X boot, while having crossfire capabilities in Windows?

    2b) Has there been any success flashing PC based 3870s, or others, to work in OS X for above mentioned solution?

    3) Does anyone know how the card performs on its own in Half Life 2 episode 2 on a 2.66ghz Mac Pro 2006 edition at 1920x1200 resolution? This is the main game ive been dying to play and i dont want my experience to be teh suck.

    4) Is there any overclocking utility available for the 3870?

    5) Will this card be good for Snow Leopards 'OpenCL' ? I'd like to tap into my video cards power for a better OS X experience, this is kind of important to me, I'm a graphic designer / photographer.

    Thanks a bunch!!!!
  2. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    I had a 3870 card (Mac + PC edition) that I've RMA'd with ATI and am currently waiting for a replacement. But I can answer some of your questions based on my experiences with it.

    1) The box says the card has a 1 year warranty. I was able to RMA mine because I was still within the 30 day return window with ATI.

    2a) This I'm wondering myself. I posted a similar thread earlier.

    2b) Not that I'm aware of. Something about the card having a 128 KB flash ROM and PC versions only having 64 KB ROM sizes.

    3) I tried the Half Life 2 Lost Coast tech demo from Steam, and it was really smooth at 1920 x 1200, with everything on high.

    4) You can overclock the card in Windows through the ATI Catalyst Control Center (download the Catalyst drivers from ATI's site). Don't think you can overclock in OS X though.

    5) No one really knows until Apple says so. :)
  3. darthraige macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2007
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    Another question to add...

    One other question I have with this card is, has anyone successfully used a DVI to Component cable to go from the card to a TV? I have been able to do it with straight up DVI to DVI, but can't get it to work with DVI to Component. What's odd is that the specs of this card say it's possible as shown below...

    Integrated AMD Xilleon™ HDTV encoder
    Provides high quality analog TV output (component/S-video/composite)

    Is the Integrated AMD Xilleon HDTV encoder included, or is that a separate plugin I need for the MacPro?
  4. ungraphic thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Smooth as in 75+ FPS or like 40 FPS?

    Do you know how much the card can be overclocked? Would overclocking give 5-10% performance boost?
  5. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    I don't know the exact frame rate, but I can say that there was no choppiness whatsoever.

    The Catalyst Control Center has an auto tune feature that overclocks in increments until it finds the highest stable overclock. I think I was able to get about a 100 MHz overclock in core clock and a similar speed bump in the RAM. But I'm not sure if that would have made a noticeable difference in performance, because I never tried a game after overclocking; I only tried it to see how far it would go. You could check some sites like or to look for ATI 3870 reviews in Windows. Those sites typically test graphics cards overclocked as well as stock.
  6. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    I don't know how the 3870 performs here but even the X1900 XT runs Episode 2 pretty decently at max settings and 1920x1200. Not totally "smoothly" maybe, but at least 20-30 FPS. So I'd be surprised if the 3870 didn't run it at 60+.
  7. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008

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