So... I drive by my local FedEx this evening in a severe thunderstorm, wait for the last driver to return from her route with my package on her truck, have the nice ladies at the counter keep the place open an extra 15 minutes while I wait... and pick up my new Radeon HD3870X2 from Newegg. I then drive home through the torrential rain, carry the slightly-sodden box indoors, and prepare to install the new graphics card in my PC.
I switched off my power supply, loosened the thumbscrews on the Antec P160 case, and yanked out my old graphics card. Here's a shot of the new one with the old one:http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... G_1864.jpg
The first observation is that it's pretty big, but not enormous. I've owned Voodoo5-5500 cards in the past. What the image doesn't show you is that this card and cooler are quite heavy. I'd guess that the Radeon HD3870X2 is about four times as heavy as the Radeon X1950Pro 512MB pictured with it.
I removed the slot cover adjacent to my PCIe X16 slot and checked the length of the Radeon HD3870X2 against the available space. It fit very nicely with just enough room between the end of the card and the hard-drive cage for a couple of cables that were routed there.
When I inserted the Radeon HD3870X2 into the PCIe X16 slot, I discovered that the cooler hit the SATA cables plugged into ports 2 and 1 on the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum motherboard. I suppose that right-angle SATA cables might work, but I just moved my RAID drives from SATA 2 and 1 to SATA 4 and 3. No problem. My storage drive is plugged into one of the four additional SATA ports off of the SII controller, so I only use two of the four NVidia ports. With the SATA connectors out of the way, the new PCIe card seated in the slot as it should. The tiny MSI northbridge cooler is flat enough to fit under the graphics card cooler. I plugged in two 6-pin PCIe power connectors from the SeaSonic S12-600 power supply to the graphics card and a dual-link DVI cable for the UltraSharp 3007WFP into one of the Radeon HD3870X2's outputs.
I checked clearances again, switched on the power supply, and pressed the power button. All of the fans turned up normally. Three red LEDs on the end of the graphics card blinked once. One LED blinked a second time. There was no video on the monitor.
I tried all possible different combinations of power connections, output ports and two monitors, but I never could get a picture out of it. Plugging in PCIe power to just the connector closer to the center of the HD3870X2 causes the fan to cycle from slow to fast as the red LEDs flash, but there never was any video. Either the brand-new Radeon HD3870X2 card is DOA or else it is incompatible with the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum motherboard. I thought to try it with a DFI RS482 Infinity motherboard, but the Radeon HD3870X2 is about one inch too long to fit into the tiny ASUS TM-210 case that houses my second PC. Sigh.