AMD launched its new Radeon HD 3850 and 3870 graphics cards yesterday, finally delivering compelling DirectX 10 products in the $150-250 price range. Both cards became available yesterday as promised, but either high demand, low supply, or a combination of both led to the Radeon HD 3870 going out of stock at most e-tailers within a matter of hours. However, the Radeon HD 3850 didn't meet the same fate. It's still available both in plentiful numbers and at AMD's suggested retail price of $179, so that's the card we've picked for our deal post today.
Newegg currently has the following Radeon HD 3850s in stock:
All four cards are offered with the exact same $179 price tag. They all have the same specifications, the same listed warranty length, and Newegg charges the same $5.84 for shipping on all but the Diamond card (that one has a $6.61 shipping fee for some reason.)
Considering the similarities, we'd be hard pressed to recommend one of the cards over the others. What we can tell you, however, is that the Radeon HD 3850 is easily the fastest card in the sub-$200 arena today. Its 256MB memory size may present a disadvantage in some games and with high resolutions and image quality settings, but until Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT 256MB rolls around (and that may not be for a while, considering the apparently tight supply of G92 graphics chips), this is the card to get in that price range. The 3850's low power consumption and quiet cooler make it all the more enticing.