Hopefully this post will help those of you who have 7-series or x1900s to determine whether upgrading to a 3850 512mb is worth it.
First of all, here's the card side by side with my old x1900xt 512mb. You can see how small the core is in comparison. Card length is identical. The memory cooling is a bit funky and I have some spare heatsinks to put on there but I figured I would just leave it for the moment. I also put the card straight under water with my mcw60 so I won't comment on the cooler.
All benchmarks were done with the AtiTrayTools slider at max quality. 6xAA and 16x AF is run on all benchmarks unless stated otherwise (ut3 has no AA in dx9 mode, 3dmark06 does 4xAA...etc) Unfortunately Crysis and DiRT were acting funky and I wasn't able to determine the problem (been having problems with these 2 ever since I had my x1900gt) so I'm not able to include them.
For all the tests my rig is setup as such:
-Q6600 @ 3.3ghz
-2gb Ballistix 920mhz
-XP Pro x64
-Cat 7.11 drivers from AMD/ATI site
Benchmarks and Games to be tested:
-Call of Duty 4
-Unreal Tournament 3
-3dmark06 GPU tests (sm2/sm3)
(fps except in 3dmark06)
ALL DONE AT 1280x1024
I'll allow everyone to draw their own conclusions...but personally I'm pleased with this upgrade as I saw a pretty significant performance jump from my x1900; and also after reselling my x1900 and purchasing the 3850 I was left with a net loss of 25 quid. Not bad. Obviously the 8800GT is a much better card, but it's also significantly more expensive.
-I noticed that once the memory was overclocked the heatspreader was burning hot to the touch, so I'll definitely throw on some ramsinks to keep the temps down.
-This is the first card I've ever seen that gives you a message while POSTing telling you that you don't have the PCI-E power plugged in.