Sufficiently pricey to have some serious hardware but affordable enough to tempt most users, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 Pro provides enough performance to rip through some of today’s games titles.

We spend a lot of our time talking about exciting but expensive graphics cards, but mainstream gamers often have to content themselves with something less ambitious.

Mid-2007 saw the launch of a slew of affordable graphics cards – the Radeon 2600s and GeForce 8600s, for instance. Sadly, these cards weren’t up to much. There weren’t really any DirectX 10.0 games around to put them through their paces, and we remain sceptical about their future potential – cheap isn’t always a bargain.

The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 Pro, though, is another matter.

Sufficiently pricey to have some serious hardware but affordable enough to tempt most users, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 Pro provides enough performance to rip through some of today’s games titles. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t stretch your budget a little more if you can afford it, but if your budget is close to the £100 mark, this card offers plenty.

Like the 3870, the Sufficiently pricey to have some serious hardware but affordable enough to tempt most users, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 Pro provides enough performance to rip through some of today’s games titles. offers support for DirectX 10.0 and the enhanced 10.1 version – due to be released in the new year.

There’s no way to know how significant this will be – we don’t think DirectX 10.1 will be a deal-breaker, but its support for a few advanced graphics techniques such as cube map arrays and pixel coverage masks may give the Radeon a slight edge. Add the exciting unified video decoder (UVD) and it’s clear that this card will work beautifully with games and high-definition (HD) video.

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 Pro: Specs

  • 256MB GDDR3 RAM
  • core clock 670MHz
  • memory clock 830MHz
  • 320 stream processors
  • PCI-E
  • Direct X 10.x
  • 256MB GDDR3 RAM
  • core clock 670MHz
  • memory clock 830MHz
  • 320 stream processors
  • PCI-E
  • Direct X 10.x

OUR VERDICT

The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 Pro’s gaming performance speaks for itself. While not of the calibre of the £150+ cards, this is an impressive graphics card and should be a considerable success.

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