As opposed to 3DMark05, the performance benefits of the ASUS cards are visible in 3DMark06 right from the start. The senior model is a mere 169 points behind the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB. The junior model is ahead of the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 256MB and scores over 10,000 points.
The SM2.0 tests suggest that the Radeon HD 3850 benefits more than the Radeon HD 3870 from overclocking. The performance of the ASUS EAH3870 TOP in the SM3.0/HDR is noteworthy: it overcomes the 5,000 points mark and leaves the more expensive GeForce 8800 GT 512MB behind. Once again we can see that the ATI Radeon HD architecture is perfectly suited to intensive math1ematics-heavy work and can deliver better performance, with appropriate driver optimizations, than G80/G92-based solutions.
The ASUS cards and the reference ATI Radeon HD 3870/3850 can boast nothing in the first SM2.0 test, which is just what you could expect considering their 16 TMUs. The second test is not such a failure, though, with the ASUS EAH3870 TOP slightly outperforming the GeForce 8800 GT 256MB. The ASUS EAH3850 TOP is only 10% slower than the latter, which is a much smaller gap than in the first test.
The ASUS EAH3870 TOP is a mere 4-5% behind the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB in the first SM3.0/HDR test, which is a very good thing for it. In the same test the ASUS EAH3850 TOP is 15% faster than the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 256MB. The second test shows the same picture, proving the efficiency of the ATI Radeon HD architecture at processing complex shaders again.