The ATI Radeon HD 3870 doesn’t win the more complex 3DMark06 and even cannot outperform the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB. The ATI Radeon HD 3850 is more successful, beating the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB by as many as 656 points.
Both ATI Radeon HD 3800 models behaved predictably later: a rather modest result in the SM2.0 group of tests and a very good one in the SM3.0/HDR tests which are more favorable for the Radeon HD architecture. The senior model is a mere 100 points behind the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX in the latter case. The Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB is somewhat faster due to its more advanced memory subsystem with a 512-bit bus.
The ATI Radeon HD 3800 series has low results in the first test as it cannot match Nvidia’s solutions in terms of fill rate. It also feels a shortage of memory bandwidth as is indicated by the higher results of the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB. The RV670-based cards feel more confident in the second test although the senior model is inferior to its predecessor. There is no competition with Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 GT/GTX as the Radeons are over 20% behind.
The SM3.0/HDR tests are quite a different story: the ATI Radeon HD 3850 equals the performance of the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB, which is quite good for its price. The more advanced Radeon HD 3870 comes closer to the GeForce 8800 GT 512MB: the gap is 10% in the first test and 7-8% in the second test.