Overall, the Asus EAH3850 X2 would be an excellent upgrade from a single Radeon HD3850, GeForce 9800GT, or any earlier midgrade video card. Looking at the numbers it outperforms the 8800GT, and is just below the performance level of the 8800GTS. Both are still around, though the GTS is getting harder to find, and prices on both range from just under $200 to just over $300. I also couldn't compare it to a Radeon HD 3870, but that card performs just below the 8800GT.
The factory overclocked 9800GTX definitely outperformed the 3850 X2, and it is safe to assume that the stock 9800GTX would too, but to a lesser extent. An Asus 9800GTX runs $340, exactly the same as the EAH3850 X2. The EAH9800GTX Top isn't on the market in the US yet, but it likely will cost a little under $400.
So, the question is: Is the EAH3850 X2 a value, considering you could get a "9" series GeForce card by the same brand for the exact same price that gives better performance? Or an "8" series GeForce card with equal performance for less?
I really don't think that you can look at it that way.
I personally consider the Asus EAH3850 X2 an "I gotta have one" item. You either "must" have a dual GPU video card, or not, and it really doesn't matter if you can get a slightly better performing card for the same price or less...you're not going to be happy unless you have a card with two GPUs. The only other choices are the 3870 X2, at around $400, and the 9800GTX2 runs between $500 and $600, so the EAH3850 X2 is an economy model of dual-GPU card. $60 bucks less than the 3870 X2 may not sound as significant until you consider a real fascination of the dual-GPU card.the ability to run 3 to 6 GPUs in Crossfire, CrossfireX, SLI, or Hybrid SLI. Which gives us the special pros, not for everyone, but for those that "gotta have one"...
ThinkComputers awards the ASUS EAH3850 X2 1GB Dual GPU Video Card a 10 out of 10 score.
- 10% to 75% FPS increase over a single-GPU HD 3850, depending on the application.
- Greater ability for AA on most applications, not to the level of an upper-end card, but much better than the single-GPU version.
- In my personal experience, much more satisfying to achieve multi-GPU than Crossfire.
- Performance increases on more applications than Crossfire.
- Cheaper than the 3870 X2.
- The capability of running four or even six GPUs at one time in Crossfire.
- Dual fans can be quiet, but can also be twice as loud as one fan, and fans are audible when under load.
- More expensive than a pair of Radeon HD 3850s.
- The coolness of owning a dual-GPU video card
- Even more coolness of running 3-6 GPUs