The other easily noticeable feature that separates the EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP from AMD’s reference design are the four DVI connectors on the back plate of the graphics card. We tested this feature out and it does indeed work, but there are a couple of caveats that you need to keep in mind.
For starters, DVI #3 or DVI #4 must be connected in order to get a video signal. We recommend you use DVI #4. DVI #4 is located on the bottom right corner of the card’s backplate, resting directly to the right of the yellow DVI connector. When the ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP card is housed inside the PCI Express graphics slot, the fourth DVI is the DVI connector located closest to the motherboard. If you hook your monitor up to one of the secondary DVI connections (DVI numbers 1 or 2), you won’t get a video signal when booting up your system. We’re defining the secondary connectors as the two DVIs located above DVI #4 (and the yellow DVI connector) on the ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP.
So why is the other DVI connector yellow? This is where you HDTV owners will use the HDMI adapter included with the ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP card to hook up your HDTV if you wish to use HDMI. This connector doesn’t support dual-link operation however; it’s a single-link DVI output. Those of you with 30” flat panels should primarily rely on the fourth DVI connection located closest to the motherboard that we mentioned previously.
One neat trick that AMD has added to CrossFire recently is the ability to run multiple monitors with CrossFire. Previously neither SLI nor CrossFire supported multi-monitor.
With multi-monitor support, you can now run two displays simultaneously on the ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP or the AMD Radeon HD 3870 X2. Before, you’d have to disable CrossFire every time you wanted to run two monitors.
CrossFire doesn’t natively support four monitors though. So if you plan to hook up four monitors to the ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP, you’ll have to disable CrossFire in the Catalyst Control Center control panel. Then, when you’re ready to game, don’t forget to re-enable CrossFire. Once CrossFire is turned on, the two monitors connected to your secondary DVIs will automatically be disabled.
One final point about the displays we should mention is that we couldn’t run a CRT monitor (connected via DVI adapter) off the secondary DVIs. We had to use the primary pair of DVI outputs in order for the CRT to operate. We also ran into problems mixing the CRT with more than one LCD.
The bottom line is we recommend sticking to DVIs if you plan on using all the displays on the EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP.
ASUS bundles the card with a copy of the DX10 game Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. The follow-up to the hit WW2 RTS game Company of Heroes, Opposing Fronts was released last year to positive reviews and is a $30 value. Also included with the card are two DVI adapters, an HDMI adapter, CrossFire cable, power cable, and component video cable. ASUS also includes a leather CD wallet with the card which you can use to organize your games.