Asus EN9800 GTX Reviewccokeman - April 3, 2008
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Expectations are sometimes greater than reality. The expectation was that the 9800GTX would offer an incredible increase in performance just like the G80 8800GTX did almost two years ago. The reality is that while the EN9800GTX does offer an increase in performance over the 8800GTX, it does not offer the world domination type of increase in performance that its predecessor did. What it did do extremely well is overclock like there's no tommorow. 20% increases in the GPU and shader clock speeds, as well as a 12% increase in the memory speed. The bottom line on overclocking is that if you need more performance, it is quick and easy to go and get it. Just bump up the speeds and frag to your heart's content. When the G80 8800GTX came out, the prices were close to double the cost of the 9800GTX. The price of admission for this card is between $299 and $349, quite a difference for a just launched card. During the overclocked testing, I will usually let the fan speeds stay automatically controlled just to see how well the drivers control the cooling of the card. Under the auto control, the temps never rose over 70 degrees Celsius during the testing. With the fan manually set to 100%, the temperatures never rose above 58 degrees Celsius. What this shows is that under the auto control, the temps were very reasonable. Manual control will still be better for pushing the limits.
If just one card won't do, SLI is always an option to increase the video performance in the games you play. Not only is the EN9800GTX SLI capable, it is one of three video cards in Nvidia's lineup that can run Tri-SLI. The other capable cards are the 8800GTX and 8800Ultra. The Tri-SLI takes care of the hardcore gamer, but what about the person who wants the best of both worlds, low energy consumption and high performance when gaming? The 9800GTX has a feature called Hybrid power, and what it does is allow the onboard video to do the low power graphics work and then when intensive graphics performance is needed, the discrete video cards come online to add the additional performance. What this requires, of course, is a hybrid SLI capable motherboard with onboard graphics.
So where does the EN9800GTX fit on the Nvidia performance ladder? It is the highest performing, single GPU card in its arsenal. In a direct head-to-head against the G80 8800GTX, it outperformed the previous generation card in 29 out of 32 benchmarks. The fact is that the 9800GTX is faster by a large margin in some games and marginally faster in others. Faster is still faster in my book, regardless of the FPS difference. When the 8800GTX cards were introduced, the price tag for the highest level of performance was a tough pill to swallow at $600+. On the other hand, the EN9800 GTX is a steal at $299. An introductory price half of its predecessors, better performance in most instances, better HD capabilities, Tri-SLI capability, Hybrid SLI capable, all wrapped up in a single solution. What else could you want?
- Cooling Ability
- High Def Capabilities
- Tri SLI Capable
- Hybrid SLI Capable
- Quiet Cooling