Palit 9800GX2 Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
Price: $299-$559 USD
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Someone once said that having two of something is usually better than one. I can't really remember who, but it sticks in my head to this day. Maybe it was during one of those long talks that generally are there just to pass the time and not have much in the way of meaningful conversation. In this case, the "two of something" would be the dual G92 GPUs on the 9800GX2 from Palit. What if you wanted to run in SLI mode but the motherboard you have does not support SLI, nor do you have the option of Crossfire because of the fact your motherboard has only one 16x PCIe slot. Of course there is the option of purchasing a new motherboard, but the funds are there for one and only one item. The 9800GX2 is a valid solution to this problem. It features two graphics processor cores mounted on two separate boards that interconnect and are output through just a single PCIe 16x interface. This card is your perfect solution... SLI performance in a single package. Some say the pricing of such a card when compared to the cost of two discrete video cards does not make a wise decision. In reality, the pricing does (kind of) equal out to the equivalent of two G92 based 8800 GTS video cards.
The Palit 9800GX2 features 256 stream processors (128x2) which is 16 more than the king of the hill GTX280's 240. The GPU core clock speed is set at 600MHz with the 1 gigabyte of GDDR3 memory (512MB x2) clocked to 1000MHz. Sporting those kinds of credentials, the 9800GX2 should provide some stout competition for the GTX280. With the recent price drops by Nvidia on the GT200 series of video cards, is the performance of the 9800GX2 still high enough to compete with a card that is priced in the same $450 range or has the X2 outlived its usefulness. Lets take a look and find out.
The front of the retail packaging includes the product description showing that this is part of the Palit/Nvidia 9 series lineup. Over the traditional Nvidia green is the image of the Frobot (Frog/Robot) Kind of an interesting combination but he looks ready for war. The front also includes some of the specifications of the 9800GX2 such as PCIe 2.0 support, Dual link DVI and HDMI capabilities, 1GB of memory and the inclusion of the game "Tomb Raider Anniversary". The rear panel lists basic technical specifications in twelve different languages. As one of Nvidias larger partners in the "Global" market, this is a necessity. Our buddy the Frobot is again highlighted on the side panel along with a Vista certification.
Opening the package up leads to a nondescript white box and cardboard surround. Not to much to get excited about there. Under the box containing the Palit 9800GX2, you will find the bundled accessories. Included are a quick start/installation guide, the driver disk, Tomb Raider Anniversary game, a DVI to D-sub adapter and the HDMI sound input cable. Not a big bundle but what is there is useful.
Enough with the small talk lets look at the 9800GX2 and see what it has to offer.