XFX 9800GT ReviewZertz -
Category: Video Cards
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The past year or so has been quite an exciting one in the video card industry. Exactly a year ago, nVidia released the G92 graphics processing unit, a die shrink of their flagship processor, G80. This one had held the performance crown for well over a year, but with ATI getting back on track they needed something cheaper to compete in the middle end segment. The 8800GT admirably accomplished this role back then. Fast forward to the end of this past summer, the green team ended up, once again, in the same situation - they needed something to counter the surprisingly affordable HD4850 as well as the newly released 4830 and it had to be rolled out quickly. The answer came in the form of the 9 series, which isn't much more than a bunch of rebadged GeForce 8 cards. Not a bad plan, it required very little engineering and has a good chance of success thanks to low prices. Fortunately, those cards weren't bad at all, in fact, they we're a pretty good value once prices settled.
The card sitting on the test bench today is the 9800GT coming from XFX, one of the main nVidia partner in America. This particular version is their vanilla version, with stock clocks going at 600 MHz for the core and the 512 megabytes of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1800 MHz. Those are the same speeds offered by the now defunct 8800GT so it will be interesting to see if a a new name as well as a possibly more mature manufacturing process will allow this unit to perform and overclock better. Enough speculation, let's see what we are dealing with and let the card show itself off.
With the 9800GT, XFX has stayed true to the GeForce 9 series logo on this card. Each and every member of its class has a unique design for the number 9. This representation has a bandolier of bullets feeding into a ton of various weapons on the front cover letting you know there is alot of firepower snugged inside that box. Additionally, the front cover reveals a core speed of 600MHz, the fact that this card is SLI capable, but not Tri-SLI as this is reserved to higher end cards, and that the full version of Assasin's Creed comes as part of the deal. The rear panel goes into detail on the features of this card as well as showing a render of the card.
The outer panels are really just a sleeve that fits over the inner box which holds the card and contents of the bundle nice and tight. True to form, the inner box proudly sports the colors of the green team and allows the beast to be seen through a window. Just a glimpse through it shows the rendering on the box is the real deal. The card is well packaged and protected, XFX isn't afraid to use plenty of thick foam. The benefits of having video cards well protected cannot be overstated since I have seen some damage here as of late on hardware that is not packaged this well. By the way, they offer a double lifetime warranty which means that, if you happen to sell the card, the second owner can rightly claim support.
The bundle of accessories hides into a side pocket of cardboard. This is where the game discs are found as well as the drivers, which were up to date when the card shipped. There's also a pair of DVI to VGA adaptors, a S-Video cable, a S-Video to component cable adaptor and, finally, a molex to PCI-E power connector which they recommend not to use. Lastly, XFX also added their famous do not disturb door hanger and a brief instruction manual.
Since we are, of course, within the rules of that scary warning, let's not wait any more and rip it off.