XFX 9800GTX Reviewccokeman - April 1, 2008
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So is the 9800GTX the next greatest thing since sliced bread? Yes and No! In 23 out of the 32 tests run, it outperformed the entire suite of cards tested. In 28 out of 32, it outperformed the 8800GTX that it is replacing; in two tests it equaled the performance and in two it outright lost. For a card that looks every bit like a hopped up 8800GTS (G92), the performance is an increase over the previous generation hardware. The only problem is that the 8800GTS is close on its heels or ahead of it in the benchmarking. In the tests that the 9800GTX placed second, in almost all it was to the 8800GTS. Seeing as how the 9800GTX is priced between $299 and $349, the 9800 series comes in at half of the G80 GTX card's price. So you have the fact that it's priced right, better performance for the most part (28 out of 32 tests) than the G80 8800GTX, so where can you go wrong? The overclocking headroom on the XFX 9800GTX is huge, 141MHz on the GPU core and 124 MHz on the memory make increasing the performance of the 9800 a simple task. The gains from overclocking the GTX this high are not fully realized until you increase the speed of the CPU by overclocking it. With a small overclock on the CPU to 2.8GHz, an additional 17 frames per second was realized on the Knights of the Sea benchmark. The noise level on the XFX 9800GTX is nearly silent with the fan speed set to be automatically controlled. I never heard it ramp up even with repeated looping of the benchmarking tests. Instead of automatically controlling the fan speed, there is the option to manually control it via the Nvidia Control Panel as well as with Riva Tuner 2.08. While monitoring the temperatures, the loaded temperature never went above 70 Celsius, so it appears the dual slot cooling solution does the job quietly and efficiently. Cool and Quiet is a good thing when you consider the Hi-Def capabilities of the 9 series GPUs. You really don't want to hear the fan spool up and down while in the quiet parts of a movie.
If one card won't give the performance you are after, how about two, or better yet three? Tri and Quad SLI (9800GX2 x 2) are now realities. In the Nvidia 9 series of graphics cards, the 9800GTX is the only one capable of running Tri-SLI at this time. The G80 8800GTX and Ultras have the ability to be used in a Tri-SLI setup. The correct motherboard is of course required for either generation to use this option. There is one more SLI option to consider, Hybrid SLI. Hybrid power is part of Nvidia's Hybrid SLI technology. This option is available for use as a power savings feature that allows an onboard graphics processor to do the low power 2D graphics work, but then allow the one, two or three discrete graphics cards to come online for that all night fragfest. The most important part is the Hybrid Power compatible motherboard.
The real bottom line is that the XFX 9800GTX is a step above the the 8800GTX. Not much of a step, but a step nonetheless. The world domination and massive performance increase that the G80 8800GTX offered over the preceding generation of video cards is not realized with the latest from Nvidia. This release is not just about raw performance, but about giving the whole package to the end user. Hybrid Power capabilities for the energy conscious, performance scaling with Tri-SLI, HDMI output for High Definition gaming or for that Hi-Def HTPC you are building. The XFX 9800GTX can meet just about any need there is for a graphics card. Play Hard!
- Massive Overclocking Headroom
- Overclocked Performance
- Tri SLI Capable
- HDMI Certified
- High Definition Gaming
- Hybrid SLI Capable