XFX 9800GTX+ Reviewccokeman -
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The 9800GTX+ is supposed to be the green camps answer to the ATI HD4850. In this endeavor it does not entirely succeed. When the performance numbers are put down on paper the HD4850 and 9800GTX+ each won 18 out of 36 benchmark tests for a 50/50 split or you guessed it a 50% win percentage. With the increased clock speeds on the GPU core(740) and shaders(1836) the performance is almost there, almost. The smaller 55nm process does not provide increased performance but what it is supposed to do is reduce manufacturing costs for the manufacturer and reduce operating expenses for the end user by reducing the power consumption. To that end the 9800GTX+ can be paired with a Hybrid power capable motherboard to further reduce the power consumed by your system by disabling the discrete video card(9800GTX+) during non demanding 2D graphics use and then ramp up the performance by re-enabling the card for that demanding frag fest. Initially offered with a price point of $229 dollars this has dropped to a current price of $159 dollars after rebate at a popular e-tailer. This puts the price squarely in the price/performance point that the red camp has been so effective at during this last round of the video card technology wars.
The price point for the XFX 9800GTX+ is nice and makes the three way SLI capability that much more attractive. Of course you need the prerequisite 780i or 790i chipset based motherboard to make this happen. Usually with a card that has a clock speed increase there seems to be less headroom. On the XFX 9800GTX+ I was able to squeeze out an additional 21MHz on the core but the shader clock and memory clock speeds were just a tad short of the XFX 9800GTX I tested back in April. Does that mean this card is not as good? Not at all! In fact the performance scaled quite nicely with the overclocking even rivaling the performance of the GTX260 and HD4870 at the lower resolutions. With an increase of the GPU clock speed of 123MHz, an increase in the shader clock of 235MHz and the 150MHz on the memory make this card a solid overclocker. Match this card with a 4GHz quad core CPU and watch it fly. Usually increasing the operating speeds results in an increase in the operating temperatures, not to the extremes that you would think from an air cooled card. By letting the driver automatically control the fan speed the maximum temperature I recorded was 66 degrees Celsius under load overclocked. When I manually set the fan speed to 100% (noisy but not terribly offensive) that took a dramatic drop to 51 degrees Celsius. With a smaller GPU core using the same cooling solution as the 65nm version of the card uses the effect is a reduction in operating temperatures. The 9800GTX+ does offer an increase in performance over the 9800GTX but the margin is not really huge enough to make you go out and buy this card if you already have a 9800GTX. If you are in the upgrade mode and want a mid range card that performs well and overclocks for even better performance you really cant go wrong with the $159 dollar price of admission.
- 55nm process
- Hybrid Power
- Three way SLI
- Not a huge boost in performance