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XFX 9800GX2 Review

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In 18 out of 32 tests run, the 9800GX2 comes out on top, beating the HD3870X2 head to head. In some of tests by a wide margin, while in others it just squeaked by. The bonus with this card is the fact that it overclocks like there's no tomorrow. Increases in clock speeds well into the triple digits is pretty astounding. Nvidia and XFX have left some additional headroom for the enthusiast to play with to go for those graphics world records. Performance of the 9800GX2 in single card mode was about par for the standard 8800GT. The only thing to note is that the intial driver release did not automatically enable SLI mode on this card. As it turns out, the intial driver release was just horrible, no stability and crash after crash occurred. Some of the benchmarks could not even be completed, the driver was so bad. After a new driver was sent from Nvidia, the tables were turned on the stability and benchmark scoring. No more crashes is good!

The stock cooling is barely audible in a quiet room. It does ramp up a little, but not enough to be heard in a closed case. Something to appreciate when the 9800GX2 is used in an HTPC. Why would you do that with the gaming performance of the card? Well let me 'splain it Lucy. Imagine Call of Duty 4 gaming in Hi-Def on that brand new 60 inch plasma 1080i television via the HDMI output, as well as watching all of your favorite movies in Hi-Definition to boot! Starts to clear it up a little doesn't it? Having two GX2s in SLI would offer just amazing performance. Whenever a new technology becomes available, the early adopters usually take the price hit to get the latest and greatest. At an MSRP of $649.99, the early adopters will bear the initial hurt but getting closer to availability at retailers (e-tailers) the price will be dropping closer to a $619.99 price point. Unfortunately, that is more than two 8800GTs, which offer slightly better performance in SLI mode. Power wise, this card does use more juice than an overclocked 8800GT SLI combo. I watched my Kilowatt meter and while running a decent overclock on the system, as well as the 9800GX2, the system pulled 54 more watts from the mains. A pretty substantial increase if I must say so myself. The GX2, as you can imagine, puts out quite a bit of heat. It may be that it is more concentrated because of the metal surround on the card, but the discharge temperatures are quite warm, hitting 55 Celsius.

Despite some of the negatives, the XFX9800GX2 is a performer. It does what it was intended to do, go after its competition and come out on top. The thought of Hi-Defintion gaming on the big screen is quite appealing as I go check the balance on my credit cards!




  • Performs Better Than 8800GT SLI on Some Games
  • Massive Overclocking Headroom
  • Overclocked Performance
  • Quiet
  • SLI Capable
  • HDMI Certified
  • High Definition Gaming
  • Double Lifetime Protection



  • Power Usage
  • Heat 
  • Price


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