Review: And a great overclocker
Geforce 9800 GTX is a third card from Nvidia's 9th generation offer, and it’s based on G92 GPU. Specification-wise, it resembles Geforce 8800 GTS, mostly due to the same G92 chip that has undergone very few changes in this iteration. The name, GTX, suggests it’s a high-end card that should outperform 8800 GTS, but you should know that the new GTX is significantly slower than Geforce 9800 GX2.
A couple of days ago, we wrote a short preview of Gainward 9800 GTX, and we tried to show its overclocking potential. We easily overclocked it by 19%, so we’re curious as to why Nvidia didn’t opt for higher reference speeds. Geforce 9800 GTX core runs at 675MHz, Shaders at 1688MHz and the memory that got the highest boost, runs at 1100MHz.
Gainward Bliss 9800GTX-512-TV-DUAL DVI is TriSLI and Hybrid Power ready, it’s good for multimedia, but it excels in gaming.
Nvidia’s suggested price is somewhere between $299-349, whereas in Europe, you’ll have to splash out around €250. The card is 10.5’’ long, much like 8800 GTX, 8800 Ultra or 9800 GX2.
Although, specification-wise, the card’s core resembles 8800 GTS’s core, the PCB and the cooler on 9800 GTX are definitely different.
The card is longer, and the cooler’s lines are more curved. Just like Ultra, it’s powered by two 6-pin PCIe connectors placed on the upper (longer) side of the card, and it’ll draw 156W maximum, whereas Ultra will reach up to 175W.
The plastic hood covering the card deasn’t feature any larger air vents, only two smaller ones on the end of the card. Hot air, built up on the card’s VRM, exits through those vents.
The cooler is dual-slot, looks nice and stylish because the PCB is under the cooler. Still, this might have not been the best solution, because the card heats up somewhat more, so the fan runs faster as well, and we could hear it quite well in 3D apps. It’s not too loud, but we’d rather have the working temperature exceed 74°C and the cooler being quieter while gaming.
Eight memory chips form a semicircle around the core. All touch the cooler’s metal base, and the prints in white paste reveal that the VRM is covered well. Hot air is blown out through the free bracket of this dual slot cooler, next to the DVI out.
The card packs 512MB of GDDR3 memory, and uses 256bit memory interface. The card uses Samsung’s K4J52324QE-BJ08 chips, and it’s currently the fastest GDDR3 memory on the market (0.8ns, that adds up to 1200MHz – 2400MHz effectively). Since the memory runs at 1100MHz, there’s plenty of room for overclocking.
The photo above is a comparison with 8800 GTS, and you can clearly see that GTX is larger and looks somewhat mightier.
I/O panel features two dual link DVI outs, whereas HDMI+HDCP+Audio are supported through the HDMI adapter included in the box. In order to get audio with HDMI, you must connect your soundcard’s/motherboard’s SPDIF out to the graphics card using a cable also included in the box. There’s also a 7-pin analog video-out port that enables S-Video Plus Composite and Component (YPrPb) through optional dongle.
A glance at 9800 GTS’s SLI connectors suggests that there are two of these, and that’s the prerequisite for Tri-SLI setup. Besides Tri-SLI, this card is also HybridSLI ready. Two HybridSLI properties are HybridPower and Geforce Boost. While Geforce Boost is exclusive to low-end graphics cards, HybridPower is supported by 9800GTX.
HybridPower technology is a new thing that we’ve already seen in action, and we really like it, since it lets the card power down when power hungry 3D apps are not used.
This can save you a lot of power, and the first slide shows the state when the discrete graphics card is powered down. When you don’t need your discrete GPU, the chipset’s integrated graphics will do the job, and not only does it consume far less energy but it can handle less power hungry 3D, 2D and viewing HD video content.
Gainward uses their standard packaging, and in the box you get Tomb Raider Anniversary edition.