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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 orks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Monday, 07 April 2008 13:56

Gainward 9800 GTX is a great performer

Written by Sanjin Rados

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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. 

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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.

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Although, specification-wise, the card’s core resembles 8800 GTS’s core, the PCB and the cooler on 9800 GTX are definitely different.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The photo above is a comparison with 8800 GTS, and you can clearly see that GTX is larger and looks somewhat mightier.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Za testiranje smo koristili:

Motherboard:
EVGA 680i SLI (Supplied by EVGA)

Processor:
Intel Core 2 Duo 6800 Extreme edition (Supplied by Intel)

Memory:
OCZ FlexXLC PC2 9200 5-5-5-18  (Supplied by OCZ)
        during testing CL5-5-5-15-CR2T 1066MHz at 2.2V

PSU:
OCZ Silencer 750 Quad Black ( Supplied by OCZ)

Hard disk:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 80GB SATA (Supplied by Seagate)

CPU-Cooler:
Freezer 7 Pro (Supplied by Artic Cooling)

Case Fans:
Artic Cooling - Artic Fan 12 PWM
Artic Cooling - Artic Fan 8 PWM

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Futuremarks


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In 3DMark 06, the card scores 12381 points, which is the best single GPU result. It slightly outperforms 8800 Ultra, but 8% slower than Radeon HD 3870 X2.

The card runs at 675MHz, but we managed to overclock it to 808MHz. It ran stable and it seems that a little additional effort might result in an even higher overclock. However, since we were running on a tight schedule, we settled for and were quite happy with this result.

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A 19% overclock brought about a score increase of 4,5% in 3DMark06 (12936 points). Gaming makes even better use of the additional muscle.

Gaming

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Gainward 9800 GTX handles Radeon HD 3870 X2 quite well. Only at the highest tested resolution did it lose, and only by 6%. At 1600x1200 resolution with AA, HD 3870 X2 and 9800 GTX ran on par, and it’s really a good result since HD3870 X2 costs some €50 more. Additional overclocking propels Gainward Bliss 9800 GTX to second place, where results increased up to 18%, but that still wasn’t enough to jeopardize 9800 GX2’s position.

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In World in Conflict, the card fares well, but Radeon HD 3870 X2 is better by up to 15%. It seems that resemblance to 8800 GTS is in effect, because GTX’s faster memory doesn’t do the trick, and the results are almost identical.

Muscle-hungry Crysis, sees GTX outperforming 8800 GTS by 5.7%-7.7%. After overclocking GTX soars and the performance difference ends up being up to 30%.

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F.E.A.R. really likes Radeon X2 and GTX simply couldn’t perform on par. Compared to 8800 GTS, Gainward’s 9800 GTX performs better by 7%, whereas overclocking results in up to 21% better performance.

In HL2 Episode Two, Gainward 9800 GTS outperforms 8800 GTS by up to 7%, but after overclocking it even beats 8800 Ultra. It easily handles Radoen HD 3870 X2.

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Conclusion

Geforce 9800 GTX card is one of the fastest cards built so far. Its performance is top notch and will satisfy the needs of most hardcore gamers. We found it in virtually any shop we visited, and it’ll set you back around €250. At this price, you’re buying a Tri-SLI ready card, so if you ever find yourself lacking in FPS, you can upgrade your system – twice.

Gainward Bliss 9800GTX-512–TV–Dual DVI runs at reference speeds, but that’s not an issue since it’s a good overclocker. The design is still reference, and you’ll need a PSU with two 6-pin PCIe cables to power it. The fan is a bit louder during 3D performance, but it’s still not too loud. The card is excellent for gaming, but it doesn’t lack multimedia support since HDMI with HDCP is a part of the 9800 GTX offer.

Anyone craving for an Nvidia’s card that incorporates all the best that Nvidia offers, Gainward Bliss 9800 GTX is a good choice.



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Last modified on Monday, 07 April 2008 17:37
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