Review: The new 9800 GTX is a beast
On 8th of April, Nvidia gave their partners a green light on selling overclocked Geforce 9800 GTX cards. Hours later, we already have received a bunch of links to various 9800 GTX cards running at speeds higher than reference 675MHz. If you’re keeping up with the latest equipment, you should already know that 9800 GTX is a good overclocker and that pushing it up to 800MHz, and even further, is a piece of cake. We will demonstrate that with some help from our XFX 9800 GTX card.
Geforce 9800 GTX is the latest card on the market and just like 8800 GTS 512MB it’s based on G92 GPU, built by TSMC in 65nm process and packing 754 million transistors. G92 in its new iteration underwent some minor changes and the only difference between these mentioned cards is 9800 GTX’s higher speeds, Tri-SLI and HybridPower support.
Geforce 9800 GTX is here to replace 8800 GTX, but also fill the gap between 8800 GTS 512 and 9800 GX2. 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 9800 GX2. GX2 card is also based on G92 GPU, or two of them to be more precise, and it’s the same GPU found on 8800 GTS 512MB card.
Geforce 9800 GTX GPU has 128 Shader units, 64 texsture units and 16 ROP’s (4 ROP partitions with 4 ROPs each). Since each ROP partition is linked to its own 64bit memory controller, 9800GTX’s GPU can rely on using the standard 256-bit memory interface.
9800 GTX card’s core runs at 675MHz, only 25MHz more than on 8800 GTS card. Stream processor speeds (1675MHz) aren’t much higher than on 8800 GTS (1625MHz). These numbers would make us think it’s not a big speed increase over 8800 GTS 512MB card. However, 512MB of memory got a significant speed boost to 1100MHz (2200MHz effectively) which is 130MHz more than 8800 GTS 512’s 970MHz.
Just like the rest of GTX pack, this card is Tri-SLI and Hybrid Power ready, and while it will handle multimedia quite well, gaming is this card’s trade.
XFX kept the reference design, and the only difference I XFX’s stickers on the cooler. The cooler is dual slot, it looks sleek and stylish and the working temperature was around 74 °C.
Suggested price is between US$299-349, whereas Europeans are looking at somewhere around €260 for XFX card. The card is 10.5’’ long, similar to 8800 GTX, 8800 Ultra or 9800 GX2 cards.
Although, specification-wise, 9800 GTX’s core resembles 8800 GTS’s core, its PCB and cooler are most certainly different.
Eight memory chips surround the core and they’re well cooled since they touch the cooler’s aluminum base. The prints in the white paste suggest that the VRM is also taken care of. Hot air is pushed out through the free bracket of this dual slot cooler.
The card packs 512MB of GDDR3 memory with 256-bit memory interface. The memory in use is the fastest GDDR3 around (0.8 ns, 1200MHz – 2400MHz effectively) and that’s Samsung’s K4J52324QE-BJ08. However, on this card it runs at 1100MHz, and that means there’s a lot of overclocking potential.
For your HDMI+HDCP+Audio XFX includes an HDMI adapter in the box. In order to have HDMI with audio, you’ll have to do an already common routine where you connect your motherboard/soundcard’s SPDIF out to your graphics card, using a cable also supplied in the box. Apart from the DVI outs, you also get 1x 7-pin HDTV output.
There are two SLI connectors, something not seen on the rest of 9th generation cards. These two SLI connectors on 9800 GTX mean that this card is Tri SLI ready. However, that’s not all, as this card is also Hybrid-SLI ready.
You should know that Hybrid-SLI features Hybrid Power and Geforce Boost, and while Geforce Boost is for low-end graphics cards, 9800 GTX supports Hybrid Power.
Nvidia chipset’s integrated graphics will handle 2D, less demanding 3D and HD video content viewing until the need for your discrete GPU arises. This will save you precious digits on your power bill, without sacrificing your rig’s everyday performance.
Geforce 9800 GTX is powered through two 6-pin PCIe connectors placed on the upper (longer) side of the card, and will draw maximum 156W.
XFX made nice packaging for their 9800 GTX, and this time we see a futuristic creation shaped like the number 9. With the card, you get Company of Heroes (a DirectX 10 game).