NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX Round-Up: BFG, EVGA, Zogis - HotHardware

NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX Round-Up: BFG, EVGA, Zogis

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NVIDIA's onslaught of new graphics cards based on the company's G92 graphics processor continues today with the introduction of the GeForce 9800 GTX.  As its name suggests, the GeForce 9800 GTX is the successor to the wildly popular and unusually long-lived GeForce 8800 GTX.

We're sure you all know by now that the GeForce 8800 GTX was introduced in November of 2006 and sat unrivaled at the top of the 3D graphics food chain until the 8800 Ultra was released, which was essentially the same card with a different cooler and higher clock speeds.  From an enthusiast's standpoint, the GeForce 8800 GTX must be looked at as nothing but an overwhelming success.  Regardless of the actual sales figures (which are actually very good), the 8800 GTX's performance alone was so strong, that even 18-months later, chief rival ATI has yet to release a single-GPU as fast as the 8800 GTX.  An enthusiast who bought one way back in November 2006, still has one of the most powerful graphics cards available today.

 
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX


With the GeForce 8800 GTX's excellent pedigree, the new GeForce 9800 GTX certainly has some pretty big shoes to fill.  Its name alone will make many users assume the GeForce 9800 GTX is NVIDIA's new flagship single GPU powered graphics card.  And technically it is.  But we all know what happens when people assume...

Don't sweat it though.  There's no need to make any assumptions.  We've got a trio of GeForce 9800 GTX cards in-house from NVIDIA's partners BFG, EVGA, and Zogis and have put them through the wringer with some of today's more popular games running at XHD resolutions.  By the end of the article, we'll know for sure whether or not the new GeForce 9800 GTX is worthy of its lofty name.  For now though, let's see what the GeForce 9800 GTX is made of.

 


As you can see, on some levels the GeForce 9800 GTX is very similar to the GeForce 8800 GTX.  They both have a 10.5" PCB and are equipped with 128 stream processor cores and dual 6-pin PCI Express power connectors.  As we've already mentioned though, the GeForce 9800 GTX is based on the newer 65nm G92 GPU, as opposed to the 90nm G80.  As such, the 9800 GTX is outfitted with only a 256-bit memory interface and a 512MB frame buffer.  If you recall, the 8800 GTX has a 384-bit interface with a 768MB frame buffer.  The 9800 GTX somewhat makes up for this through the use of faster 1.1GHz memory (2.2GHz) effective, that results in over 70GB/s of peak memory bandwidth, but it doesn't quite match the 8800 GTX in this department.



             


According to NVIDIA's reference specifications, the GeForce 9800 GTX calls for a 675MHz core GPU clock, with 1.68GHz shader cores, and the aforementioned 1.1GHz memory.  Cards are equipped with a sleek dual-slot cooler with a variable speed fan, dual dual-link DVI outputs, and an HDTV output.  We should also note that like the GeForce 9800 GX2, the 9800 GTX has an S/PDIF audio input as well, for funneling audio into the graphics card and out of an HDMI adapter.

Unlike the older GTX, the 9800 GTX has full support for NVIDIA's PureVideo HD video engine, which is a clear advantage for the new card.  And the GeForce 9800 GTX also has dual SLI-edge connectors which give the card the ability to support 2- and 3-way SLI configurations.  The GeForce 9800 GTX also supports Hybrid SLI's Hybrid Power feature, which will allow the card to shut down completely to save power when used in conjunction with a compatible IGP.  Essentially, the GeForce 9800 GTX is an amalgam of the GeForce 8800 GTX / Ultra and new GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, with some increased frequencies and a few more features.

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Oh, really?  I'm not impressed at all.  The price is reasonable, since they are a little more powerful than 8800 GTS 512mbs, but only a little.  And even the 8800GTX performs almost as fast.  Have Nvidia hit the wall?  I don't think Nvidia has ever had a case where it's not worth it to upgrade from one x800 series to the next y800 series.  But here you have it.  You might even lose a few frames in some games.  Nvida, wtf?  I know the Radeon 2900 and 3870 perform similar too, but I think most of us knew it was a revision.  This is the top GPU from 2008, but it still isn't faster than something from 2006?  Multiple GPUs are the future now, I guess.

I really can't recommend these.  Bah. 

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Even though it is the best single GPU solution, i'm still not impressed... only benchmark where the 9800 GTX appeared to be a real advantage was power.

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I have to agree, I am not impressed. Sure Nvidia added some features the 8800 was lacking, but the performance is virtually unchanged. I hope they are planning on releasing something in the near future that kicks it up a notch. This would be more appropriately named the 8800 Ultimate Deluxe Edition or something along those lines, rather than 9800GTX.

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I see what you all mean, any why no one is terribly "impressed", but the 9800 GTX is still a nice card. If you already own a 8800 GTS 512MB/GT or 8800 GTX/Ultra, then of course the 9800 GTX is less appealing. But for anyone else with a mid-range card, or previous generation product, the 9800 GTX would make a nice upgrade. And its tough to complain when the fastest single-GPU card available debuts at $329. This thing is going to be sub-$300 before you know it.

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I'm with all of you on this..

C'mon a Year and a Half is alot of time in the Computer Era... Technology evolves super fast, Computer Technology gets obsolete ridiculously fast//

Ok they made a Great GPU in 2006, but in my way of seeing things that doesn't mean they don't need to make another Great GPU almost 2 years later..

It reminds me of AMD being the King a couple of years ago with their Athlon 64s.. Beating every single P4.. and BANG.. Core 2 came out and what happened?

Maybe it's time for AMD/ATI to kick in and bring a killer GPU...

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Chris and Badboy, the 8800 series has only been out for 15 months, not nearly 2 years, just over a year. The ENTIRE time, AMD/ATI hasnt been able to deliver a damn thing to even be on par with what Nvida has. Why would nvidia want to drive a few more nails in the coffin for AMD/ATI when they can sit there, and make lots of money off of their current stuff and tweak on it a bit while giving their R&D guys more time to make some even better stuff and have more time to perfect their products. This also lets ATI kinda catch up which they need to do so they can push nvidia to have to make a better vid card to counter ATI's new stuff, then the duel begins again.

Nvidia has already relased its dual gpu 9800 card and it retails for about $600, the GTX is retailing for around $350, so there is a nice price segment for an ultra to fit into.

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Hi HotHardware Readers!

I'll start off by being open and tell you that I handle the marketing for ZOGIS. I wanted to let you all know of the promo we're running in conjunction with the launch of the 9800GTX. We're giving away a free t-shirt to everyone that purchases a ZOGIS 9800GTX card from NewEgg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814136028) and in addition you will be automatically entered for a chance to win a FREE ZOGIS 9800GTX (http://www.zogis.com/9800GTX.html). 

-Gene

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I'm just amazed Nvidia titled this card the 9800GTX.  If this barely outperforms the 8800GTS, then good lord, is there even gonna be an 9800GTS?  It would be in position to be slower than the 8800GTS!  I think the 9800 family is already done, at two cards.  Unless they come out with a 9800 Ultra.  But there is no room for lower end 9800 cards because they would be the same as the 8800 cards.  If they named these cards the 9800GTs, then at least I could see why they perform where they do.  But GTX is the high end, or close enough to it.  Unless they are planning the real 9000 series of cards to be the 9900s or something. 

Both Nvida and ATi are stuck with last years GPUs as top dogs.  Comon, someone up the ante.  And I don't think that Nvidia is not coming out with a new card out of mercy to ATi.  For the same reason that Intel continues to kick AMD's ass... because they can.  But in this case, Nvidia can't.  They still have the top performers, but surprisingly not by a huge amount like many predicted they would.

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ati might just have a chance if nvidia keeps going this way

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