Abit's Radeon 9800 XT 256MB

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Abit's Radeon 9800 XT 256MB
ATi Invades More of NVIDIA's Turf...

By, Marco Chiappetta
February 25, 2004

If you have ever laid your eyes on any of Abit's O.T.E.S. equipped video cards, you probably would have expected Abit to make a big splash with their Radeon 9800 XT.  Regrettably, in what seems like an attempt to release an ATi powered card quickly, Abit adhered strictly to the Radeon 9800 XT reference design with this card, save for a custom decal that graces the cooling apparatus...

The Abit Radeon 9800XT 256MB
Strictly a Reference Design :(

     

     

It would be nearly impossible to distinguish the Abit Radeon 9800 XT from an ATi built card, or even Sapphire's version of the 9800 XT for that matter, if it weren't for the Abit branded decal on the fan shroud.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, as the 9800 XT has proven time and again that it is the current King of the 3D Hill, but we had hoped Abit would do something truly special with their first Radeon powered card.  We won't go so far as to say we're disappointed in Abit, but a "me too" reference card wasn't what we thought they had in the works. 

     

     

The Abit Radeon 9800 XT''s red PCB is identical to an ATi built version.  On the external plate, you'll find a DVI connector, a DB15 connector and lastly an S-Video out.  Like other 9800 XTs, this connector configuration gives users the ability to run a dual-monitor setup using any combination of two outputs (1 CRT & 1 LCD or 1 TV & 1 CRT, etc.)  The large, all copper cooling apparatus consists of a heavy front plate with thin copper fins and a near silent 80-mm fan, and a heat plate mounted on the rear of the card directly behind the GPU.  This system cools not only the GPU, but the 4 RAM chips mounted on the front and rear of the card (8 chips total).  The cooling hardware is held in place with two, front-mounted spring-loaded screws on the obverse and a metal clip on the reverse.  We removed the clip and screws to disassemble the cooler, and found an adequate application of silver thermal paste on the GPU and simple thermal pads for the RAM.

In-Game Screenshots With The Abit Radeon 9800XT 256MB
Where the 9800 XT Shines

         
Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo Screen Shots
1024x768 | 4X AA | 16X Anisotropic Filtering

Before we got to the nitty-gritty and benchmarked the Abit Radeon 9800 XT, we spent some time playing a few popular games to get a feel for the card's in-game image quality and "real world" performance.  We played with the recently released Unreal Tournament 2004 demo, Max Payne 2 and the very fun Need For Speed: Underground.  If we left anti-aliasing disabled, this card handled all three of these games with ease.  Gaming at 1600x1200 with all in-game options maxed offered very smooth playable frame rates.  We also played these games at multiple AA and Aniso settings, and didn't experience any significant slow-downs, until we hit the higher resolutions (1280+) with the AA and Aniso settings at their max.  We've included some screen shots from the UT2004 demo to give you an idea as to how the game looks on the Abit Radeon 9800 XT.  Even with JPEG compression, the images look great.

The Test System, AquaMark3 & Halo

Tags:  Radeon, Abit, 980, XT

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