Gigabyte and Palit GeForce 9800 GT Face Off

Gigabyte's GV-N98TZL-512H


We'll start off with Gigabyte's 512MB GeForce 9800 GT the GV-N98TZL-512H, the card sporting a Zalman fan squarely above the GPU and as is typical of Gigabyte, an uncomplicated box with a female warrior carrying a large gun.

Gigabyte's package contents include the 9800 GT based card itself, a multilingual installation guide (actually mislabeled as 9800 GTX+ on the cover, but all inserts are clearly for the GT model), a driver/utility CD-ROM, 2 DVI-I to D-Sub adapters, a single DVI-I to HDMI adapter and a PCI-E power cable.  The manual is very well written and laid out, covering all aspects of using the card that are typically omitted or skimmed over by others.  For instance, a section is devoted simply on the use of the adapters and cables including the S/PDIF cable for HDMI audio, although said cable was not found in the box.  Another section covers each tab of the NVIDIA ForceWare control panel to help with setting up and tweaking the card.


The GV-N98TZL-512H's appearance is dominated by the large copper and aluminum heatsink from Zalman, which uses a large fan and heatpipes to increase heat dissipation.  Those with a keen eye will notice this is the same cooler that we saw on the Gigabyte GV-NX88T512HP 8800 GT we reviewed back in March.  Zalman's VF830-ALCU Quiet VGA Cooler, as it is more formally known, is clamped down tightly over the large die rising perhaps a 1/2 inch or so off of the PCB and transferring heat away from the core using two heatpipes that arc downwards and then back up through a series of copper fins.  These in turn are air-cooled by the fan embedded within.  Heatsink weight has been minimized, weighing in at a total of 140g, by using extremely thin fins which are less than a half of a millimeter thick.  The lighter weight load eliminates excessive force on the card and slot.


512MB of GDDR3 memory linked to the GPU via a 256-bit interface comes by the way of Samsung, using BGA modules marked as K4J52324QE-BJ1A.  This memory is rated for operation of as high as 1000 MHz (2000 MHz effective).  The memory does not receive any direct forms of cooling, although the majority of the chips are located underneath the footprint of the cooler's fins and do get some residual airflow.


Power is regulated by a series of solid capacitors with ferrite core chokes and lower RDS(ON) MOSFETS specially designed to produce lower switching resistance for faster current charging and discharging.  This reduces heat and provides a better and more stable flow of energy.


Typical of most mid-range cards, two DVI-I connectors and S-VIDEO out make up the output options with the adapters included in the bundle filling out the missing options.  Gigabyte ships this card with protective covers over all exposed ports and pins except for maybe the main connector itself.  Compared to higher-end products like the 9800 GTX+, the GV-N98TZL-512H is much shorter and should be able to fit into any chassis.


The GV-N98TZL-512H is Gigabyte's 512 MB model, and like Palit, they also offer a 1GB model, the GV-N98TZL-1GH.  Common sense tells us that having more memory should help performance at higher resolutions.  Our tests today will help find out if there's much benefit in paying extra for double the memory buffer with cards in this class.

Related content