Gigabyte and Palit GeForce 9800 GT Face Off

Article Index

Test System and 3DMark06 Results


We tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on either an ASUS Striker II Formula nForce 780i SLI motherboard powered by a Core 2 Duo E6800 dual-core processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was to enter their BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate and the latest DX10 update was installed. When the installation was complete, we then installed the latest chipset drivers available, and installed all of the other drivers necessary for the rest of our components.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled and the hard drive was defragmented.

The HotHardware Test System
Core 2 Powered


Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drive

Hardware Used:
Core 2 Duo E6800 (3GHz) 

Asus Striker II Formula
nForce 780i SLI chipset

Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 ATOMIC
Diamond Radeon HD 3850
EVGA GeForce 8800GT OC
PNY GeForce 8800 GTS 512
Gigabyte GV-N98TZL-512H
Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+ 1GB

2048MB Corsair PC2-6400
2 X 1GB

Integrated on board

Western Digital Caviar SE16

250GB - 7,200RPM - SATAII

OS - 

DirectX -

Video Drivers

Synthetic (DX) -

Synthetic (DX) - DirectX9 -

DirectX10 -
DirectX10 -
DirectX10 -
OpenGL -

Relevant Software:

Windows Vista Ultimate

DirectX 10

NVIDIA Forceware v177.19 (98xx)
NVIDIA Forecware v175.19 (88xx)
ATI Catalyst v8.7

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
3DMark Vantage
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Company of Heroes
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars*

* - Custom Test
(HH Exclusive demo)

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2

3DMark06 is the most recent addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups that number to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

If we look at the overall score for our collection of graphics cards, we see that the two 9800 GTs are running more in line with the HD 3870 from Sapphire than they are with the overclocked 8800 GT from EVGA or PNY's 8800 GTS 512.  And, although they share the same clock speeds for GPU, Shader, and Memory, we found that Gigabyte's version of the 9800 GT outmuscles Palit by just over 100 points.


Taking a closer look at the individual Shader Model scores, we still see that the 8800 GTS 512 and 8800 GT are running first and second.  Gigabyte claims the third spot in both Shader Model runs, edging out the Palit card by a few points each run through.  Whereas NVIDIA typically does better in SM 2.0 than 3.0. we see quite the reverse with ATI-branded cards.  The Radeon HD 3850 and HD 3870 run the SM 3.0 tests better, with the HD 3870 we used in this round outperforming the Palit 9800 GT, and almost completely catching up to Gigabyte as well.

Related content