Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 Review

Nvidia's latest dual GPU graphics card has a lot to offer. But, how does it do in the price-performance wars?

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/18/nvidia_geforce_9800_gx2_review/index.html
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  1. Why oh why didn't toms compare it with 8800 gt/gts sli?
  2. ... and why oh why can't I read the review??? I can only see page 1. For the rest of the pages I get a "not found" error
  3. I got those too, but if i hit F5 the page would load properly.

    In page two i couldnt sense whether is there was irony or not about the Voodoo "6" thing, but anyways, it's called Voodoo 5 5500.

    I hope that these 17 fps
    i hope they were some imature drivers glitch.
  4. ok, I did get to read the review and it looks like the ATIx2 is getting owned by the GX2 by a good margin. This seems a bit odd if you compare it to previous leeked benchies. Time will tell
  5. Link works now.

    for $600 I still think its outragiously overpriced. I'd stick with an SLI solution like (2) 9600GT's or 8800GT or GTS's. Cheaper and performs better.
  6. It is overpriced but most new tech is. They should have given it more memory because it has the horsepower to use it and you can see where it hits a wall at high res with AA/AF turned on.
  7. Already having an 8800GTX if multi gpu was of use to me (which sadly it isnt) my best upgrade would be a second card the same as I have already, which is pretty poor considering the age of the 8800GTX :(.

    Price is way over the odds for performance I think. I think everythigns pretty much looking how we expected. Im rapidly loosing hope that the 9800gtx will be a "must have" for a high end rig, even for TRI-SLI purposes all rumours are suggesting the 8800GTX will be at least near to tri sli 9800gtx's... I really hope im wrong on that.

    I want a new single GPU solution...
  8. I think the GTX will be better than the GX2 in a lot of ways. We shall see =D
  9. satanpro said:
    Why oh why didn't toms compare it with 8800 gt/gts sli?


    I agree, it's crazy that they did not do this comparison! This would have been extremely useful information.

    Tom's please update your review!
  10. Another review:
    http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/NVIDIA_nForce_790i_SLI_Ultra_and_GeForce_9800_GX2/

    From THG REVIEW:
    Having said this, we do not recommend buying a GeForce 9800 GX2 for those who rarely change graphic cards and want to invest in a very high end card and keep it for a long time. There are times when a card like this should excel, like in higher resolution and with demanding settings, but the 9800 GX2 is barely better than a simple GeForce 8800 Ultra. The blame, just like on the 3870 X2, is on the amount of memory being limited to only 512 MB, a quantity incompatible with the very high resolutions and even more with antialiasing. Numbers speak for themselves, when the 9800 GX2 out performs the 8800 Ultra (with 768 MB) by 29% on average and up to 41% in 2560x1600, activating antialiasing at this resolution shortens the gap to 13%! Yet, in many games, it's the only mode that still isn't smooth and the 9800 GX2 doesn't deliver much.

    As i said before, 98xx series arent called a revolution, they are like the big brothers of 88xx series (just like 78xx and 79xx series)

    Unfortuantely most sites only tested with 1920x1200 and 2560x1600 i havent seen any 1600x1200 or lower ones :(


    Time to edit the FAQ :)
  11. leo2kp said:
    I think the GTX will be better than the GX2 in a lot of ways. We shall see =D



    I agre 9800GTX (maybe SLI)will be much better buy than GX2 in most ways but like u said we shall see :sol:
  12. Where was HL2: Episode Two with 8xAA and 16xAF. In fact, why didn't toms use 8xAA and 16xAF for the filter selections in their test? Maybe because Nvidia tell them to test at at 4xAA.
  13. San Pedro > More simply, because we didn't had the time and because this setting is rarely used as it addresses a very specific situation. 4x AA is basically sufficient in most games to get rid of aliasing in the native resolution of displays. I also can't understand why nVidia would rather reviewers to use 4x AA in stead of 8x.
  14. hehe this card rocks.


    Just gotta sort out the AA problem itll be great!
  15. Looks like it kicks the **** outta everything. No questions asked but the price tag.... wayyy too much
  16. Well in that case, 2xAA usually gets the job done too (especially at super high resolutions). I've also seen reviews where going from 4xAA to 8xAA on an AMD card isn't a significant performance change (don't feel like searching for proof -sorry). 16xAF, however, should always be used for high end cards in reviews, IMO.

    And the the card is a monster, $600 is quite expensive considering 8800GTSs are going for under $250.
  17. £400+!! WHAA, no way!
  18. Tom's needs new proof-readers.

    When the article came out, all three GPUs in the article were listed as 0.065µ on the page 4 chart. They fixed the 3870x2, but the 8800 Ultra is still wrong.


  19. 8800gts sli beats it in every test at every res. Why would anyone buy the gx2? you could get an sli motherboard and two 8800gts for less.
  20. It's nice for $450-$500, but at $600+ not worth it vs SLI 9600GT, 8800GT, or 8800GTS (G92).
  21. Nice, this means my current choice at 2x 8800 GTS G92 stands! And yea, rediculously expensive....
  22. Many such a myself won't deal with the buggy under performing and power hungry Nv chipsets. That combined with fact that dual card solutions are a pain to start with. Single card Single GPU is the right way to do it. Having said that this thing is a good deal faster than anything else out today.
  23. I don't like the fact that alot of hot air gets back into the case... This will be a problem when you use 2 of these cards and will limit OC of the cards and the rest of the system.
  24. Looks like I'll invest in a 780i board and go SLI with my GTS'.
  25. satanpro said:
    Why oh why didn't toms compare it with 8800 gt/gts sli?


    Oh - that would be SWEET!!!!
  26. I heard a rumor that ATI might release their next GPU ahead of schedule anyone else hear that or is it just rubbish? I'm building a new PC soon and I'd love to know if I'm going ATI or nVidia so I get the right motherboard in case I decide to get another video card.
  27. /Edit: pressed the send too early. Post finished above. Sorry.
  28. It looks like this card will have the same SLI issues as the 7950GX2. So scratch that. But for a single card solution, this is the one to have @ 1920x1200. If they would beef up the memory to a gig, all would be well.

    Since I like SLI, I'll probably get 2 GTS cards in the meantime. My 8800GT is great, but I need a little more juice. Plus my friend has been bugging me to sell it to him. Looks like he'll finally get his wish. I can't see there being any other high-end cards worth buying for a while.
  29. I tried to read this, seriously I did. I couldn't make much sense of it however. I thought the 9800 was supposed to have two 8800s on it. Why then does it have extra ROPs? It doesn't seem like two chips on two boards, from the specs page, its new chips.

    Then came the game reviews. I think it was the test drive game where the 2560x1600 gave more FPS to the 3870x2 then when it tried 1920x1080. So if you want more FPS, you should just bump the res up higher?

    I guess this shows why SLI/CF might not always be the best idea. AA might not work in all games. Games might not show any improvement at all. Special hardware is needed. (motherboard, PSU, etc) Graphical anomalies might be encountered. This review seems to only show that this is still the case.
  30. tjoepie said:
    I don't like the fact that alot of hot air gets back into the case... This will be a problem when you use 2 of these cards and will limit OC of the cards and the rest of the system.


    IMHO, this card exists as a sop to Nvidia's need to be the high end. It's much faster than the 3870x2 (but I expected that), but not so much faster than a similarly priced Ultra that it's worth anything. I expect the upcoming 4870x2 will equal or beat it at $499, when this is still $599 or higher.

    Tom's says it all:

    Quote:

    Summary
    NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2

    The fastest card in the world indeed, with an average gap far greater than the HD 3870 X2 that's just a few weeks old. But, the 9800 GX2 remains weak at the highest resolutions where we expected the most out of this card. Its features haven't evolved much compared to the GeForce 8, contrary to what the name indicates. Given its price, the card is for those who are willing to change their graphics card in a year.

    Pros:

    The fastest 3D card

    A multi-GPU better mastered than at AMDs

    Cons:

    Disappointing performance when antialiasing is on and in high resolutions

    No DirectX 10.1 support or any new feature for this GeForce 9

    Price too high


    Nvidia does not know how to innovate. They do not have a 9xxx generation, they have a semi-successful 9600gt and overpromising but underperforming 9800gtx and 9800gx2.

    I hope the 4xxx generation from ATI is genuinely new. I want to see that rumored surprise for Nvidia that AMD execs have leaked. I'd like to see something that's not just marketing. We know how both Nvidia and AMD are where that's concerned.

    That said, I wish I'd waited for the 4870x2 if it's coming out in June.

    Anonymous said:


    Then came the game reviews. I think it was the test drive game where the 2560x1600 gave more FPS to the 3870x2 then when it tried 1920x1080. So if you want more FPS, you should just bump the res up higher?



    I believe we're reaching new levels of CPU bottleneck where even a Q6600 can't keep up with newer cards at 1680 x 1050. That's why I'm saving up for a 24" LCD. 1920 x 1200 seems the highest viable resolution for the 3870x2.
  31. I can't see all those people that claimed the GX2 was to be slower just slightly faster than the ATI 3870x2.
    Still, I'm not a nVidia fan, but surely I like to discuss with people.
    How can someone think that a card that was 5% faster than a single CPU card be still faster when that card was going to double (and with the new much efficient chip)?
    All speculation were just smoke in the eye. This is clear, at least for me.
    Now that this card has shown how powerful it can be, despite the price (it's a free market, if none is going to buy it the price will drop, as for anything else), nVidia clearly shown how limited is their vew on power gamers: if I had a 30" monitor and I still could not turn AA on due to lack of memory on a $600 gfx card I would get angry for sure! Do they think one would by one of those monsters just to play at 1280x1024? Come on nVidia, 512 MB more of DDR3 isn't that expensive for such a card. It's like having a Ferrari that is mounting 190/45 R14 wheels!

    Quote:
    Many such a myself won't deal with the buggy under performing and power hungry Nv chipsets. That combined with fact that dual card solutions are a pain to start with. Single card Single GPU is the right way to do it. Having said that this thing is a good deal faster than anything else out today.

    So, nVidia has buggy inefficient GPU, while ATI with 800MHz+ core and .55um production technology can't still beat it (even with 2 GPU vs 1).
    So, what are you going to buy? A S3? Matrox?
    I could not understand that comment of yours, really.

    What is good about the release of this card is that ATI has now really to come up with something good to fill the current gap and most probably the future one when nVidia will really start showing its new cards after having finished playing with customers as it is doing now. I have hard time distinguish GT, GTS, GTX, both with G80/G92 chip, 256/320/512/738 MB! What a mess!
  32. They don't have a 9800GTX out. As most of the world uses less than a 24" monitor (1900x1600) the card is significant jump in performance for a single card. The AA thing is overblown a bit as using more than 4x is just a FPS killer with hardly any visual gains no matter what card you use.
  33. Thats it? $600 for THIS performance? sighhhhh.......

    Somewhere in AMD Codename Thunder must be laughing devilishly.
  34. bydesign said:
    They don't have a 9800GTX out. As most of the world uses less than a 24" monitor (1900x1600) the card is significant jump in performance for a single card. The AA thing is overblown a bit as using more than 4x is just a FPS killer with hardly any visual gains no matter what card you use.


    Okay, here are preview links:

    http://www.nordichardware.com/news,7475.html

    I agree that a 24" LCD @ 1920 x 1200 is the sweet spot for the 3870x2, but the sweet spot for the 9800gx2 is a 30" LCD. As for AA and SLI or Crossfire, look at it this way. One high end card is mainstream. Two cards are mainstream performance and Triple SLI or CrossfireX are the new high performance at those resolutions. Rather unbelievable isn't it?
  35. the 9800GTX is a reaction not evolution

    its the reaction of poor G92 yields, ati catching up and glory days of quad sli. heck 3-way sli hardly works and with a 3 month delay they still have no quad drivers.

    evolution? no - just a mid term product to keep the sales wheel turning

    good job THG do not recommend it!


    this sums it up well:
    Chef_Boyardee said:
    It looks like this card will have the same SLI issues as the 7950GX2. So scratch that. But for a single card solution, this is the one to have @ 1920x1200. If they would beef up the memory to a gig, all would be well.

    Since I like SLI, I'll probably get 2 GTS cards in the meantime. My 8800GT is great, but I need a little more juice. Plus my friend has been bugging me to sell it to him. Looks like he'll finally get his wish. I can't see there being any other high-end cards worth buying for a while.

    get 2 8800GTS!
  36. Maziar said:
    Unfortuantely most sites only tested with 1920x1200 and 2560x1600 i havent seen any 1600x1200 or lower ones :(

    That is because on lower resolutions Nvidia's "new" graphic card will perform slower than ATI's old card (3870X2) :D :lol:
    Thats why all sites avoiding tests of lower resolutions !
  37. to be quite frank I don't really see any video card being worth 400+ at all. Wait a few months and something better will come out.... I mean, the 3870x2 is the closes to the super high end that's buyable at the price... But it's still way too expensive. I'll stick to the hd 3870 I just oredered until something in the lower end price range comes along.
  38. yonef said:
    That is because on lower resolutions Nvidia's "new" graphic card will perform slower than ATI's old card (3870X2) :D :lol:
    Thats why all sites avoiding tests of lower resolutions !



    and you're probably right... It would be interesting to see a 1680x1050 rez cranked up on crysis (that's a pretty common resolution and crysis is most demanding game at this point)
  39. I just got a real shocker:

    http://shop3.outpost.com/product/5536480

    anyone else see what I'm seeing? They claim to have a 1 gig version for sale. Luckily, I live 30 minutes from one of their stores. If this is the case, I might pick this up. I do have 2 GTS's on hold at the same store. I just noticed the 1 Gig GX2 30 seconds before I started posting this.

    All of a sudden, I'm seeing this card in a different way.

    What do you guys think? This card or 2 GTS cards? I know the price difference. I don't care. But 2 GTS's in SLI will still only be 512MB, right? That is what is going to seal the deal for me. I'm already running out of memory on my 8800gt believe it or not. COD4 @ 1920x1200 16xAF 4xAA cooks. I use v-sync, so it's practically pegged at 60fps. When I turn the supersampling on, my frame rate drops to the single digits. That's gotta be v-memory, right?

    The only reason I bought the 8800gt was the price vs. performance. If it wasn't so inexpensive, I wouldn't have bought it. I saw the benches, then saw the price. And i was off to buy the card. But I was really waiting for a beefy 1 gig card. And the GX2 may be it.

    I'll wait for some feed back before I make the jump.

    EDIT: The store is not expected to recieve any until the 25th. And also in the article the card is stated to have a gig of mem but can only use 512MB of it. Whatever the hell that means.
  40. Dont buy a 9800GX2 for $599, they are worth $450 max...


    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/nvidia_geforce_9800_gx2_performance_preview/page11.asp

    Now imagine the extra performance you will get from the 8800gts's when you overclock them
  41. Or if you really want to blow $600 plus, then wait a week for the 9800gtx's and Sli them..

    Above should look like 135fps imo...
  42. CiccioB said:

    Quote:
    Many such a myself won't deal with the buggy under performing and power hungry Nv chipsets. That combined with fact that dual card solutions are a pain to start with. Single card Single GPU is the right way to do it. Having said that this thing is a good deal faster than anything else out today.

    So, nVidia has buggy inefficient GPU, while ATI with 800MHz+ core and .55um production technology can't still beat it (even with 2 GPU vs 1).
    So, what are you going to buy? A S3? Matrox?
    I could not understand that comment of yours, really.



    It was in response to why not buy an SLI motherboard and couple 8800's, simple Nv Chipset. My statement in no way said anything about a buggy GPU. I'm also a fair weather Intel/Nvidea supporter at the moment if you go by my gear. My 8800 GTX was purchased on launch day and I am sad to say I still don't have a good replacement to buy. I was actually wishing that the 9800 GTX would double the performance as my current card had when it was released. At this point that seems as likely as avoiding a recession and .99 gas.

    No high-end graphics card should remain so competitive for so long. On the positive side I may feel better when I purchase that next trophy card for $600+. At this pace it might be king for two years.
  43. Well, first of all you guys asking about comparsions between SLI`s systems haven't read the first four phrases of this review: they had no time so they just threw it out now.

    Having said that, all I have to say are three things:

    1 - Good job Tom's, great review given the time you had. I would like to see 1680x1050 or 1600x1200 but I'll consider that this is still an unfinished topic.

    2 - It was a predictable result, but it comes to my mind the concern that it is getting harder to consider buying an AMD/ATI VGA. And that does not come from a Nvidia user: I have one OC'ed X1900XT and am still waiting for anything worth to trade it. DirectX10 with low framerates on Vista? no Thanks

    3 - Still waiting for a fair (wich means upper mainstream or enthusiast not breaking the U$450 barrier) VGA to beat Crysis' ass in a moderate res (1680x1050) in very high. I'll probably have to wait till Q1 2009, when the second wave of GeForces 10xxx or Radeons 4xxx comes out. Still waiting...
  44. Oh my.... I am so very largely dissapointed with the price of this sucker! It really should not be 599. I am thinking 499 would be too much too.... but more understandable. It's 2 8800GTS for heavens sake!
  45. @ Aerobernardo... You are not ready to upgrade! Stick with your X1900XT.

    I went from a single 6600GT to 8800GT in SLI. That's a good jump :bounce:
  46. anandtech provides a few lower rez specs on the card vs. other cards, and as was suspected before, lower rez the 3870x2 passes it up.... anyway... link.

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3266&p=5
  47. Here in Australia the GX2 costs like $900, and the performance isn't that great. Either its that or the new drivers, I'll give it some time and will see again.
  48. It's nice but nothing I will be buying. If I upgrade I think I'll get two 8800GTS 512mb for 480.00 after rebate and get identical performance. I guess if you didn't have the option of SLI this would be a good card.
  49. Aerobernardo said:

    2 - It was a predictable result, but it comes to my mind the concern that it is getting harder to consider buying an AMD/ATI VGA. And that does not come from a Nvidia user: I have one OC'ed X1900XT and am still waiting for anything worth to trade it. DirectX10 with low framerates on Vista? no Thanks


    I only have two regrets with the 3870x2:

    1. It had DDR3 and a DDR4 version is in the works.

    2. It seems to be as much of a stopgap as the 9800gx2 because the 4xxx series is due in June. A 4870 should be as fast as a 3870x2 without worrying about games that don't support Crossfire. The 4870x2 should be 100% faster than a 3870.

    As is, I don't know whether to move the 3870x2 to one of our other PC's this fall and get a 4870x2, or just get a 4850 that's clocked at 850 and do CrossfireX with a new board and power supply once Deneb arrives.

    Overall image quality with ATI is a bit better in my subjective opinion; though Nvidia did correct the blur found in the 7xxx series with the 8xxx series. Nvidia tweaks for sheer framerates, but that can be dodgy at worst. Note Crysis' water not displaying perfectly in one driver release. Also, Linkboost on Nvidia boards creates inflated benchmarks for the 9600gt. and it's been reported that overclocked 9600gt's had to be clocked down to work on those boards.

    So, how is it hard to buy AMD? I'd trade a few less fps for a better history of image quality along with more transparency, such that I can trust the benchmarks for an ATI card, but if a site doesn't do their homework with Nvidia, I can't trust those benchmarks at all.
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