Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 Review

The Review

Because of the short time we had for this review, we focused on the most important matters, which meant comparing the performance of the GeForce 9800 GX2 with the Radeon HD 3870 X2 and the GeForce 8800 Ultra. You can check our 3870 X2 review for more results, including cards in CrossFire configuration. We'll update you with the SLI scores when the drivers are ready.

Contrary to previous reviews, we focus here on Windows Vista, SP1, since many users want to be able to activate all graphical options, including DirectX 10, when using expensive cards such as the 9800 GX2. UAC, indexing, Superfetch and Aero were disabled during the benchmarks and the latest drivers and patches were applied.

A couple of new games are included. Flight Simulator X, despite being largely limited by CPU power, is very popular and does yield interesting results. Also, we have added Enemy Territory: Quake Wars because of its success and its MegaTexture technology. It's the only exception to our rule, that all games should be evaluated under real life conditions using Fraps. The replay mode in Quake Wars is limited to 30 fps, forcing us to use the timedemo mode, which doesn't reflect the game's true performance, which is much slower than in timedemo mode. Test scenes for the other games were modified, except for Test Drive Unlimited and Call of Duty 4.

Finally, we only used two resolutions: 1920x1200, which is a typical resolution for 24-26" displays, and of course, 2560x1600, which is a typical resolution for 30" displays, such as the Samsung 3054T, which we used for our tests. We believe those are the only two resolutions these kinds of cards are meant to play at. Below that (or up to 22"), investing so much in a powerful 3D card to get smooth rendering for most of today's games is useless, as we saw in our Radeon HD 3870 X2 review./p>

Test Setup

  • Asus P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38)
  • Intel Core 2 Quad QX6850 (3 GHz)
  • Crucial 2 x 1 GB DDR3 1333 MHz 7-7-7-20
  • Western Digital WD5000AAKS
  • DVD Asus 12x
  • Coolermaster RealPower Pro 850 W
  • Windows Vista SP1
  • ForceWare 174.53 beta (9800 GX2)
  • ForceWare 169.44 beta (8800 Ultra)
  • Catalyst 8.3 WHQL
  • dwfresch
    This author continues to refer to ATI as AMD in multiple articles. Not only does this bring into question this author's competence, it also causes me to question the accuracy of all articles on Tom's Hardware since the editors have overlooked such a blatant error.
  • ProphetMK1
    I am wondering about your competence. What does it matter if he refers to the parent company of ATI. If you aren't aware or have been MIA from the tech world in the last year. AMD owns ATI at a large 5.4 billion dollar so far debt that has yet to help my AMD shares.
  • AvatarC
    I think you owe an apology to the site, dwfresch. When was the last time you visited www.ati.com and what did you first notice?
  • honestly, i know amd owns ati, but the two are totally seperate entities. the product solutions for one are different and when i talk about graphics card, i refer to them as ATI or NVIDIA, rather than AMD and Intel. If I stood up in front of you trying to convince you to gain our market share and talk to you about our products, im not going to say "The new AMD Radeon HD 3800 Series" because its NOT AMD, its ATI. And if i make simple stupid errors like that, how do you know that the rest of my information is right? My facts on resolution, memory bus, core speed, may all be just as wrong as getting the ACTUAL COMPANY NAME THAT PRODUCED THE PRODUCT wrong. Attention to detail gentleman. Having 200 cars isnt the same as having 500. Having a Mayback Exelero isnt the same as a Kia Rio. The LAPD is not the NYPD. Get the drift? Thank you
  • Its AMD NOT ATI, and I think the above comment has lost the point completely tbh.
  • aww yer ana a 550watt power supply
  • listen what is the best value for money graphics card that can play crysis cuz im upgrading with a 64 bit 3.06 gig hert processoer asus p5n sli and a gforce 7600GT
    so yer i dont wanna spend grands on my rig id b happy with a rig thats 80% up dere with the market cuz getting 100% up with the market is to expensive