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>
- 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