MSI N9800 GTX
8800GTXes In Trimmed Sheep Clothing
NVIDIA continues to blast away its competition with the 9 series. The first wave of attack was done by the latest excellent value for money cards—the 9600GT which we tested last month. They were almost as good at performance as the 8800GT for around an 85 per cent of the price, but they ran cooler and consumed a little less power. The 8 series of cards were led by the 8800GTX, but the 9800GTXs are finally here. We have here three GeForce 9800GTX’s from three different companies—Gigabyte, MSI and ZOTAC.
While three share the same design and cooler, the ZOTAC’s Amp! Edition and MSI are overclocked. The MSI runs at a core speed of 700 MHz and the ZOTAC at 750 MHz! All the cards came with 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM.
NVIDIA doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to jump onto the DirectX 10.1 bandwagon—the 9800GTX, like the 9600GT, is also a DirectX 10 card. It is turning out to be a good decision, with most current games still continuing to release with DirectX 9 support.
The coolers on the 9800GTXs look a lot like the stock 8800GTS 512 coolers. The cards need two 6-pin connectors to power them and the cards occupy two slots.
Gigabyte GeForce 9800 GTX Zotac GeForce 9800 GTX
Throughout all the tests, the Gigabyte 9800GTX was lagging a little behind the MSI, while slightly ahead of the Zotac. The Zotac’s 9800GTX’s extra power is most visible in the Splinter Cell Chaos Theory benchmark. Games perform equally well, even after pushing the resolution up to 1600 x 1200 at maximum quality with anti-aliasing and antistropic filtering turned up to the maximum.
The 9800GTX isn’t the new benchmark for high-end cards. It then appears that the 9800GTX is nothing more than a refined and matured 8800GTX, just like the 9600GT was, as compared to the 8800GT. All the cards we received performed the same way as some of the better 8800GTXs we’ve seen. They are only a bit cooler and more power efficient mainly because of the move to 65-nm fabrication process. The 9800GTX also supports HybridPower, which allows the card to be completely shut down if run on NVIDIA’s HybridPower-supported motherboards. The most significant difference is that the 9800GTX is a lot cheaper than the 8800GTXs were when they were launched. So, there is no reason whatsoever for an 8800GTX user to upgrade to the 9800GTX. If at all an upgrade is needed, a 9800GX2 could be thought of. We have tested a Gigabyte 9800GX2 this month too. The 8800GTX’s were Rs 6000 to Rs 8000 costlier when they arrived.
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