XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

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XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:09 am

XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

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NVIDIA just launched the GeForce 9800 GX2 video card with a pair of 600MHz G92 GPUs, 256 stream processors running at 1.5GHz and 1GB GDDR3 memory operating at 2GHz. We have a couple XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 cards on hand and the performance numbers are very impressive. Read on to see how the GeForce 9800 GX2 does against a number of other video cards!

It's been nearly two years since NVIDIA has produced a dual PCB video card design and they feel they have a winner in the works with the GeForce 9 series. One of the reasons NVIDIA feels so strongly about the GeForce 9800 GX2 is because they have a whole new approach at how the video game frames are being rendered. The first generation Quad SLI technology seen on the GeForce 7950 GX2 back in 2006, used a hybrid mode of split frame rendering (SFR) and alternate frame rendering (AFR) to enable concurrent rendering on four GPUs. With the latest games utilizing complex shaders, inter-frame effects, and multi-pass rendering, SFR becomes less efficient.


Article Title: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review
Article URL: http://legitreviews.com/article/679/1/
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby Davo26 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:18 am

I think it's overpriced and might overheat.
It is quite powerful, but it's really a very strong refresh, it's not x2 over the GTX or the Ultra.
I'm undeciced as what to buy, I might get a 9800GTX, but will need to see how it performs.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby skier » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:12 am

:shock: :shock: :shock: :prayer:

and nvidia takes the crown again, except in price, which WILL be a factor for the majority of consumers, so you have to ask yourself, is the performance gain worth paying the extra $200? [-X



this amounts to an unprecedented 768 gigaflops of raw shading horsepower.


what about the 3870 X2's 1 teraflops of goodness?


nice review nate btw 8)
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby ibleet » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:13 am

Nice review Nate!

This card performed better than I expected in some areas, so I am impressed.

Since it is cost prohibitive, I will stick with my current 8800GTS since it runs all games at high settings with ease. When that fact changes, so will the card.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby DMB2000uk » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:08 am

I only just realised this, while reading about how the timing of the 8800GTX made the 7950GX2 obsolete, it became clear to me why Nvidia has called this the 9800GX2, instead of the 8800GX2 it should be. They don't want it to suffer the same ''it's a series behind" mentality the 7950GX2 did! So this will prolong its retail life while the 9k series are out.

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, its a bit obvious now :rolleyes:

Back to the review, better performance than I was expecting, especially on such fresh drivers. I wonder if the card does just as well on XP.

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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby martini161 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:46 pm

nice review, very interesting. especially the 3d mark numbers. these numbers are the most significant ive seen in a long time, because ati holds all the top spots. Now, at first this may not make sense, because the nvidias always do better in games. but this is because nvidia pays many big game makers to optimize for nvidia. it shows that the ati cards have much better enginering, and if they were to go head to head in a non-optimized test like 3d mark then they will do better.
and i assume that since it looks like you already have the numbers the quad crossfire review will be out soon? :)
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby R3N3G4D3 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:41 pm

I'm in a bit of a dilemma. Normally I'd never buy the top card since it typically means 10% improvement at twice the price, I especially did not like the idea of a GX2 card seeing how awesome their previous GX2 turned out :roll: . However, i bought the EVGA 8800GTS 512 on launch date (Dec 11) and my step up expired earlier this month, I was pissed at NVIDIA for delaying series 9 launch, still am. I went to EVGA website out of curiosity today and noticed a 120-day step up extension to 9800GX2. My motherboard is not SLI, so I can't just buy another GTS and stick it in. I paid $360 for GTS, so this step up would cost me $240 (and I got the money). Does it make sense to step up?

Now here is dilemma #2, I bought 700W OCZ GameXStream PSU, I run Q6600, two sata harddrives, 4gb DDR2, MCP655 pump (watercooling), sata dvd-rw, and two 120mm 60cfm yate loons. Will my PSU handle this 9800GX2 beast? My research suggests that this card only need 550-ish watt CPU but that doesn't account for watercooling, or quad-core CPU. Also, will I have room left for overclocking?
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby Davo26 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:40 pm

R3N3G4D3 wrote:I'm in a bit of a dilemma. Normally I'd never buy the top card since it typically means 10% improvement at twice the price, I especially did not like the idea of a GX2 card seeing how awesome their previous GX2 turned out :roll: . However, i bought the EVGA 8800GTS 512 on launch date (Dec 11) and my step up expired earlier this month, I was pissed at NVIDIA for delaying series 9 launch, still am. I went to EVGA website out of curiosity today and noticed a 120-day step up extension to 9800GX2. My motherboard is not SLI, so I can't just buy another GTS and stick it in. I paid $360 for GTS, so this step up would cost me $240 (and I got the money). Does it make sense to step up?

Now here is dilemma #2, I bought 700W OCZ GameXStream PSU, I run Q6600, two sata harddrives, 4gb DDR2, MCP655 pump (watercooling), sata dvd-rw, and two 120mm 60cfm yate loons. Will my PSU handle this 9800GX2 beast? My research suggests that this card only need 550-ish watt CPU but that doesn't account for watercooling, or quad-core CPU. Also, will I have room left for overclocking?


Does you PS have both a 8 and 6 pin?.....580w is the recommendation, so you're fine from that pov.
You'll probably average a 50% increase in performance, but that will only matter at 1680x1050 and beyond.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby DMB2000uk » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:39 am

Like Davo said, your PSU would be able to handle the Watts, but you don't have an 8pin PCIe connector with that PSU. So it wouldn't work with the GX2.

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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby R3N3G4D3 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:12 am

There are 6-to-8 pin adapters, a mod (RyderOCZ) on the OCZ forums even stated that the PSU should easily be able to power the 9800GX2 with the adapter. Also, a post on xtremesystems by jonnyGURU states that the 2 extra wires are actually grounds (so you can substitute them from an unused connector). I didn't include the links to these threads since I'm not sure what this forum's policy is on linking outside forums.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby DMB2000uk » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:59 pm

In situations like this where it is helping then it's fine.

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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby ibleet » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:21 am

Regardless of the power requirements, the EVGA 8800GTS 512 is a beast of a card and handles all current games with ease. If it were up to me, I would stick with what you have. At least I'm talking my own advice and passing on the "step up" program at this time.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby FeRaL » Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:52 pm

What kind of heat was this beast kicking out? I remember in the 8800 GTX X3 article that the author stated the system was kicking out enough heat to really raise your room temperature...
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby Zertz » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:11 pm

R3N3G4D3 wrote:Also, a post on xtremesystems by jonnyGURU states that the 2 extra wires are actually grounds (so you can substitute them from an unused connector).


Yes they are grounds, it's simply because the current draw is very high and the 2 extra grounds help stabilize the load, something like that. One of my teachers explained it and it really made sense anyways :P

If you take the ground wire from another 12V rail I guess it would be ok.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby kenc51 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:28 pm

Zertz wrote:
R3N3G4D3 wrote:Also, a post on xtremesystems by jonnyGURU states that the 2 extra wires are actually grounds (so you can substitute them from an unused connector).


Yes they are grounds, it's simply because the current draw is very high and the 2 extra grounds help stabilize the load, something like that. One of my teachers explained it and it really made sense anyways :P

If you take the ground wire from another 12V rail I guess it would be ok.

Or just use a quality PSU with thick gauge cables
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby martini161 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:32 pm

yup. thermaltake tough power ftw! :)
and as a side note, im suprised no one has argued what i said earlier in the thread. if any one wants to im always up for a good convo 8)
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby R3N3G4D3 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:07 pm

ibleet wrote:Regardless of the power requirements, the EVGA 8800GTS 512 is a beast of a card and handles all current games with ease. If it were up to me, I would stick with what you have. At least I'm talking my own advice and passing on the "step up" program at this time.

Unfortunatelly my GTS doesn't overclock quite as well as yours does judging from your sig (most people claim at least 740 MHZ core clocks and up to 800, mine seems to barely go above 700). I'm guessing this is probably because I got the first batch. I was looking forward to the series 9 since my GTS drops the frames quite a bit in a couple of areas in Crysis (Very High settings on 1650x1080), although the rest of the game runs rather smooth. But I'm also thinking it might be a better investment to wait a year and just buy a card upgrade then since my $240 will get me much further then (By that time OpenGL 3.0 specs should finally get finalized, and cards should switch to DX10.1 -which is a marketing gimmick but I'm still afraid the game makers will suddenly drop support for DX10.0, then there is the fact that series 9 is just a refresh of the G92 chip, besides neither SLI nor Crossfire is using the cards' full potential yet and Crossfire seems to be doing better).

martini161, as far as your comment is concerned, I don't know enough about the actual NVIDIA and ATi architectures to say which one is superior, I wouldn't be surprised if ATi was indeed better. However, I have nothing against NVIDIA's strategy of working with the game industry to optimize compatibility with NVIDIA. The point is, you buy new and expensive video cards to play games (or run graphic-intensive applications for work, but those are usually different types of cards). So in the end of the day, the winner is the manufacturer who decided to optimize the performance of the most popular applications -games. This is not too different from the reason why most of the population still uses Windows, because most applications are optimized to run on this platform even though many can be emulated on Linux (You really can't claim that Windows is more user-friendly anymore when comparing it to distributions like Ubuntu, and Vista is definitely not known for its good resource utilization). I wouldn't be surprised if some of these NVIDIA-related optimizations have an undesirable performance hit on the ATi, but that's the game developer's decision to sacrifice one to improve the other, NVIDIA pays to boost their own performance, not cripple ATi. I'm really interested in seeing how this multi-GPU battle unfolds, however, since up until now Crossfire has been showing better bang for the buck.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby ibleet » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:03 am

R3N3G4D3 wrote:Unfortunatelly my GTS doesn't overclock quite as well as yours does judging from your sig (most people claim at least 740 MHZ core clocks and up to 800, mine seems to barely go above 700). I'm guessing this is probably because I got the first batch.


My 8800GTS tops out around 780, but my sons tops out at 800. Having said that, even an 8800GTS at stock is a beast of a card and I think you are very smart to wait.
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby Pissedjedi » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:06 am

Um Was this machine running the last Service pack for vista and..why god why are you still using catalyst 8.1.. when 8.3 is the latest?
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Re: XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:42 am

Pissedjedi wrote:Um Was this machine running the last Service pack for vista and..why god why are you still using catalyst 8.1.. when 8.3 is the latest?


SP1 was not public when the testing was done, so it wasn't used.

We used CATALYST 8.1 on many of the ATI cards because we don't have the time to update every card... It take a solid 4-5 hours to just benchmark the each card and that is flying.

# ATI Radeon HD 3870 - 512MB (777MHz/1.126GHz GDDR4)
# Diamond Radeon HD 3850 - 512MB(669MHz/1.658GHz GDDR3)
# ATI Radeon HD 3850 - 256MB (669MHz/1.658GHz GDDR3)
# ATI Radeon HD 3650 - 256MB (722MHz/1.584GHz GDDR3)
# Sapphire Radeon HD 3450 - 256MB (600MHz/1.000GHz GDDR2)

Those five ATI cards were run with 8.1 drivers... Is it worth 25 hours of work and then having to redo all the charts on top of that for just a few performance fixes?

Let's look at the performance improvements in CATALYST 8.2 and 8.3 drivers...

Call of Juarez: Performance scores increased up to 20% on ATI CrossFireX™ configured systems containing an ATI Radeon™ HD38x0 series of product
* Company of Heroes (DirectX 10): Performance scores increased up to 17% (especially at lower resolutions), on ATI Radeon™ HD38x0 products
* Crysis (DirectX 10): Performance scores increased up to 15% on all supported ATI Radeon™ products
* Lost Planet (DirectX 9): Performance scores increased up to 36% across all supported ATI Radeon™ products and in ATI CrossFireX™ configured systems
* Shadermark 2.1: Performance scores increased up to 35% across all supported Radeon™ products and in ATI CrossFireX™ configured systems
* Unreal Tournament 2004: Performance scores increased up to 10% on ATI CrossFireX™ configured system containing an ATI Radeon™ HD2400, HD2600, or HD3400 series of products
* Company of Heroes: DirectX 10 performance improves as much as 20% on the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series and ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series of products. DirectX 10 performance improves as much as 30% on CrossFire configurations using the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series or ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series of products


Of the six games that have improved performance we test with Company of Heroes and Crysis. I have not seen any improvement of Crysis v1.2 with 8.3 over 8.1 and they say up to 15% on all cards (don't think this is true with the v1.2 patch), but that doesn't matter because the low end cards were not tested in Crysis... All the ATI cards in Crysis used 8.3 drivers... On Company of Heroes the new drivers do make a difference when run with CrossFire and all the CrossFire and CrossFireX testing was done on 8.3's for this reason. So, to be honest that is why we are still using 8.1 drivers... It only impacts two of the games we use and the difference was not significant as I did test the new drivers to see if a performance update was needed. If I see a significant difference in driver performance (greater than 5%) we update the drivers and retest. We did this in February with 8.1 drivers as there was a significant improvement over 7.10 drivers that were previously used.

So, using 8.1 drivers only impacted one test - CoH and the impact should be minor and is not going to change what card you should purchase.
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