GeForce 9800 GTX and 3-way SLI: May the nForce Be With Youby Derek Wilson on April 1, 2008 9:00 AM EST
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Yes, NVIDIA leads the way in performance. They own the fastest single GPU card, the fastest multiGPU single card, and the fastest multi card configurations. People who want the best of the best do pay a premium for the privilege, but that isn't something everyone is comfortable with. Most of us would much rather see a high end card that doesn't totally depart from sanity in terms of actual value gained through the purchase. Is the 9800 GTX that solution? That's what we are here to find out.
We've gotten a lot of feedback lately about our test system. Yes, at the very high end we haven't seen what we would have expected if all things were equal between all platforms. But the fact is that making a single platform work for apples to apples comparisons between CrossFire and SLI is worth it. With this review, we aren't quite there, as we just uncovered a HUGE issue that has been holding us back from higher performance with our high end hardware. We do have some numbers showing what's going on, but we just didn't have time to rerun all of our hardware after we discovered the solution to the issue. But we'll get to that shortly.
The major questions we will want to answer with this review are mostly about value. This card isn't a new architecture and it isn't really faster than other single card single GPU solutions. But the price point does make a difference here. At about $400, AMD's Radeon 3870X2 will be a key comparison point to this new $300 part. With the 8800 Ultra and GTX officially leaving the scene, the 9800 GX2 and 9800 GTX are the new top two in terms of high end hardware at NVIDIA. The price gap between these two is very large (the 9800 GX2 costs about twice as much as a stock clocked 9800 GTX) and the 3870X2 falls right in between them. Does this favor AMD or NVIDIA in terms of value? Does either company need to adjust their price point?
Things are rarely straightforward in the graphics world, and with the crazy price points and multi-GPU solutions that recently burst on to the scene, we’ve got a lot of stuff to try and make sense out of. Let us take you through the looking glass...
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7Enigma - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkNM, the images now show up that include the 8800GT. Thanks! So it seems the 9800GTX in most situations is <20% faster than the 8800GT at 1280X1024 correct? Since I game on a 19" LCD I might be better off with an 8800GT for a year or so and then upgrading to the next round of cards.....decisions....decisions....
For anyone that cares here's a direct comparison using the numbers from the table:
9800GTX compared to 8800GT at 1280X1024 resolution
CoD4.......17.5-18.5% faster (depending on no/4X AA)
Oblivion...17.5-27% faster (depending on no/4X AA)
just4U - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkSo it's roughly 2% faster then the GTS/512? :(
7Enigma - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkAgain I'm disappointed that this review completely fails to include the 8800GTS. I asked in the previous 9800GX2 review as did several others and there was no response to the questions. It definitely appears that they are purposely failing to include the most obvious competitor to the 9800GTX (and any future lower-end cards, GTS, GT, etc.).
Looks like I'll be going to another site for a better comparison.
7Enigma - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkHocp has a good comparison review (albeit with their odd way of benchmarking) of the 8800GTX/S against the 9800GTX. Pretty much shows what we thought, some slight improvements, but nothing to write home about. This quote from the conclusion sums up the release of the 9800GTX:
"If you are a gamer and were hoping to upgrade, today is not the day if you already own pretty much any 8800 series card. Here’s hoping real next-gen technology will be seen in a “9900” series soon."
This pretty much solidifies my purchase of an 8800GT. I just can't see the advantage of shelling out closer to $300 for a slightly better card than a $200 8800GT, with the hopes that within a year SOMEONE comes to the rescue of actually releasing a next gen card that is better than the current/previous generation.
AggressorPrime - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkI'm pretty sure dual, tri, and quad Crossfire is not supposed to give the exact same results in Crysis. There must be something wrong with the chart.
AggressorPrime - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkIt looks like these tests are done with the 790i, yet there is no info on what RAM is used or motherboard for that matter in the chart.
It is interesting that a 790i setup would beat Skulltrail in Crysis, but I guess fast RAM is more important.
Noya - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - link...the best bang for the buck is a pair of 8800gt in SLI @ about $350.
KingViper - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkCan we get a spell check in the house?
jtleon - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkDittoDittoDittoIjusthateitwhenwebcontentisnotedited!!!!
JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - linkFixed.