GeForce 9800 GTX and 3-way SLI: May the nForce Be With Youby Derek Wilson on April 1, 2008 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
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...