XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB Review - Dual G92 is Sexy
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NVIDIA revisits dual-GPU graphics boards
We can remember first "officially" seeing the GeForce 9800 GX2 back in January when another website featured a few high resolution images of it. It definitely didn't LOOK like any other graphics card on the market at the time, with its fully enclosed cooling design and oddly stacked DVI outputs. We got another "clue" when NVIDIA itself mentioned the 9800 GX2 in a press FAQ about the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 3870 X2 card.
Just like the HD 3870 X2, the new NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 is a dual-GPU graphics board with only a single connection to the motherboard via PCI Express. The common way of describing these cards is "SLI on a card" or "CrossFire on a card" depending on your party affiliation. These descriptions are about as accurate as you can get in ten words or less, though as we'll see the NVIDIA 9800 GX2 is even more like "SLI on a card" than its AMD competition.
What really matters is performance in games; and after a quick overview of technology behind the new NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 we'll dive deep into that all important aspect.
The 9800 GX2 Graphics Card
In another parallel between the 9800 GX2 and the HD 3870 X2, NVIDIA's new card is really nothing new when it comes to the chip architecture. The card is built around a pair of G92-based 8800 GTS 512MB GPUs that run at different clock speeds but operate in SLI mode when enabled in the NVIDIA control panel for improved gaming performance. How much gain depends on the game you want to play.
For memory support the 9800 GX2 has a very slightly increased memory speed of 1000 MHz and 1GB of total frame buffer, 512MB of which is dedicated to each GPU. The board consumes a decently high amount of power, rated at 197 watts according to NVIDIA here, and requires both an 8-pin power connector and a 6-pin power connector from your power supply. Some vendors will be including adapters for 6-pin to 8-pin connections, but NVIDIA isn't guaranteeing that will work - your power supply needs to be able to push out at least 12A on each 12V rail.
You can see also that the 9800 GX2 will feature the same dual dual-link DVI ports that have graced most GPUs for a couple years but there is also an integrated HDMI port on the card as well that will allow for audio pass through. We'll show that on the following pages with a more detailed look at the retail cards.
Besides the added benefits of having two GPUs on the 9800 GX2, it is also the second graphics card in the 9000-series (the GeForce 9600 GT was the first) and that means some features that involve words like "hybrid" in them are going to be found on it.
Another interesting feature I am sure most of you expect with the GeForce 9800 GX2 is renewed support for Quad SLI: