Today NVIDIA is announcing the third Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) in their GeForce 9 Series - the GeForce 9800 GTX. The GeForce 9 Series debuted in February with the GeForce 9600 GT and earned our Grand Slam award for bringing high-end gaming down to mainstream prices.
Two weeks ago, NVIDIA launched the flagship GeForce 9800 GX2, which features two GPUs working in tandem with NVIDIA SLI Technology. The GeForce 9800 GX2 can be used with motherboards using non-NVIDIA chipsets such as those from AMD and Intel.
EVGA e-GeForce 9800 GTX
And the GeForce 9800 GTX? In summary, after having tested the GeForce 9800 GTX under Windows XP, I will state that it performs on par with the previous generation GeForce 8800 GTX. That is until its 512MB of video memory (VRAM) becomes exhausted. Although not necessarily a drawback, it is a consideration that the informed consumer needs to realize before making a purchase - especially when two (SLI) or three (3-way SLI) graphics cards are being considered. The additional 256MB of video memory available on the GeForce 8800 GTX can make the difference between a game being playable or not.
Concerning specifications, the GeForce 9800 GTX and its 65nm manufacturing process provide higher clock speeds than its predecessor while consuming less power. The GeForce 9800 GTX also features NVIDIA Hybrid Technology, which conserves power by manually switching to a motherboard GPU for non-gaming applications, and an enhanced video playback engine courtesy of PureVideo HD.
Another major difference between the two GPUs is in their respective launch prices as graphics cards based on the GeForce 9800 GTX will be 50% cheaper. The GeForce 8800 GTX is still available at major on-line retailers and can end up being less than a GeForce 9800 GTX when rebates are used.
Ultimately, the biggest difference between the two GPUs is the greater amount of video memory and memory bandwidth that is present on the GeForce 8800 GTX. While 768MB of video memory and a 384-bit memory bus may be unconventional sizes, they were crafted by NVIDIA. Even if it is costlier to manufacture the GeForce 8800 GTX, the dilemma that NVIDIA is currently facing at the high-end is similar to a principle that I learned in economics many years ago. Once we reach a certain standard of living (GeForce 8800 GTX), we continue to make progress to reach the next level and avoid having to revert to a lower standard of living (GeForce 9800 GTX).
EVGA E-GEFORCE 9800 GTX
In support of today's launch, EVGA kindly provided us with their e-GeForce 9800 GTX. EVGA offers a limited lifetime warranty, 24/7 toll-free and on-line technical support, and a 90-day step-up program.
Accessories consist of (2) DVI-to-VGA adapters, (2) 6-pin PCI-E power converters, HDTV and S-Video cables, a couple of case stickers, a case badge, a user's guide, and a driver installation CD with trial software.