We put the 9800 GTX through its paces using our usual selection of games and we've compared it against all the competitors at this price range. Each game is tested at a variety of resolutions and anti-aliasing settings and the tests are repeated three times to ensure an accurate figure is obtained. Once three stable figures have been achieved we average them out and report that number to you.
We've turned on transparency anti-aliasing (known as adaptive anti-aliasing in the ATI drivers) to smooth edges of semi-transparent textures, where appropriate, and kept all in-game settings at their maximum to ensure we are getting the best video quality possible. All except Crysis, that is, which we've run with everything set to High, as opposed to Very High, as the latter still produces largely unplayable framerates even on these high-end cards.
* Intel Core 2 Quad QX9770
* Asus P5E3
* 2GB Corsair TWIN3X2048-1333C9 DDR3
* 150GB Western Digital Raptor
* Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
* nVidia: forceware 174.74
* ATI: Catalyst 8.4
It's clear to see from our results that the 9800 GTX performs very well and certainly competes for the title of fastest single graphics card (okay, technically the 9800 GX2 is a single card but it uses two GPUs). However, this is supposed to be the replacement for the 8800GTX and thus, one would assume, it's should to be noticeably faster than that card, but this seldom seems to be the case. Other features like lower power consumption, better video processing, and Hybrid SLI, all help to set it apart from the older cards and, for anyone that hasn't already plumped up the cash for an 8800GTS 512 or 8800 GTX, it isn't a bad buy. However, if you were looking for something to replace your 18 month old 8800 GTX, you'd be sorely disappointed.
The 9800 GTX is undoubtedly a good card for anyone looking to upgrade from a mid-range card or a particularly old high-end card. However, if you already own any high-end graphics card from the last year there's little reason to upgrade.