The rest of the software is on the unusual side and will have less appeal to most. Video Security enables you monitor the feed from a Web cam, and plays a rather bizarre alarm sound noise as soon as it detects motion. There’s also an app called GameFace, essentially a variant of Netmeeting for viewing a video feed of a friend while playing a game. It’s not something I see catching on.
The rest of the package consists of a game bundle housed smartly in an orange CD holder. There are a number of titles but unfortunately only two are full versions – Gun Metal and Battle Engine Aquila. There is also a voucher for a free copy of next year’s Half-Life 2 – though beware that this is only the single player version.
As you might expect the Asus 9800XT produced some fantastic performance scores, beating the reference GeForceFX 5950 in most tests, if only by a small margin. In 3DMark03, at a resolution of 1,024 x 768, it hit a score of 6024 to the 5950’s 5912. In Unreal Tournament at 1,600 x 1,200 with 4x anti-aliasing and 4x anisotropic filtering enabled it won out with 75.2fps over the 5950’s 70.2fps. Only in GunMetal did the 5950 pull ahead, with 25fps compared to the 9800XT’s 22.7fps. However, as this was developed using CG, the nVidia programming language, and uses version 1.1 DX9 Pixel Shaders rather than 2.0, the game does play to GeForceFX’s strengths.
The Asus 9800XT is a well constructed card that particularly thrives at high resolutions. Playing a game such as Halo with one of these in your rig is a truly incredible gaming experience. Unfortunately it’s one that you’ll need to find a serious amount of cash to gain access to. But if you’re after VIVO features, decent overclocking ability, and you can afford it, the Asus is worth investing in.
An awesome graphics monster. Dual fans provide effective cooling and decent overclocking potential, while VIVO features help it stand out from the crowd. If you don’t need these however, there are cheaper 9800XT cards available.