NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT Roundup


Test Setup

Test Setup

If you've been reading our reviews religiously then you should know that we do our tests on two different system configurations, one on Windows Vista and another on Windows XP.

However, we encountered a slight problem this time round, with the ASUS EN9800GT Matrix, which refused to run on our usual Vista system. To get around this, we built another Vista system using the exact same components, but on a different motherboard (using the same chipset of course). Here are the revised test setups in detail:

Windows XP SP2 Test System

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.66GHz)
  • Intel D975XBX 'Bad Axe' motherboard
  • 2 x 1GB DDR2-800 Kingston HyperX memory in dual channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.7 80GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 and DirectX 9.0c

Windows Vista SP1 Test System

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 (3.00GHz)
  • Gigabyte X38T-DQ6 motherboard
  • 2 x 1GB DDR3-1333 Aeneon memory in dual channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1

Windows Vista SP1 Test System (for ASUS EN9800GT Matrix only)

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 (3.00GHz)
  • ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard
  • 2 x 1GB DDR3-1333 Aeneon memory in dual channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1

We'll be pitting the four GeForce 9800 GT cards against one another and will be paying special attention to see just how much extra performance you can get from the cards that have been overclocked, and for comparison's sake, we have thrown in an older 8800 GT as well, to see if there are any discernible differences in performance. Also, note that the ASUS EN9800GT Matrix is an engineering sample and is rather rough around the edges, hence we do not expect it to perform as well as it possibly can. We also tried our hand at an MSI overclocked edition, but it seemed like an engineering sample and wasn't able to churn out results on par with the rest of the cards; thus we've omitted it for this article.

Clockspeed Summary
Card Core Memory Shaders
Gigabyte 9800 GT 512MB GDDR3 600MHz 1800MHz 1500MHz
Zotac GeForce 9800 GT AMP! Edition 700MHz 2000MHz 1700MHz
Palit GeForce 9800 GT Sonic 650MHz 1900MHz 1625MHz
ASUS GeForce 9800 GT Matrix (engineering sample) 612MHz 1800MHz 1500MHz

We'll also be throwing in some cards from the red camp, namely the older Radeon HD 3870 and the new Radeon HD 4850. Here's the complete list of cards and their respective clock speeds, as well as the tested drivers used for both test setups:

  • Gigabyte 9800 GT 512MB (Forceware 177.79)
  • ASUS EN9800GT Matrix 512MB (Forceware 177.79)
  • Palit GeForce 9800 GT Sonic (Forceware 177.79)
  • Zotac GeForce 9800 GT AMP! Edition (Forceware 177.79)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB (Forceware 177.79)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB (Catalyst 8.6)
  • ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB (Catalyst 8.6)

The following benchmarks were tested using their built-in time demo or benchmarking tools:

For Windows XP

  • Futuremark 3DMark06 (ver 110)
  • Company of Heroes (ver 1.3)
  • F.E.A.R (ver 1.0)
  • Crysis (ver 1.1)
  • Unreal Tournament 3 (ver 1.1)

For Windows Vista

  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage (ver 101)
  • Crysis (ver 1.21)