GeForce 9800 GX2 and nForce 790i SLI benchmarked

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 18 2008 @ 16:16 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Today NVIDIA lift the NDA of two new products: the GeForce 9800 GX2 dual-GPU graphics card and the nForce 790i SLI chipset. Many sites have published GeForce 9800 GX2 reviews today but lets focus on what some of the big sites wrote about NVIDIA's new chippery.

AnandTech writes that NVIDIA set itself on top of the graphics card market again. The GeForce 9800 GX2 beats AMD's Radeon HD 3870 X2 in all but one game, Oblivion.
Despite the fact that this card does lead the rest of the field counts for something, but its price tag will be a limiting factor. There are advantages to having the fastest card around of course, and we expect that NVIDIA will use this card to position itself as the best option in computer graphics. Certainly they are the best option when you have deep pockets, but savvy gamers will still pay close attention to price / performance and overall value. It can be fun to explore what is possible with the best of the best, but at the end of the day you have to come home to what ever is in your own box.
HardOCP also reports this card is one of the fastest graphics cards on the market but complains about the high price tag. The reviewer says GeForce 8800 GT SLI cards are almost as fast as this dual-GPU card and cost about $200 less. HardOCP also checked the power consumption, a rig with the GeForce 9800 GX2 used 196W in idle and 365W in load. The idle wattage is higher than that of a system with the Radeon HD 3870 X2 (158W) but in load the 9800 GX2 wins as the Radeon HD 3870 X2 consumes 381W.
The real star of the show however seems to be GeForce 8800 GT SLI which came very close to the performance of the 9800 GX2 for a lot less cash. Certainly 8800 GT SLI offered a much better gaming experience than the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2. Considering that 8800 GT SLI is $200 less expensive than the 9800 GX2, and less than an ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 as well, makes it an excellent value. Still when it comes to “single” card solutions, the 9800 GX2 is faster than the current king of the mountain 8800 GTX, albeit tremendously more expensive as well.
Also released today is the nForce 790i SLI Ultra chipset, The Tech Report writes this chipset is pretty impressive but complains about some flaws like high power consumption, the not so impressive Gigabit Ethernet performance and a CPU-hungry auxiliary storage controller.
Yet the nForce 790 SLI Ultra still manages to unseat Intel's X48 Express from its throne as the reigning uber-high-end chipset thanks to two key features. The first and most obvious is support for SLI—a feature that Nvidia continues to deny its chipset competitors. With the new GeForce 9800 GX2 ready for effective four-way SLI configurations, the 790i SLI will be able to play host to what should be the highest performance graphics configuration on the market. That's a big deal for an ultra-exotic platform like the, er, Ultra. The 790i SLI also offers full support for the Enthusiast System Architecture, which is the best solution for open hardware monitoring and control that we've seen to date. ESA is more than just a specification; it's now backed up by real hardware and phenomenal Nvidia System Tools software.
Another 790i SLI review can be read at AnandTech. Their reviewer says his experience with the 790i were overwhelmingly positive.
Without a doubt, one of the best reasons for buying any NVIDIA-based motherboard is and continues to be the support for SLI graphics configurations. Today's 8800GTS 512MB (G92) prices are low enough to make SLI-enabled gaming systems appear (Ed: almost) mainstream. A quick price check at many major online retailers shows such cards for as little as $269 each - and sometimes significantly less with a mail-in rebate. It was not long ago that the very mention of the price of an SLI system would make your wallet cower in fear; G92 has definitely changed that for the better. NVIDIA tells us they are committed to providing sufficient product at launch, so expect to see 790i hit the shelves almost immediately. For those that are moving up from 680i/780i, don't forget to buy some DDR3. After that, it's an almost seamless transplant moving system components over from one board to the other.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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