The NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ graphics card was announced the same day that AMD released the Radeon HD 4850 series graphics card and performance on the card was found to be solid. It was able to perform better than the Radeon HD 4850, but it cost more and used significantly more power at idle and was slower than the Radeon HD 4870. The one highlight of the GeForce 9800 GTX+ that couldn’t be ignored was the stellar overclocking that could be had for those that wanted to squeeze the most performance out of this graphics card. With new graphics cards coming out on a near monthly basis, more focus has been given to cards like the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 and the GeForce 9800 GTX+ has been slowly losing ground in the lime light. How could this be though? For a cutting edge graphics card with a refined core thanks to a die shrink and the ability to run NVIDIA PhysX GPU acceleration as well as CUDA-enabled applications like F@H, one would think these cards would be flying off the store shelves. The original price on the GeForce 9800 GTX+ was $229, but today one of these cards can be had for just $152.99 after a $40 rebate. Since it’s already proven that the GeForce 9800 GTX+ can’t win the top spot on the benchmark charts, what can be done to put it back in the spotlight?
Our friends over at ECS Elitegroup figured putting two cards and a water cooling kit together in a nice little package with a popular PC game would be just the right thing. When I first got the ECS Hydra GeForce 9800 GTX+ the first thing I noticed was the size of the retail box. It was the largest retail box I have seen since I started Legit Reviews back in 2002. It has to be that large though as inside are a ton of parts that you need to build one of the sickest water cooled SLI setups around.
Inside the ECS retail box you’ll find two GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards with pre-assembled Thermaltake waterblocks, the Thermaltake Bigwater 760is watercooling system, and all the water tubes, connectors and coolant needed to get the setup running. ECS offers a two year warranty that covers parts and labor with all of its graphics cards which should include the Thermaltake blocks and water cooler that comes with this kit. The first year of the warranty is handled by the retailer where you purchased the card, while the second year is covered by ECS directly. With this kit having an MSRP of $519.99, a warranty longer than a year is a must.
For $519.99 you get a bundle that not too many cards come with today since it has a game title! Included in the bundle are four, 4-pin molex conectors to 6-pin PCIe power adapters, two DVI to VGA connectors, two S/PDIF cables, two DVI to HDMI adapters, a full length SLI bridge and a full DVD copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2. If that isn’t enough, the bundle also includes the user’s guide, instruction manual, and the driver CD. The bundle is impressive, so let’s take a closer look at the parts that make up the kit.