XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card Review

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NVIDIA Releases The GeForce 9800 GX2

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Remember the old GeForce 7950 GX2 video card that we looked at back in the summer of 2006? It’s been nearly two years since the GeForce 7950 GX2 became the first video card to utilize two GPUs, each mounted on its own dedicated PCB and using a single PCI Express slot. This gave birth to the term Quad-SLI, but in June of 2006 the design came out at the wrong time.  Just five months later in November 2006 the GeForce 8800 GTX was launched and changed the landscape for gaming by raising the bar when it comes to performance with a feature list that is still impressive today. The gamers of the time were waiting for DirectX 10 graphics cards to arrive and when the GeForce 8 series landed the GeForce 7950 GX2 was a thing of the past. The GeForce 7950 GX2 silently went away and Quad-SLI was seldom talked about on forums let alone being seen at LAN parties around the country.

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It’s been nearly two years since NVIDIA has produced a dual PCB video card design and they feel they have a winner in the works with the GeForce 9 series. One of the reasons NVIDIA feels so strongly about the GeForce 9800 GX2 is because they have a whole new approach at how the video game frames are being rendered. The first generation Quad SLI technology seen on the GeForce 7950 GX2 back in 2006, used a hybrid mode of split frame rendering (SFR) and alternate frame rendering (AFR) to enable concurrent rendering on four GPUs. With the latest games utilizing complex shaders, inter-frame effects, and multi-pass rendering, SFR becomes less efficient.

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The GeForce 9800 GX2 features a new video bridge and a re-architected driver to allow for four frames to be rendered concurrently, but there is a catch. The OS framework required to support four frames in-flight is only available in Windows Vista. With the new 4-way AFR technique, geometry, texture, and shader processing all benefit from GPU scaling. Now that frame rendering was taken care of with n-Way SLI architecture and the drivers, the focus then turned to horse power.  For that, NVIDIA went with a pair of G92-450-A2 cores, which should be plenty of power for gaming.

The GeForce 9800 GX2 Specifications:

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The GeForce 9800 GX2 is the latest flagship graphics card by NVIDIA and comes with a pair of GeForce G92 GPU’s and 1GB of GDDR3 memory on board. With a total of about 1.5 billion transistors it will give the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 a run for its money. The new GeForce 9800 GX2 features 256 processor cores each independently operating at 1,500 MHz. Counting conservatively (2 flops per processor core), this amounts to an unprecedented 768 gigaflops of raw shading horsepower. In texturing performance, it can filter 76.8 billion pixels per second, or 190% more than the Radeon 3870 X2. In raw specifications across the board, it is vastly improved over its predecessor, the GeForce 8800 Ultra. But with a price of $599-$649, it launches at the same price that the GeForce 8800 GTX did back in 2006.  With more than twice the shading power and a vastly improved PureVideo HD engine, the GeForce 9800 GX2 is something that all enthusiasts need to take a closer look at.

Now that we know what the GeForce 9800 GX2 is all about, we can look at what the XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 looks like.

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