Product: nVIDIA 9800 GTX
Company: nVIDIA
Authour: ChrisRay
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: April 1st, 2008
Performance Testing


Oblivion Performance

Oblivion 1920x1080
Oblivion 1920x1080

Performance Thoughts: The 9800 GTX pulls out a slight lead against the older 8800 GTX setup, also pulling ahead of the 8800 GTX SLI setup and a single 9800 GX2. The 3-Way and Quad SLI systems are completely CPU bound when we enable 16xCSAA and, by turning on 16xQ, you can see that 9800 GTX 3-Way SLI pulls ahead of the 8800 GTX Tri-SLI setup by a small margin, but still falls behind the mighty 9800 GX2 Quad SLI configuration. Still, every configuration tested was able to deliver an enjoyable experience.

Unreal Tournament 3 Performance

Unreal Tournament 3 1920x1080
Unreal Tournament 3 1920x1080

Performance Thoughts: A single 9800 GTX pulls ahead of the 8800 GTX in this game, also managing to hold a consistent lead in both SLI and 3-Way SLI configurations. At these resolutions the performance advantage is roughly 10%. The 9800GTX SLI configuration is also able to pull ahead of the 9800 GX2 by a slight margin due to its superior bandwidth and shader performance, but the 3-Way SLI configuration comes up short of 9800 GX2 Quad SLI with its superior raw rendering power.

Serious Sam 2 Performance

Serious Sam 2 1920x1080
Serious Sam 2 1920x1080

Performance Thoughts: As seen in our previous investigations, SS2 is mostly CPU bound in SLI configurations @ 16xCSAA. A single 9800 GTX pulls slightly ahead of the 8800 GTX and, when enabling 16xQ, the 9800 GTX sees the same performance deficit as the 9800 GX2 when compared to the 8800 GTX. This is likely a result of the of the memory deficit and reduced bandwidth available on the 9800 GTX card. Both the 9800GX2 Quad setup and the 9800 GTX 3-Way configuration must yield the performance crown to the 3-Way 8800GTX SLI with 16xQ enabled in this game. Ironically ,the 9800 GTX 3-Way SLI configuration is the best performer for 16xCSAA.  However, to put things into perspective a single 9800 GTX is able to play this game @ 1920x1080 with 16xAA enabled with zero difficulty.

Bioshock Performance

Bioshock 1920x1080
Bioshock 1920x1080

Performance Thoughts: Like Unreal Tournament 3, Bioshock's performance is strongly tied to shader performance. The 9800 GTX's superior shader performance allows it to pull ahead of the 8800 GTX in nearly every situation; even with 16xQ enabled the 9800 GTX solution is superior to aging Geforce 8800 GTX card. The 9800 GTX SLI configuration is also able to pull ahead of the 9800GX2 solution, but 3-Way 9800 GTX setup can't keep up with 9800 GX2 Quad SLI.

Crysis Performance

Crysis 1920x1080
Crysis 1920x1080

Performance Thoughts: Crysis is a very shader bound title, allowing the 9800 GTX's stronger shader performance shine through here. A single 9800 GTX is able to pull ahead of the 8800 GTX while, once again, the 9800 GTX SLI setup is able to outperform a single 9800 GX2. Crysis has yet to show itself to be the strongest SLI scaling software and, due to this weakness, the 9800 GTX's superior single GPU performance allows it to pull slightly ahead of the 9800 GX2 Quad SLI setup. A strong showing for the 9800 GTX shader performance in any case.

Notes: With soft shadows set to high the 9800 GX2 and 9800 GTX configurations all fall down to 5 FPS range and the 8800 GTX Tri SLI Configuration is able to hold a 22 FPS advantage. Even with that advantage the 8800 GTX 3-Way SLI configuration has unbearable mouse lag due to the low performance of the single GPU. However it should be noted that this is one spot where the 8800 GTX's extra memory gives it an advantage.

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