Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: March 20th, 2008
Leaks, rumors and controversy concerning Nvidia's multi-GPU configurations abound. The debut of the new 9800 GX2 provides a great opportunity to address and discuss these concerns. Join us as we preview Nvidia's latest multi-GPU offering: the 9800 GX2.
Setup and Changes
With the general trend towards widescreen HDTV gaming, we've decided up the ante to answer the question of "How will games perform on an HDTV?", as well as providing a more GPU limited experience with tests run at a 1920x1080 resolution. The 9800 GX2 comes equipped with a direct HDMI adaptor so many users may find themselves running this resolution on their HDTVs. We used an Olevia 27" Widescreen HDTV for all of the testing in this review.
- Test Setup
E6300 @ 3.2 Ghz
XFX Nforce 790I @ 1828 FSB
2 Gigs Crucial Ballistic DDR3 clocked @ 2000 MHz
Windows Vista 64 bit
- Introducing the NVIDIA 9800 GX2
Core Clock: 600 MHz
Stream Processors: 256 (128 per GPU)
Stream Processor Clocks: 1.5 GHz
Texture Address Units: 128 (64 per GPU)
Total Memory: 1 Gigabyte ((512 per GPU) 512 Megabytes available frame buffer))
Bus Width: 512 (256 per GPU)
Memory Clocks: 1 GHz (2 GHZ DDR)
The G92 architecture has several improvements to PureVideo which provides better acceleration and lower CPU utilization. These improvements can be seen on 8800 GT, 8600 GT, and 8800 GTS 512 cards that currently occupy the market as well. The 8800 GTX, 8800 Ultra and 8800 GTS 640 do not support these enhanced GPU accelerated codecs. The 9800 GX2 also supports "Dual Stream" which allows for the most advanced forms of HD processing to occur on the GPU level such as "Picture in a picture"
The 9800 GX2 requires a 580 watt PSU for normal operation, which assumes you're running a Quad core processor with other high end components. For those planning to operate two 9800 GX2 cards, an 850 power supply is recommended. The 9800 GX2 is also the first card from Nvidia to require an 8 pin power connector: this is not an optional requirement. The 9800 GX2 will not function with two 6 pin power connectors connected to it; you must connect one 8 pin and one 6 pin for normal operation. Nvidia is working with both graphics card manufacturers and power supply vendors to ensure compatibility and offer adapters where necessary. See Nvidia's list of Compatible Power Supplies for more information.
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