BFG GeForce 9800 GTX H2OC review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 07/14/2008 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Well ... I just have to start the conclusion with the pricing. Everybody that water-cools their PC above mid-range level knows that it is a hideously expensive job to accomplish. This product is no exception. For the added money you have to put down for the pre-fitted and tested water-block you can pick up a high-end graphics card just as well, yet with standard cooling. I mean, I don't like it as much as you do. I wish these cards where only a couple of tenners more expensive, but that's just not the reality.
What I find interesting is that BFG is one of the few our there in the graphics arena to actually offer a water-cooled product based on a higher specced mid-range product. Typically the H2OC products are only to be found in high-end segment. So that's very commendable as R&D and Quality control is a very expensive process here. In the end though, the creepy thing is that this product is competing dead on with the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce 9800 GTX+ at a price significantly higher. That copper block, fitting and quality testing for a H2OC graphics card boils down to manual labor, and it is a very expensive process for a manufacturer to do. now since the 9800 GTX cards dropped in price significantly, it had an adverse side-effect on this one as well. It dropped from 439 USD towards roughly 349 USD in just a week time. Though still a lot, that does sound a lot better doesn't it ?
So my message here is .. though everybody focuses purely on every little fps they can squeeze out of their graphics card, no you do not buy that big chuck of copper for just gaming performance. It's more about the cooling itself, the x-factor, bragging rights, building something really nice. Try to think outside the box here please.
So allow me to exclude pricing out of the conclusion, as we all know .. you'll pay hardcore dough for this product.
What BFG also did really well was pre-overclocking the product for you. We spotted a 783 MHz core (ROP domain) clock frequency, 1944 MHz Shader domain frequency and 2322 MHz memory clock. There's no doubt in my mind that BFG had to increase voltages a tiny bit for this card, and that combined with high clocks pushes heat levels upwards.
Mind you that if you opt this cards, then please make very sure you do not add it to a crummy water-cooling setup, here's a few tips: I'm talking the good stuff here, dual-radiator, decent pump. If you have that, it's really easy to add this card to your setup and it will definitely be cooled enough. See though our water-cooling kit is pretty high-end, the temperatures of the product are still to be considered average. This is due to the overclock that BFG applied. Also please do it right, get the UV reflective coolant, some black (UV) lighting in the PC, the minute you turn that baby on you'll go ooooohhh.
The good thing there is that the performance will definitely increase from it. But .. the new GTX+ is roughly as fast as this overclocked product. So that is something you will need to keep in mind. And I would not be at all surprised to see BFG simply replace the entire 9800 GTX H2OC line with the new GTX+ based products.
So then, price wise compared to the standard cooled product this H2OC doesn't make any real sense, but admittedly at 365 USD .. I don't find it too pricy either. But hey a GeForce 9800 GTX still kicks ass, and with the BFG 9800 GTX 512MB H2OC ThermoIntelligence series you are bound to have a lot of fun. The value of a water-cooled product is hard to justify, however I just can't deny how extremely cool this card if you do everything right on that PC of yours. If you ask a generic person who did a project like shown today" was it worth it?" that person will answer, " Oh yeah .. every penny".
You'll also have to love the fact that despite slapping a big-ass chuck of copper on the PCB, you'll receive a life-time warranty (USA) on the product and 10 years in the EU which gives it an brilliant edge over the competition for sure. This is all about pimping and well .. pumping your rig, not cheap at all but once you power up that PC you'll notice how cool a setup like this is.
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|Product:||GeForce 9800 GTX H2OC (watercooled)|
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