XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 Black edition review

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3 - XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 Black edition board & bundle

XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 Black edition

The XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 BE (black edition) card is as stated a pre-overclocked version of the reference model as discussed in the previous chapter. So where the reference models have a core, shader processor and memory frequency of 600, 512 and 2000 MHz respectively the Black Edition runs a vast amount faster. The core frequency of both the GPUs utilized are clocked at 700 MHz, the shader processors at 1674 MHz and the memory at 2106 MHz. We can easily verify this by dumping the BIOS registers:

$0100000000 Graphics core : G92 revision A2 (128sp)
$0100000001 Hardwired ID : 0600 (ROM strapped to 0604)
$0100000002 Memory bus : 256-bit
$0100000003 Memory type : DDR3 (RAM configuration 00)
$0100000004 Memory amount : 524288KB
$0100000100 Core clock domain 0 : 702.000MHz
$0100000101 Core clock domain 1 : 1674.000MHz
$0100000006 Memory clock : 1053.000MHz (2106.000MHz effective)
$0100000007 Reference clock : 27.000MHz

Next to the higher default clocks there are some other benefits to be found. First off you'll have two DVI connectors at your disposal, yet also a HDMI connector. Great feature. All connections are dual-link HDCP enabled outputs. Both HDMI and DVI support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) which will be a requirement for protected content. In the long run; the card would support DisplayPort connectors fine as well, this obviously being board-partner dependant.

Fact is that given the right circumstances (resolution, image quality, overall PC performance) this GX2 will beat one GeForce 8800 Ultra by a significant margin. And that makes things really interesting. What's also interesting is that the 9800 GX2 is SLI compatible. That's right, it is possible to combine two GX2's together and set them up in SLI. That way you will have four GPUs rendering your games.

Included in the box you'll find:

  • GeForce 9800 GX2 1024 MB BE model
  • Driver CD
  • Assains Creed (Full game)
  • SVideo cable
  • 6-pin to Molex power cable
  • manual / quick install guide
  • VGA->DVI dongle (two).
  • HDMI adapter
  • SPIDIF cable (to output digital sound to HDMI).

XFX GeForce 9800 GX2 Black edition

The culprit then, the product comes at a sales price of roughly 499 EUR and will carry a 2 year warranty. With the regular product now selling at roughly 439 EUR, that might be a too big of a difference as the reality here is that the overclocked product, might only be 10%-15% faster.

Other then that, great features, okay bundle. I'm missing two items though, at this price I feel XFX should kick in a HDMI cable, and I'm completely missing the 8-pin power connector/converter. If you do not have a PSU with 8-pin power connector .. you are screwed. As powering up this card with merely two 6-pin connectors will not work.

8800 Ultra
8800 GTX
8800 GTS 512MB GeForce 9800 GX2 BE XFX GeForce 9800 GX2
Stream (Shader) Processors 128 128 128 128x2 128x2
Core Clock (MHz) 612 575 650 600 700
Shader Clock (MHz) 1512 1350 1625 1512 1674
Memory Clock (MHz) x2 1080 900 800 1000 1053
Memory amount 768 MB 768 MB 512 MB 512 MBx2 512 MBx2
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
HDCP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Two Dual link DVI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

We'll slowly start up the actual test, first we'll look at power consumption, heat levels and noise. Then we'll show you a thing or two in our photo-shoot after which we'll obviously fire off the hottest games of 2008 at the card to see if it can actually deliver what it's supposed to do. Next page please.

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