|Gigabyte GV-NX98X1GHI-B GeForce 9800 GX2 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 25 March 2008|
Page 5 of 18
GeForce 9800 GX2 Closer Look
Here we are five pages into the article, and we're just now taking our first look at the new graphics card. Hopefully the specifications and myriad of features will interest you enough to use the 9800 GX2 for something other than video games, but we won't hold our breath. So without further delay, we can now concentrate our attention on the newly crowned king of the proverbial graphics performance hill.
First, let's state the obvious... the 9800 GX2 looks like a brick. There it is, I said it. NVIDIA holds a wealth of knowledge in areas of both product design and industry marketing, yet for some reason their newest products are beginning to look increasingly less exciting. But rather than reminisce over the similarities between the 9800 GX2 and products like the 8800 Ultra, let's get into our up-close look at the Gigabyte GV-NX98X1GHI-B video card to see what it offers.
Similar to the NVIDIA reference design, Gigabyte has sculpted their version of the GeForce 9800 GX2 with the same overall appearance. Utilizing a metal shell to encase the double card-slot sized GX2, the delicate electronics inside are kept safe from impact damage. In the past, accidental snags have removed critical electronic components from the PCB of older GeForce products, but those worries are all behind us now.
The GV-NX98X1GHI-B graphics card is a performance optimized high-end card on every level. Power is taken from the PCI Express host bus as well as the 8-pin and 6-pin PCI Express power connectors. Without any auxiliary power provided to the GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card, an LED on the bracket will shine red and the graphics card will not boot. In addition, the connector that is not adequately powered will turn red. Together this new functionality offers immediate feedback for enthusiasts concerned about providing adequate power to the GPU.
Look closely at the image above, and you'll notice a very small remenant resembling a PCI-Express interface blade at the top of the video card. On the opposite side of the 9800 GX2 is the working PCI-Express connection slot.
The GeForce 9800 GX2 isn't the first graphics card to utilize the 65nm process, nor support the high-bandwidth PCI-Express 2.0 bus; but it is the fastest. The original credit belongs to the 8800 GT, which is actually at the core of the 9800 GX2's architecture. Aside from this similarity, everything else inside is very different in design.
Gigabyte offers few differences from the NVIDIA reference design in their GV-NX98X1GHI-B product. Both offer the same identical GPU, GDDR-3, and shader clock specifications, and both utilize the exact same SmartFan active cooling design. Aside from the colorful themed picture on the top and bottom of the 9800 GX2, they are nearly one in the same.
Since the new GX2 was launched only days ago, it's not very surprising that most add-in card partners are following this trend of cloning the reference design. Eventually the market will see factory overclocked GX2, if NVIDIA allows them, but at this early stage they're non-existant.
The image above is of the "bottom" side of the Gigabyte GV-NX98X1GHI-B GeForce 9800 GX2. While it is practically identical in appearance to the "top" side of the video card, they are in face slightly different. At the bottom side of the card along the edge, there is a small removable plastic cover for the SLI bridge. Considering that the 9800 GX2 already uses two GPU's, this is makings for a quad-SLI configuration.
At the tail end of the Gigabyte 9800 GX2 there are two fasteners which are capped with adhesive rubber bumpers. The squared edges just barely keep the profile of this video card within ATX confinements, making the previous generations GeForce 8800 GTX and Ultra seem small comparison.
Please continue on to the next section as Benchmark Reviews literally uncovers the Gigabyte GV-NX98X1GHI-B GeForce 9800 GX2 video card for a closer inspection.