|ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 31 March 2008|
Page 17 of 17
ZOTAC ZT-98XES2P-FSP Conclusion
I might be a little too easy to please when it comes to retail packaging and graphics. I like color, but at the same time I want excitement. ZOTAC already has an advantage in that their color preferences align with some of my particular favorites. Since that's not enough to win me over, they are also very good at keeping the consumer informed by adding important product details and specifications on the packaging. The retail box offers an inviting design and attractive layout, along with some product data on the back. Like the other ZOTAC products we have reviewed here at Benchmark Reviews, there is an underlying sense that they are in tune with the visual attraction a consumer has with products.
When Benchmark Reviews tested the GeForce 9800 GX2 the boxed-up NVIDIA reference design was not incredibly appealing to me. Apparently I just needed to wait for the 9800 GTX design before I would see curves influence the product appearance. While I never really considered the entire pre-G92 GeForce 8800 series to be very attractive as a whole, primarily because of the awkward half-covered products, the 9800 GTX has finished what was started. Unlike the past generation of products, this GeForce video card does not offer LED lights as accents because they are included as a functional indication of hardware status.
In the not so distant past I have had to replace my GeForce 8800 GTX because of an errant SATA cable swiped off one of the capacitors. At that moment, I felt that NVIDIA definitely should have done something more to protect the electronics on their product. Unlike the higher-end 8800 series GeForce products, the 9800 GTX does not expose any electronic components. NVIDIA has engineered the GeForce 9800 GTX to sustain above-average abuse, and since there are no exposed electronic components (with except to the back side of the PCB) there is very little chance that you'll have to RMA this product because it falls apart on you. The plastic shell covering the 9800 GTX will work very well in cramped environments where the video card will be in contact with cables and components, so long as it can fit.
In regards to performance and functionality, ZOTAC's GeForce 9800 GTX really does deserve its #2 position in NVIDIA's video card product lineup. Although I personally feel that the core, shader, and memory clocks could have been higher, the post process compression truly does optimize the 512 MB of video frame buffer for high-resolution gaming. It doesn't come as a huge surprise that the GeForce 9800 GTX outperforms the older 8800 GTX in 1600x1200 Crysis with 16x Q AA by over 40%, since the G92 was built for intense gaming effects. If that wasn't enough, this video card comes ready to support full HDMI audio and video output for your high definition copyright protected material.
ZOTAC's ZT-98XES2P-FSP GeForce 9800 GTX has launched with a NewEgg price of $177.99. Considering that their least expensive 8800 GTX costs $339.99, the new ZOTAC 9800 GTX is starting to become more of a bargain.
In conclusion, I feel that the ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX has a lot more to offer gamers and enthusiast than we might first expect. For most video cards functionality is measured in only one application: video games. However, in rare cases (this being one of them) the 9800 GTX can suit more than just one purpose. The ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX includes native HDMI video output and offers digital audio output through the attached S/PDIF audio cable, making this the closest thing to fully-functional native HDMI that NVIDIA offers. Collectively rated, the G92 graphics processor offers full HDMI audio and video output, nearly 40% performance improvement in Crysis over an already-overclocked 8800 GTX (when AA is maxed), excellent cooling improvements, and triple-SLI functionality. I won't dispute that the results we recorded in most benchmarks were right in line with those of the 8800 GTX when lower post processing effects were used, but then again we are just now seeing high-demand video games reach the market with newly developed core gaming engines. While value is a relative subject, the performance and functionality appear to have some credence in relation to the product cost. If you're a gamer on a very tight budget, than the 8800 GT may be the best solution for you. But if you're considering DirectX 10 game play or you plan to use post processing effects like anti aliasing, the ZOTAC 9800 GTX is a great future-ready solution.
+ Great AA/AF performance for hard core gamers
- Excessive Thermal Interface Material between GPU and heatsink
- Expensive enthusiast product
- Lower clock speeds than other G92 products
- Large footprint full ATX form factor VGA space
Final Score: 8.85 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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