|Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+ 1GB Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Ronald Tibbetts and Olin Coles|
|Monday, 13 October 2008|
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NE/9800TXT302 Detailed Features
In our last section, we skimmed over the outer skin of Palit's unique-looking Sonic GeForce 9600 GT. With a basic understanding of what you'll get on the outside, we're ready to get inside the product and dissect the technology. This information will be very helpful for those hardware enthusiasts and overclockers willing to void their warranty and potentially ruin their expensive product in order to tweak it's electronics. This information is for entertainment purposes only, and not a recommendation to disassemble your product or perform modifications.
The G94 chip features sixteen render back-end units (ROP) with full support for 128-bit high-dynamic-range rendering and NVIDIA's exclusive 16x Coverage Sampling Anti-aliasing (CSAA) algorithm. The new ROP compression system has also been enhanced to improve performance at extreme resolutions such as 2560 x 1600. The enhanced compression will help keep memory usage in check and improve performance in high resolution, anti-aliased scenarios.
One thing has become clear: the Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+ 1GB graphics card (SKU: NE/9800TXT302) is practically identical in appearance to the Palit 9600 GT 1GB Sonic NE/960TSX0202. This is a very good thing, dispite how it may sound. The Palit 9800 GT Super+ offers excellent after-market cooling to both sides of the PCB, which translates into more stable gaming and potentially higher overclocking.
While there are actually a few rare 256 MB versions of the GeForce 9800 GT which try to cut corners, you will usually find 512 MB of video frame buffer on most products from this family. This is where Palit asserts itself to outshine the competition and offer enthusiasts something a bit more forward-thinking, because their Super+ version of the 9800 GT comes equipped with 1024 MB (1 GB) of GDDR3 memory clocked at 900 MHz (1800 MHz DDR) on a 256-bit bus.
All of that extra speed will generate some heat, which is why Palit also integrates a custom anodized aluminum plate to function as a RAM heatsink. A total of eight Samsung GDDR3 modules line the outer perimeter of the printed circuit board, bearing the Samsung 807 K4J52324QE-BJ08 part number. Hardware enthusiasts should note that these same vRAM modules were also used on late-edition GeForce 8800 Ultra's. This explains how a mid-level model can achieve higher clock speeds than the top GeForce products.
As I prepared to disassemble the Palit 9800 GT Sonic edition video card, I made note of the similarities between this PCB and that of the 8800 GT. Aside from the some very minor components, the design appeared nearly identical to the last generation; if anything there was very little PCB redesign needed on NVIDIA's part. Once I had carefully removed a few screws from the rear corners, and one more screw on the header panel, the shroud came apart from the Palit 9800 GT with a light pull. I immediately realized how much additional engineering went into Palit's dual heat-pipe cooling system.
The GeForce 9800 GT (G92b GPU) is manufactured using 55nm technology similar to the architecture used in the GeForce 9800 GTX+. Both of these NVIDIA products utilize the same 9-series architecture and transistor advances over the older G92 GPUs which they replace.
Since the Super+ 9800 GTs core is only 600 MHz, there are several close competitors that exceed this clock speed. The shader clock hums along at 1500 MHz, with 112 cores working to their potention. So when you begin to consider that the Palit version of the GeForce 9800 GT comes with twice as much video frame buffer as the others, you might start to realize that the Super+ is more of a little engine that could.
This concludes our in-depth look into the Palit NE/9800TXT302, which has revealed several interesting discoveries about the hardware and the assembly process. The 9800 GT is a good-looking graphics card, but from here on out the 1 GB Super+ will have to put up some impressive results or be put down as a failed attempt at boosting a mid-level SKU into top-shelf product offerings. In our next section, Benchmark Reviews begins testing on the Palit GeForce 9800 GT video card.