ASUS EN9800GT 512mb PCI-E
Test setup and Overclocking
For this review, we will be using a test setup consisting of parts normally found in a mid- to high-end PC. A common mistake made when benchmarking graphics cards is that the rest of the PC system isn't sufficient enough to test the GPU to its limits. This results in a bottleneck situation, where the system can only run at the speed of its slowest component. For this reason, the test configuration chosen below has been specially selected to give each of the graphics card on test the headroom they require in order to produce the best results. To ensure we had no CPU bottlenecks we also overclocked the Q6600 to 3.6ghz for all of the tests. A fresh Vista installation along with Service Pack 1 updates were installed for each video card, along with the latest video card drivers available at the time of the review.
With stock clockspeeds set to 600Mhz on the core and 1800mhz on the memory, I was eager to see how much further I could clock the EN9800GT. Using the latest version of Rivatuner, I prepared the overclock by setting the fan to 100% which surprisingly didn't increase the volume level too much. I then went about overclocking the core and memory reaching 710Mhz and 2000Mhz respectively. Any further pushing and 3dMark 06 showed instability by either loss of detection of the card, BSOD or artefacting.
Over 100Mhz on the core and 200Mhz on the memory saw the 3DMark score increase by over a thousand points. Nothing to be scoffed at I'm sure you will agree. Temperatures were kept well under control with the 'Glaciator' cooler topping out at 72c while running 3DMark 06. I was also pleasantly surprised at how quiet the cooler was regardless of the stress the core was under.
After setting the clocks back to stock levels I then ran a group of benchmarks to see how well the EN9800GT faired against its closest competitor, the HD4850 also from Asus. While I don't expect the 9800GT to make any great shakes, as it costs £25 less than the HD4850, it will certainly be interesting to see how the 9800GT fairs with regard to Cost Per Frame - a key factor in the mid-range sector.
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