XFX 9800GX2 Quad SLI

The XFX 9800GX2

XFX 9800GX2
 
When the 8800GTX was released everyone was in awe at the sheer size of it. Well make no mistake the GX2 more than matches the dimensions of its stablemate. With a gloss black powdercoated finish to a metal outer casing and plush stickers that for once add to the appearence of the card than make it look tacky, the XFX 9800GX2 is certainly imposing. Its looks and size are also matched by its weight and this card will certainly add a few pounds to any PC you care to build.
 
9800GX2 9800GX2
 
9800GX2 9800gx2
 
As mentioned previously the 9800GX2 is a dual slot card with two PCB's sandwiched together to make a single card solution. I'm sure this will be debated as to whether this should indeed be classed as a single card, especially by those who enjoy benchmarking but for arguements sake I will be classing each card as just that - a single card.
 
 
 
Above left we see the card with the shroud removed. The shroud itself is a very sturdy affair protecting the internals of the GX2 from all sides and with only the golden fingers of the SLI and PCIe tabs protruding. Static shock damage should be prevented as long as you keep your pinkies away from the said areas. Above right we see the rear of the lower card which unsurpisingly is identical to the top pcb.
 
 
 
Connecting both PCB's is a small bridging SLI ribbon cable. Cooling this monster of a card is a large fan that fills the PCB sandwich and pulls air through both the top and bottom PCB's, pushing the cool air over a copper heatsink that is connected to both GPU's. The hot air is then ejected both from the back and side of the card through the shroud.
 
 
 
With most high-end hardware these days, a powerful PSU is going to be required. Above left we see that both 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe cables will be required for each card - a sure sign of the power draw these cards will have. Q-tec should look elsewhere as each board is rated at a max 197W making near 400W for Quad SLI alone. Add to that the power consumption of a 790i board, Quad core processor and the other peripherals and it becomes clear that only the best PSU's should be used as a powerplant for these beasts. Above right we see the 4 DVI ports of the cards as well as HDMI connectors. It should be noted that at the time of writing, SLI is still not compatible with dual displays so if you want these babies to power multiple monitor displays each card will have to operate individually.
 
 
 
Once slotted in the XFX 790i Ultra motherboard the picture becomes complete. I do appreciate it when everything just 'matches'. Call me picky but I despise gaudy colours on hardware and the design of both the 790i and the GX2's in moody black with just the odd splash of 'NVidia green' is right up my street when it comes to hardware design. The whole setup just looks so classy, yet imposing and while holding one of the cards I couldn't help feeling that this is a quality high-end product. The absence of tacky 'cartoony' stickers that adorn so many graphics cards these days coupled with the sleek black shrouds and the weight of the cards gave me a sense of pride and anticipation of things to come....
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Most Recent Comments

22-06-2008, 10:49:22

w3bbo
With matured drivers we take a look at where your money should go with regards to a Quad GPU setup. XFX 9800GX2's or ATI 3870X2's.

22-06-2008, 11:31:57

nepas
nice review mate,and very impressive results.However I can safely say that there is no way I could justify spending that amount on gfx cards,but would love to try it out

22-06-2008, 11:49:45

w3bbo
Yeah it's alot of money to fork out on GPU's and I don't think I could justify paying that much but before doing the review I was more than content with my quadfire setup...now I have my doubts after playing with the Quad SLI setup.

22-06-2008, 12:01:34

cuprasport
Very nice mate very in depth

whens the 4870 crossfire and 280gtx reviews?

22-06-2008, 12:07:58

StevenG
nice review... shows everything i wanted to see here.. too bad i cant afford the gx2's. 48*0's should be good though. wouldnt mind seeing a review comparing these to the G260/280

StevenG

22-06-2008, 12:09:30

ionicle
looks good

but yea, a 4870 in crossfire also would have added nicely to the comparison

but i'm guessing you can only do so much

22-06-2008, 12:10:03

Luigi
Nice, you can really see quad sli make its own at 2560x1600

22-06-2008, 14:42:05

w3bbo
Cheers. Yeah it would be nice to test the latest and greatest , especially in SLI/CrossfireX - watch this space.

As a side note would you all prefer the res to be turned down a little as I know not everyone has 24-30" screens (although you should!).

22-06-2008, 16:33:41

FarFarAway
Nice review again Rich I think the price is far too high even for the half decent high level performance seen here to be honest

Plus those babies get majorly hot and majorly loud

23-06-2008, 05:45:22

Rastalovich
One thing that bothers me is how the gx2 takes 2 slots and the single pcb cards take 2 slots.

23-06-2008, 10:22:20

w3bbo
Basically both GPU's are still cooled efficiently as the GX2 has one large cooler attached to both cores(one either side of the cooler) rather than each core having a separate cooler. The downside to this is that the heatsink needs alot of air to be passed through it which in the GX2's case means more noise.

23-06-2008, 11:24:19

Luigi
What screen you on webbo? a 30" im guessing... Nice review I can see its not really worth it for me on 24, unless I add loads of AA

23-06-2008, 13:38:49

w3bbo
30" although as the results show a 24" would also be affected though not as much as the res is scaled down.

23-06-2008, 13:39:45

Luigi
:O lucky bugger
Reply
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