XFX 9800GX2 Quad SLI

Installation & Test Setup

Installation
 
I don't normally endeavour to go into the specifics of 'how to' concerning installations but I feel this may be of some use to anyone wishing to go SLI or indeed Quad SLI.
 
 
The installation was really very easy. I was actually quite surprised at how simple it was considering the headaches I have had in the past with the 7950 GX2 Quad SLI. I simply installed Windows Vista with one card, installed the relevent updates and chipset drivers and the latest graphics driver from NVidia, when prompted to reboot I did so. Next I shutdown the system, inserted the 2nd 9800GX2, attached the SLI bridge and PCIe cables and booted back up. SLI capability was detected straight away.
 
 
Enabling SLI was again straightforward. The Installed Nvidia control panel with the 175.16 driver release from NVidia was a breeze to use and after applying the change from do not use SLI to Enable SLI the screen went blank a few times as the drivers were installed for the second card. I should note that when the first driver is installed it actually installs the driver twice, once for each GPU and so it seemed the same thing was happening when the second card was installed. So after the snap crackle and pop installation procedure I enabled the SLI visual indicator to check all was well and sure enough Quad SLI was working!
 
 
Test setup
 
As we will be benchmarking a 'top of the range' GPU setup it's only right that the rest of the components should be specced to match. The Q6600 was overclocked to 3.8ghz in order to erradicate any CPU bottlenecks allowing both test rigs to 'breathe more easily' as it were. Unfortunately we didn't have a DDR3 Intel motherboard capable of PCIe 16x and crossfire, however the Crucial ballistix 8500 were overclocked to compensate and with lower timings than DDR3 so the differences would be negligable but this should be taken into consideration when comparing the results of both systems. Other than that the systems are identical to one another and should make for quite a pairing when the two go head-to-head.
 
 
 
 
As you can see below the cards are very closely matched on paper with the 3870x2 having a higher core clockspeed and the 9800GX2 having a higher memory clockspeed. The 3870x2 is however £80 cheaper at the time of writing so ATI have a clear advantage in the price war.
 
 
 
Lets take a look at how the benchmarks went....
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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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