XFX 9800GX2 Quad SLI

Conclusion

Conclusion

The way its meant to be played?
Well I think the results speak for themselves. It's quite clear that a Quad SLI setup will currently demolish any other GPU setup currently on the market. I guess that dosn't come to much of a surprise to many as most are now aware of the current lead Nvidia hold over ATI. What did surprise me is how much better the Quad SLI handled Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering. While the Quad SLI just shrugged its shoulders, the 3870x2 cringed and cowered when the settings were applied which is a real shame as without the AA and AF settings the 3870x2 CrossfireX setup is a solid performer and can handle anything out there.
 
However those who want the best and desire maxed out settings with AA and AF need only look toward these results which show the GX2 Quad SLI setup standing triumphantly. Not only is it astounding in Quad SLI but the XFX card is also a very capable single card solution, in fact it can still holds its own against the G200 cards that have recently been released. The G280 might overtake the GX2 with more mature drivers and would also likely outclass it in SLI but with Nvidia's slow release of drivers I wouldn't hold your breath. With this new release, the price of the GX2 is now becoming more affordable to those mere mortals among us; so much so that the bang-per-buck crown the ATI card held is now not so secure.
 
So is it win/win for Nvidia and specifically XFX?. Well yes and no. Performance-wise there is no doubt the 9800GX2 Quad SLI setup is currently unbeatable, however this can come at a price. Nvidia are still very slow with driver updates and the buggy reponse in Crysis, getting the setup to perform as required almost had me throwing the damn setup out of the window. However as the cards are not mine to keep and fearing a horses head on my pillow should I make off with them, I ventured on and gradually sorted the problems out, something that wasn't required with ATI. Having said that they are a dramatic improvement over the previous Quad SLI setup which Nvidia failed to resolve and despite the numerous rants and head scratching coming from our test labs, I would happily purchase these cards in a heartbeat had I the funds to do so.
 
So in short ATI still have some catching up to do if they are to dethrone their arch-enemy and if they can sort the AA/AF issues that crippled the CrossfireX setup then I would be very cagey about placing any bets in the near future, especially as rumours are beginning to surface regarding the excellent performance of the 4000 series cards. For now thought the 9800GX2 is the heavyweight champion and it is going to take a very fast card(s) to outperform it.
 
The XFX 9800GX2's used in today's review can be purchased over at Scan.co.uk for a rather eye watering £325 each.
 
 
The Good
- Nothing can currently touch its performance.
- Quad SLI is very easy to setup.
- Looks great.
 
The Mediocre
- Power requirements.
- The cooling solution dumps heat into the case.
- The price of 2 cards is going to leave little, if any change from £600 although prices are beginning to fall.
 
The Bad
- Driver support still lacking in the NVidia department.
 
 
Overclock3D Performance Award
 
Were it not for the price of a Quad SLI setup I would not hesitate in giving the cards the much coveted Editors choice award. The Quad SLI setup does however deserve the performance award as despite the difficulties I had in getting Crysis to perform as it should, I believe it was a driver issue and not the cards themselves and once working as they should I was blown away with how good they really are. So regardless of the price, if you want the best you are simply going to have to pay for it.
 
 
Many thanks to XFX for providing the 9800GX2 cards and 790i Ultra motherboard for this review.
Discuss this review in our forums.
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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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