The 9800 GTX represents a refresh of the G92 chip and as such it's hard to get overly excited by it. Whilst performance is good and certainly edges out the GTS and the GT G92 parts, at points the G80 8800 GTX gets a one up on the young pretender to its crown.
Asus have bundled and priced the card to sell at an RRP of £227, with Microdirect stocking it at a decent £223
. Whilst some G92 8800 GT's have dropped in price, the £200 mark is a good place for a graphics card to be so it's sensible move by Nvidia positioning the 9800 GTX in this price segment.
This brings me to another good point: availability. The cards are out there and sitting in the shops. Nvidia slightly delayed the launch of the card to enable partners to get it out there to the e-tailers in time for launch and you can actually buy the card as of today, which is very good.
In the benchmarks I ran the 9800 GTX seemed to make gameplay generally a little more smooth and noticeably Crysis was a fair bit smoother with no jerky frame jumps that you sometimes see. The thing is, the performance isn't "next gen"....it's just not impressive and overclocking an 8 series G92 chip will get you pretty much the same performance.
So herein lies my problem: what do I give the card? It's good, but not very "new".
I'm going to give Nvidia some leeway and say that if you have an 8 series G92 (or 8800 GTX) card then I would keep it, but if you're after a new card and want a good performing, well priced mid-high end GPU then get the 9800 GTX: you won't be disappointed.
The Asus 9800 GTX gets a "Recommended" Award along with a "Gamers Choice" Award for being a good all-rounder and playing all of the games benchmarked very well.
+ Excellent performance throughout
+ Smoother gameplay
+ Good heatsink design
+ Fairly quiet
+ Good looking
+ Decent overclockability
* Very close in performance to 8 series cards
* Not a fantastic bundle
- An Nvidia marketing stunt??
Thanks to Asus for the review sample
Want one? Happy with your 8 series card? Want to see ATI smash the 9800 GTX in their next gen cards? Let us know here.