Asus 9800 GX2 1GB (EN9800GX2)

A detailed look

The card - close up
The 9800 GX2 is a huge card. No really, it's massive. It sits at a rather large 10.5" (L) x 3.75" (W) x 1.5" (H) and is pretty heavy being wrapped in a metal shell outer casing.
9800 gx2 and hd3870 x2  asus 9800 gx2 vs hd3870 x2
As you can see, the Nvidia card is equal in length to the rather huge HD3870 X2.
9800 GX2 REAR  asus 9800 gx2
The 9800 GX2 is totally covered in metal all the way around. The dual PCB's are enclosed and out of view, making the card not look so much like a dual PCB card. This does bring me to thinking that Nvidia could have left out the extra metal in the casing and saved some cost, but I suppose it does integrate the cooling solution.
It's a little odd that Asus have only gone for a CGI character on the side of the GX2 and not some sort of Asus branding there. Still they've more than made up for that on the side of the card.
asus 9800 gx2  9800 gx2 side on
As I said earlier, Asus have emblazoned their logo on the side of this particular 9800 GX2 on a cool looking gold plate.
 9800 gx2 power  asus 9800 gx2 rear end
The 9800 GX2 needs two lots of PCI-e power: 1x 8-PIN and 1x 6-PIN. This is a first for Nvidia cards and a little frustrating for those who want to use their existing PSU's. However, Asus have thoughtfully included an adaptor for 2 x 6-PIN PCI-e power to 8-PIN PCI-e power. Notice right by the top power port is a rubber grommet: this is where the sound for HDMI sound is carried through.
asus 9800 gx2 outputs  HDMI out
The 9800 GX2 carries a fully fledged HDCP enabled HDMI port, along with two DVI ports. This is a great thing for those with HDTV's wanting to plug their PC into them.
SLI bridge
An SLI bridge adorns the 9800 GX2's side, which means 9800 GX2 SLI....which should be nice...
The Cooler
The cooler on the GX2 is half sensible and half strange in my opinion. The rear vent blows out hot air from the fan that sits in the middle of both the PCBs. However, the card also blows hot air out of the top of the cooler. This means that not only does your room heat up when the cards loaded, but all that hot air gets trapped in your case too. This is a big concern for those who have small cases and I would go as far to say that it could get so hot that it would affect other components.
9800 gx2 fan
cooler  GPU design
Having said that, Nvidia have designed the 9800 GX2 pretty cleverly. The heat from one GPU doesn't affect the other too much and the whole thing looks like one card, rather than two. The cards face each other in this cooling solution with the fan in the middle moving air.
The fan on the GX2 sits between both PCBs and blows out hot air when the card is fully loaded. This is pretty effective as far as temps are concerned on the GPU's:
GPU 157°C68°C
GPU 259°C76°C
This isn't too bad, but remember that the card was out of a case with an ambient temperature of 23.4°C. The hot air blowing out of the cooler and what would be into the case is 55°C, which would quickly lead to a very hot case.
The sound coming out of the cooler is very low, I was impressed that even at load and out of the case there was only a very slight noise coming from it. This is definitely due to the fan being throttled down. Whether this is a good balancer for the sheer amount of heat omitted from the card, I'll leave up to you.
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Most Recent Comments

24-03-2008, 07:42:40

Good performance for a single card, but way 2 expensive atm. Great review as always Kempez.

The demonstrably cheaper link does work for me on the last page.Quote

24-03-2008, 07:47:57

Super effort as always Kemp. Although I would have liked to have seen an 3870 X2 included as a comparison instead of the 3850.Quote

24-03-2008, 07:50:38

Thanks mate, fixed

PV - so would I, check the test page for why it wasn'tQuote

24-03-2008, 07:54:54

Good review, it did keep up with the Tri-SLI in some cases.. But it is very expensive.Quote

24-03-2008, 07:57:57

Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
Thanks mate, fixed

PV - so would I, check the test page for why it wasn't
Ah yes my bad. I did look at all the pic pages and then skipped to the benchmarks. Tis a pity the X2 didn't behaveQuote

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