Okay, so it’s not the biggest gun that NVIDIA‘s got in their arsenal yet, but seeing as AMD is solidly taking the lead in the performance per unit price race, this was expected. You might recall that the NVIDIA GeForce 9800 wasn’t as greatly embraced by the 8800 GTX crowd when the first benched numbers spilled on the Internet. NVIDIA took the G92-spec card and made two SKUs out of the process: a 9800 GTX+ and a 9800 GT. More at the full story.
At the 9800 generation, the fight isn’t over. NVIDIA‘s GeForce 9800 GTX may have been beaten back by the solid ATI Radeon HD 4870 and HD 4850s, but they’ve taken the GTX and spawned two new beautiful beasts: the 9800 GT and the 9800 GTX+.
The collective uproar we’re getting from mainstream hardware news streams is that NVIDIA’s newest SKUs on the 9800 line are edging on the bang-for-the-buck race, facing the direct competition head on.
Take the 9800 GTX+ for instance. While the 9800 GTX was recommended to anyone already not owning an 8800 Ultra, GTX, or GT, the 9800 GTX+ can be perceived as those people’s next stepping stone to the GTX series.
Why? Reviewers say it overclocks by the mile and doesn’t hold much back, just how the old 8800 GTs did. Don’t be surprised if brands start churning out those GTX+ OC editions. The GTX+’s smaller die size of 55-nm (65-nm for the 9800 GTX) seriously gave the graphics chip designers some room to optimize the G92+-spec’ed graphics card somewhat, with a comparable degree of improvement over the original 9800 GTX.
It’s core clock ticks at about 738 MHz (600 MHz for the non-plus), and is supplied with at least 512 MB of 256-bit, GDDR3 memory clocking in at a base of 1100 MHz (effective at 2200 MHz). The 128 stream processing units it comes packaged with take the menial shader computing tasks at a hefty 1836 MHz (compared to 1675 MHz of the non-plus).
The chip and memory dish out heat measuring to as much as 58 degrees Celsius on idle, rising to about 78 degrees Celsius on load. Noise of the fan is rated to only as much as 43 decibels when the cooling fan hits 100% RPM, and consumes as much as 302 Watts of power on a laden chassis with a PCI-E 1.1-spec power supply (two 6-pin PCI-E power connections).
Unfortunately, even on the ratio of performance per unit price, ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 still manages to lead by a good margin on the US$ 230, triple SLI-capable card on many reviews, and so NVIDIA probably anticipated that the gaming populace would want something cheaper and bust out the rest of the dough for SLI.
And so the 9800 GT, which only a few claimed could run under 200 bucks, was born. This card, however, doesn’t seem to impress the 8800 GT crowd, after many sites have caught on the re-branding antic that NVIDIA planned to pull on customers. Stepping aside from the controversy, however, general specifications on the product have poured in, pegging the 9800 GT’s streaming processors at 112 shaders apiece.
It’s G92-270-spec chip (as claimed by Chinese hardware site NordicHW) is a dash smaller than the 8800 GT’s die, but it hasn’t shrunk to 55-nm. The 65-nm chip houses a core processing unit running at 600 MHz (same as the 8800 GT’s) and along with the processing powerhouse, a 512 MB, 256-bit, GDDR3 memory bank with a base clock of 900 MHz (same as the 8800 GT’s).
It only needs one PCIE 1.0-spec power connection, but unlike the 8800 GT, it could take up as many as three slots for unconventional coolers. Will it make the grade? Find out when the actual unit hits commercial level and gets weighed. More on that as we stumble on them.
Images of 9800 GTX+ taken from Guru3D. Images of 9800 GT taken from NordicHW.