EVGA 9800 GTX+ 512MB Video Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     November 9, 2008

The Current Nvidia Lineup

Here it is; the new Nvidia lineup in all its glory and there are some pretty significant changes that we can see right off the bat. The most notable of these changes is the discontinuation of the short-lived 9800 GX2 as Nvidia’s flagship product which is now replaced by the GeForce GTX 280 and to a lesser extent the GTX 260 as well. The rest of the Nvidia high to mid-range lineup stays pretty much the same with cards like the 8800GT and 9600GT receiving some pretty steep price cuts of late. There has also been the addition of the 9800 GTX+ and the 9800 GT of which the former uses the new 55nm manufacturing process. Dropped from the lineup are quite a few cards including the 9800GTX in favour of the plus model. The 9800 GT on the other hand is basically an 8800GT with a few features thrown in for good measure and uses either 65nm or a new 55nm core.

The 9800 GTX+ on the other hand is basically an overclocked 9800 GTX with a 55nm core versus the less efficient 65nm manufacturing process used on the older card. Other than that, there really isn’t that much to distinguish this card from its forefather. Nvidia needed a quick fix to compete with the HD 4850 and while the 9800 GTX did quite well in most regards, something else was needed. Thus, the “+” version was born with higher clocks and a bit more muscle in the way of higher clock speeds.

Into this equation the GTX 260 with 216 shader processors was recently introduced and is positioned slightly above the standard GTX 260 in terms of both price and supposedly performance. Not only does this new card get the extra shaders but there is also a slight bump in the texture filtering units from 64 to 72. It may seem odd to have a card like this seeing the light of day but there has already been some speculation that the cores used on these cards are failed GTX 280 cores which Nvidia would like nothing more than to insert into a competing position against the HD 4870. Other than the bump in shaders and TPUs, all of the other specifications for the GTX 260 216 are a mirror image of the standard card. What does strike us as interesting is the fact that this more powerful card is priced less than the GTX 260 was selling for just a short while ago.

Meanwhile, sitting at the top of this new lineup is the GTX 280 which is equipped with 1GB of GDDR3 memory working at 2214Mhz (DDR) and is basically on-par with what we saw with the GX2. Also gone are the days were we see a 256-bit memory interface on something that is deemed a “high-end” product since the GTX 280 now uses a 512-bit interface. This should eliminate many of the claimed bottlenecks of the narrower interface used on cards like the 9800 GT X. The core speed (which includes the ROPs and TMUs) operates at 602Mhz which is quite interesting since many pundits claimed that with the switch to a 65nm manufacturing process we would see a rapid incline in clock speeds. This has not happened with the core of the G2T00 series it seems.

Looking at the “little brother” GTX 260, it seems that there was quite a bit of pruning going on with lower clock speeds and less memory being the flavour of the day while also being combined with less processor cores. This in effect lowers its price and makes it easier to produce in volume but at the same time it could offer significant performance decreases when compared with the GTX 280.

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