GeForce 9800 GT Roundup (EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte & Palit)

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     September 2, 2008

Gigabyte 9800 GT 512MB (GV-N98TZL-512H)

Product Number: GV-N98TZL-512H
Manufacturer’s Product Page: GIGABYTE - GV-N98TZL-512H
Price: Click to Compare Prices
Warranty: 3 Years

The first card we have in this whirlwind review is Gigabyte’s entry into the 9800 GT scene. While for all intents and purposes it is a stock-clocked card, there is much more to this card than what first meets the eye. Since this is not you run-of-the-mill 9800GT, pricing is at the upper end of the spectrum in the scope of this roundup at around $180. Gigabyte also has a standard 3-year warranty which should serve most people perfectly well considering the average length many enthusiasts keep their cards before upgrading.

It should be noted that this is the exact same card as Gigabyte’s GV-NX88T512HPV1 8800 GT card which was overclocked to 700Mhz on the core. Unfortunately, this card is not overclocked like the 8800 GT version so it will probably perform in-line with the other stock-clocked cards.

The packaging on this card is basic fare when it comes to Gigabyte with plenty of Asian influence as evidenced by the anime character sporting the ridiculously huge gun. Other than the indications of HybridPower and the cooling solution Gigabyte used, there is also some talk of the Gamer HUD overclocking and voltage control panel. Since we don’t really have the space nor the time to focus on the Gamer HUD, let’s just say that it is like the other manufacturer-included overclocking and temperature monitoring software but it also includes GPU core voltage adjustments. Unfortunately, no matter what we did, increasing the voltage didn’t affect the card’s overclock one iota so we have to wonder if this feature actually works.

The accessories are pretty much what we have come to expect but Gigabyte has included a HDMI dongle which is a nice touch. Why they didn’t include an S/PDIF cable is completely mind-boggling since as you will see the card itself has a connector on it but Gigabyte couldn’t give us a good answer as to its absence. Other than that you get a molex to PCI-E adaptor and a pair of DVI to VGA connectors.

The Gigabyte 9800 GT is definitely unique with a completely custom blue PCB and a Zalman heatsink. While it may look copper, the cooler is actually painted aluminum but as you will see a bit later, it performs amazingly well for such a pint-sized unit. We can also see that the ram modules are completely uncovered without ramsinks in sight but because the fan blows air onto the ICs so heat shouldn’t be an issue at all.

This is our favorite part about this card: it is perfectly suited for HTPC use since it is a good ˝ inch shorter than a standard 9800GT. Unlike longer cards that sometimes have issues fitting into some mATX cases; this one fits perfectly into the most cramped spaces since it is only 8 3/8” long.

Another aspect of this card being well-suited for HTPC use is the fact that it has an S/PDIF connector right on the card but unfortunately the actual cable which should have been included is MIA. Gigabyte has also included a very robust power distribution section on their card with a 4-phase design and high-end inductors. The components that were used are rated for higher temperatures than normal VRMs so they do not need additional cooling.

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