[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

GeForce 9800 GT is currently the simplest model inside NVIDIA’s GeForce 9800 family. But in reality it is a GeForce 8800 GT with a new sticker. In this review we will compare the performance of this 1 GB model from Palit with current high-end video cards and also with the original GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB and GeForce 8800 GTS with 320 MB.

GeForce 9800 GT and GeForce 8800 GT are identical: both use the same graphics chip (G92-270-A2, we will talk a little bit more about it later) – which has 112 shader processors – and run under the same clock rates: 600 MHz for the graphics chip, 1.5 GHz for the shader processors and 1.8 GHz (900 MHz x2) for the memory, which is accessed through a 256-bit interface. The only difference between them is the addition of HybridPower feature on 9800 GT (which allows the video card to be turned off when you are not playing games to save energy, if you have a compatible motherboard). Another minor feature is that GeForce 9800 GT has an SPDIF in connector for routing digital audio to the HDMI output (a DVI-to-HDMI adapter must be used, and this video card comes with one), although if you pay close attention to the printed circuit board from GeForce 8800 GT you can clearly see the place for the addition of this connector, even though it doesn’t come soldered on the card.

If you want to learn more about the architecture used on GeForce 9800 GT please read our GeForce 8 Series Architecture article. Everything that is said in this article about GeForce 8800 GT can be read as “9800 GT,” since both cards are identical.

We will talk more about the differences between GeForce 9800 GT and other current high-end video cards, but before let’s take an in-depth look at GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB from Palit, which is called “GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB” by the manufacturer.

You can have an overall look at the reviewed card on the pictures below. We didn’t like the golden plastic cover. In our opinion it made the product to look cheap; a traditional shiny black would make the product to look more serious. But that is just our opinion. At least the color matches the memory heatsink present on the back of the card and with the copper heat-pipes that are partially exposed on the top of the card.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 1: Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 2: Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 3: Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 4: Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB.

Pay attention for the SPDIF in connector on the left-hand side from Figure 4. As mentioned, this plug allows you to redirect digital audio to the HDMI plug, which is available through the use of a DVI-to-HDMI adapter. This video card comes with both the SPDIF cable and the DVI-to-HDMI adapter.

This video card requires the installation of one 6-pin auxiliary power connector. The product comes with the necessary adapter for you to convert a standard peripheral power plug into a 6-pin power plug if your power supply doesn’t provide one of them or if you are installing two cards in SLI and your power supply has only one auxiliary power cable for video cards.

[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]

We removed the video card cooler to take a look. As you can see in Figure 5, the cooler base is made of copper, using two thick copper heat-pipes to connect the base to the aluminum fins.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 5: Video card cooler without its plastic cover.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 6: Cooler.

On Figures 7 and 8 you can see the video card without its cooler. It uses fourteen 512-Mbit Qimonda HYB18H512321BF-10 GDDR3 chips, making its 896 MB memory (512 Mbits x 14 = 896 MB). These chips can officially work up to 1 GHz or 2 GHz DDR. On this video card the memories were running at 900 MHz or 1.8 GHz DDR, so there is 11% headroom for you to overclock the memories keeping them inside their specs. Of course you can always try to push them above their official specs.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 7: Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB with its cooler removed.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 8: Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB with its cooler removed.

In Figure 9 you have a close-up on the graphics chip used, G92-270-A2. This is the exact same graphics chip used on GeForce 8800 GT, as you can see here.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GBFigure 9: GeForce 9800 GT/GeForce 8800 GT chip.

This video card comes with the full version of Tomb Raider Anniversary. With the accessories that come with this card you can convert the video output to VGA and HDMI, plus the DVI and S-Video connectors already present on the product.

Now let’s compare the specifications from GeForce 9800 GT to the other video cards we included in this review.

[nextpage title=”More Details”]

To make the comparison between Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB and the other video cards we included in this review easier, we compiled the table below comparing the main specs from these cards. If you want to compare the specs of the reviewed video card to any other video card not included in the table below, just take a look at our NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table and on our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table.

Since GeForce 9800 GT is a renamed GeForce 8800 GT, we included a GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB and a GeForce 8800 GTS with 320 MB (which isn’t available in the US market anymore) in our comparison.

GPU Core Clock Shader Clock Processors Memory Clock Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Price
GeForce GTX 280 602 MHz 1,296 MHz 240 1,107 MHz 512-bit 141.7 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 420 – 475
GeForce GTX 260 576 MHz 1,242 MHz 192 1,000 MHz 448-bit 112 GB/s 896 MB GDDR3 USD 270 – 300
GeForce 9800 GX2 600 MHz 1,500 MHz 128 1,000 MHz 256-bit 64 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 280 – 535
GeForce 9800 GTX 675 MHz 1,688 MHz 128 1,100 MHz 256-bit 70.4 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 187 – 315
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB 600 MHz 1.5 GHz 112 900 MHz 256-bit 57.6 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 N/A
GeForce 8800 GT 600 MHz 1.5 GHz 112 900 MHz 256-bit 57.6 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 120 – 190
GeForce 8800 GTS 500 MHz 1.2 GHz 96 800 MHz 320-bit 64 GB/s 320 MB GDDR3
Radeon HD 4870 750 MHz 750 MHz 800 900 MHz 256-bit 115.2 GB/s 512 MB GDDR5 USD 285 – 300
Radeon HD 4850 625 MHz 625 MHz 800 993 MHz 256-bit 63.5 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 170 – 195
Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 857 MHz 857 MHz 320 927 MHz 256-bit 59.3 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3
Radeon HD 3870 776 MHz 776 MHz 320 1,125 MHz 256-bit 72 GB/s 512 MB GDDR4 USD 125 – 165

It is important to note that this table reflects the current prices for the listed video cards, which are lower than the prices we published in other reviews, since prices tend to drop every day. We couldn’t find the reviewed card being sold yet and it should come costing more than the regular GeForce 9800 GT (which costs around USD 170), since it has 1 GB instead of 512 MB. This would put the reviewed card on the same price range of Radeon HD 4850.

The only high-end video card not included in our comparison is GeForce 9800 GTX+, which is basically an overclocked GeForce 9800 GTX.

Some important observations regarding this table:

  • All NVIDIA chips are DirectX 10 (Shader 4.0), while all AMD/ATI chips are DirectX 10.1 (Shader 4.1).
  • The memory clocks listed are the real memory clock. Memory clocks are often advertised as double the figures presented, numbers known as “DDR clock.” Radeon HD 4870 uses GDDR5 chips, which transfer four data per clock cycle and thus the “DDR clock” for this video card is four times the value presented on this table (i.e., 3.6 GHz).
  • GeForce 9800 GX2 and Radeon HD 3870 X2 have two GPU’s. The numbers on the table represent only one of the chips.
  • All video cards included on our review were running at the chip manufacturer default clock configuration (i.e., no overclocking), except Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2. The official core clock for Radeon HD 3870 X2 is 825 MHz, while the official memory clock is 900 MHz. So this card was a little bit overclocked. We couldn’t reduce these clocks to their reference values and since we hadn’t any other Radeon HD 3870 X2 available we included this video card anyway.
  • Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
  • We couldn’t find Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 for sale. This model will be more expensive than cards from other vendors based on the same GPU because it features water cooling. Just for you to have an idea, prices on the regular Radeon 3870 X2 are quoted between USD 270 and USD 370.

Before going to our tests let’s recap the main features from Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+1GB main features are:

  • Graphics chip: GeForce 9800 GT (codename G92), running at 600 MHz.
  • Memory: 1 GB GDDR3 memory (256-bit interface) from Qimonda (HYB18H512321BF-10), running at 900  MHz (“1.8 GHz”).
  • Bus type: PCI Express x16 2.0.
  • Connectors: Two DVI (with HDMI support) and one S-Video output (with component video support).
  • Video Capture (VIVO): No.
  • Cables and adapters that come with this board: DVI-to-VGA adapter, DVI-to-HDMI adapter, SPDIF In cable and one standard 4-pin peripheral power plug to 6-pin PCI Express auxiliary power plug (PEG) adapter.
  • Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: Two.
  • Games that come with this board: Tomb Raider Anniversary (full version).
  • Programs that come with this board: None.
  • Minimum Required Power Supply: 450 W with 26 A on +12 V rail.
  • More information: https://www.palit.biz
  • Average price in the US:  We received this product for reviewing before it was available on the market.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
  • Service Pack 1

Driver Versions

  • nForce driver version: 15.17
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 8.5
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 8.6 + hotfix (8.501.1.0, 6/21/2008) (Radeon HD 4850, HD 4870)
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 175.16
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 177.34 (GeForce GTX 260, GTX 280)
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 177.79 (GeForce 9800 GT, 8800 GT, 8800 GTS)

Software Used

Resolutions and Image Quality Settings

Since we were comparing very high-end video cards, we ran all our tests under three 16:10 widescreen high resolutions: 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600. We always tried to run the programs and games in two scenarios for each resolution, one with low image quality settings and then maxing out the image quality settings. The exact configuration we used will be described together with the results of each individual test.

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”3DMark06 Professional”]

3DMark06 measures Shader 3.0 (i.e., DirectX 9.0c) performance. We run this software under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with no image quality enhancements enabled – results we call “low” on the charts and tables below –, then setting 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. See the results below.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 16260 41.75%
GeForce 9800 GX2 15623 36.20%
GeForce GTX 280 14904 29.93%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 14215 23.92%
GeForce GTX 260 13701 19.44%
GeForce 9800 GTX 12759 11.23%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 11842 3.23%
GeForce 8800 GT 11515 0.38%
GeForce 9800 GT 11471  
Radeon HD 3870 10694 7.27%
GeForce 8800 GTS 8982 27.71%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 15547 51.63%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 15489 51.07%
GeForce GTX 280 14215 38.64%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 13017 26.96%
GeForce GTX 260 12668 23.55%
GeForce 9800 GTX 11631 13.44%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 10691 4.27%
GeForce 8800 GT 10352 0.97%
GeForce 9800 GT 10253  
Radeon HD 3870 9454 8.45%
GeForce 8800 GTS 7942 29.10%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 13015 69.49%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 12315 60.37%
GeForce GTX 280 11766 53.22%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 10159 32.30%
GeForce GTX 260 9894 28.84%
GeForce 9800 GTX 8743 13.86%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 8077 5.18%
GeForce 8800 GT 7721 0.55%
GeForce 9800 GT 7679  
Radeon HD 3870 6823 12.55%
GeForce 8800 GTS 5784 32.76%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 16260 105.85%
GeForce 9800 GX2 13900 75.97%
GeForce GTX 280 12157 53.91%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 11063 40.06%
GeForce GTX 260 10617 34.41%
GeForce 9800 GTX 8981 13.70%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 8881 12.43%
GeForce 8800 GT 7987 1.11%
GeForce 9800 GT 7899  
Radeon HD 3870 6915 14.23%
GeForce 8800 GTS 6371 23.98%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 15489 126.91%
GeForce 9800 GX2 12213 78.92%
GeForce GTX 280 10991 61.02%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 10014 46.70%
GeForce GTX 260 9450 38.44%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 7972 16.79%
GeForce 9800 GTX 7811 14.43%
GeForce 8800 GT 6957 1.92%
GeForce 9800 GT 6826  
Radeon HD 3870 6114 11.65%
GeForce 8800 GTS 5323 28.24%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 12315 144.10%
GeForce 9800 GX2 9829 94.83%
GeForce GTX 280 8704 72.53%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 7550 49.65%
GeForce GTX 260 7285 44.40%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 5896 16.87%
GeForce 9800 GTX 5774 14.45%
GeForce 8800 GT 5129 1.67%
GeForce 9800 GT 5045  
Radeon HD 3870 4319 16.81%

[nextpage title=”3DMark Vantage Professional”]

3DMark Vantage is the latest addition to the 3DMark series, measuring Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supporting PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Notice that we didn’t upgrade the PhysX to the latest version, which would make the physics calculations for CPU Test 2 to be made by the GPU instead of the CPU on NVIDIA video cards (since we aren’t considering CPU or 3DMark scores this change wouldn’t produce any increase in our results anyway).

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600. First we used the “Performance” profile, and then we used the “Extreme” profile (basically enabling anti-aliasing at 4x, anisotropic filtering at 16x, and putting all detail settings at their maximum or “extreme” value. The combination of 2560×1600 resolution with extreme settings didn’t produce reliable results according to the program, so we aren’t going to add them here. The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1680×1050 – Performance Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 7695 108.48%
GeForce 9800 GX2 6990 89.38%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 6193 67.79%
GeForce GTX 260 5898 59.79%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 5651 53.10%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 4797 29.96%
GeForce 8800 GT 3831 3.79%
GeForce 9800 GTX 3805 3.09%
GeForce 9800 GT 3691  
Radeon HD 3870 2977 23.98%
GeForce 8800 GTS 2950 25.12%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1920×1200 – Performance Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 6106 106.91%
GeForce 9800 GX2 5379 82.28%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 4880 65.37%
GeForce GTX 260 4582 55.27%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 4336 46.93%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 3725 26.23%
GeForce 8800 GT 2978 0.91%
GeForce 9800 GT 2951  
GeForce 9800 GTX 2891 2.08%
GeForce 8800 GTS 2280 29.43%
Radeon HD 3870 2269 30.06%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 2560×1600 – Performance Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 3549 116.67%
GeForce 9800 GX2 2910 77.66%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 2728 66.54%
GeForce GTX 260 2640 61.17%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 2382 45.42%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 2050 25.15%
GeForce 9800 GT 1638  
GeForce 8800 GT 1634 0.24%
GeForce 9800 GTX 1557 5.20%
Radeon HD 3870 1244 31.67%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1680×1050 – Extreme Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 6005 119.08%
GeForce 9800 GX2 4858 77.23%
GeForce GTX 260 4531 65.30%
Sap
phire Radeon HD 4870
4360 59.07%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 3567 30.13%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 3445 25.68%
GeForce 9800 GT 2741  
GeForce 8800 GT 2733 0.29%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2703 1.41%
Radeon HD 3870 1855 47.76%
GeForce 8800 GTS 997 174.92%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1920×1200 – Extreme Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 4732 121.54%
GeForce GTX 260 3576 67.42%
GeForce 9800 GX2 3508 64.23%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 3490 63.39%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 2753 28.89%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 2669 24.95%
GeForce 9800 GT 2136  
GeForce 8800 GT 2094 2.01%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2038 4.81%
Radeon HD 3870 1439 48.44%

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty 4″]

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was put on the maximum values on the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the game internal benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo for downloading here if you want to run your own benchmarks. The game was updated to version 1.6. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Call of Duty 4 – 1680×1050 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 106.2 73.25%
GeForce GTX 280 105.3 71.78%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 93.4 52.37%
GeForce GTX 260 91.0 48.45%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 75.7 23.49%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 72.4 18.11%
GeForce 9800 GTX 69.1 12.72%
GeForce 9800 GT 61.3  
GeForce 8800 GT 61.1 0.33%
GeForce 8800 GTS 51.1 19.96%
Radeon HD 3870 43.0 42.56%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Call of Duty 4 – 1920×1200 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 94.5 86.02%
GeForce GTX 280 91.7 80.51%
GeForce GTX 260 77.1 51.77%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 76.4 50.39%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 61.3 20.67%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 59.1 16.34%
GeForce 9800 GTX 57.7 13.58%
GeForce 8800 GT 51.7 1.77%
GeForce 9800 GT 50.8  
GeForce 8800 GTS 40.4 25.74%
Radeon HD 3870 35.4 43.50%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Call of Duty 4 – 2560×1600 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 64.8 94.59%
GeForce GTX 280 64.8 94.59%
GeForce GTX 260 53.5 60.66%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 48.1 44.44%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 40.6 21.92%
GeForce 9800 GTX 38.3 15.02%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 36.7 10.21%
GeForce 8800 GT 33.9 1.80%
GeForce 9800 GT 33.3  
Radeon HD 3870 22.4 48.66%

[nextpage title=”Crysis”]

Crysis is a very heavy DirectX 10 game. We updated this game to version 1.2.1 and used the HOC Crysis Benchmarking Utility to help us collecting data. Since we don’t think the default demo based on the island map stresses the video card the way we want, we used the HOC core demo available with the abovementioned utility. We ran this demo under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with image quality set to “low” and then with image quality set to “high.” Since all video cards achieved a number of frames per second below 10 at 2560×1600 with image details set to “high,” we are not including this test as the results aren’t reliable. We ran each test twice and discarded the first result, as usually the first run achieves a lower score compared to the subsequent runs since the game loses time loading files. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB

< /tr>

Crysis 1.2.1 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 125 66.67%
GeForce GTX 280 125 66.67%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 101 34.67%
GeForce GTX 260 99 32.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 84 12.00%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 84 12.00%
GeForce 9800 GX2 75 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 75  
GeForce 8800 GT 73 2.74%
Radeon HD 3870 71 5.63%
GeForce 8800 GTS 51 47.06%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Crysis 1.2.1 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 115 88.52%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 108 77.05%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 84 37.70%
GeForce GTX 260 83 36.07%
GeForce 9800 GTX 69 13.11%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 67 9.84%
GeForce 9800 GX2 63 3.28%
GeForce 9800 GT 61  
GeForce 8800 GT 61 0.00%
Radeon HD 3870 58 5.17%
GeForce 8800 GTS 43 41.86%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Crysis 1.2.1 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 95 143.59%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 71 82.05%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 53 35.90%
GeForce GTX 260 52 33.33%
GeForce 9800 GTX 44 12.82%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 43 10.26%
GeForce 9800 GX2 42 7.69%
GeForce 9800 GT 39  
GeForce 8800 GT 39 0.00%
Radeon HD 3870 35 11.43%
GeForce 8800 GTS 27 44.44%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Crysis 1.2.1 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 42 68.00%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 37 48.00%
GeForce GTX 260 32 28.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 29 16.00%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 29 16.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 26 4.00%
GeForce 9800 GX2 25 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 25  
GeForce 8800 GT 24 4.17%
Radeon HD 3870 19 31.58%
GeForce 8800 GTS 16 56.25%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Crysis 1.2.1 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 34 70.00%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 30 50.00%
GeForce GTX 260 26 30.00%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 23 15.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 22 10.00%
GeForce 9800 GX2 21 5.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 20 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 20  
GeForce 8800 GT 19 5.26%
Radeon HD 3870 16 25.00%
GeForce 8800 GTS 12 66.67%

[nextpage title=”Unreal Tournament 3″]

Unreal Tournament 3 is the latest installment from this famous first person shooter franchise, supporting DirectX 10 graphics when installed on Windows Vista with a DX10 compatible card. We upgraded Unreal Tournament 3 to version 1.2 and benchmarked it with the help of HOC UT3 benchmarking utility using the “Containment” demo, maxing out image quality settings (image quality at “high” and anisotropic filtering at x16). It is important to note that we haven’t applied the PhysX mod to this game, which would transfer PhysX processing from the CPU to the GPU on NVIDIA cards. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB

Unreal Tournament 3 – 1680×1050 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 112 17.89%
GeForce 9800 GX2 108 13.68%
GeForce GTX 260 106 11.58%
GeForce GTX 280 104 9.47%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 104 9.47%
GeForce 8800 GT 97 2.11%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 96 1.05%
GeForce 9800 GT 95  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 84 13.10%
Radeon HD 3870 83 14.46%
GeForce 8800 GTS 80 18.75%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Unreal Tournament 3 – 1920×1200 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 108 35.00%
GeForce 9800 GX2 106 32.50%
GeForce GTX 260 103 28.75%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 98 22.50%
GeForce GTX 2
80
91 13.75%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 89 11.25%
GeForce 8800 GT 81 1.25%
GeForce 9800 GT 80  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 78 2.56%
Radeon HD 3870 75 6.67%
GeForce 8800 GTS 66 21.21%

 

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Unreal Tournament 3 – 2560×1600 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 92 76.92%
GeForce 9800 GX2 92 76.92%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 78 50.00%
GeForce GTX 260 76 46.15%
GeForce GTX 280 62 19.23%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 60 15.38%
GeForce 8800 GT 53 1.92%
GeForce 9800 GT 52  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 51 1.96%
Radeon HD 3870 47 10.64%
GeForce 8800 GTS 41 26.83%

[nextpage title=”Half-Life 2: Episode Two”]

Half-Life 2 is a popular franchise and we benchmark the video cards using Episode Two with the aid of HOC Half-Life 2 Episode Two benchmarking utility using the “HOC Demo 1” provided by this program. We ran the game in three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, under two scenarios. First with quality set to maximum, bilinear filtering and anti-aliasing set to x0. This configuration we are calling “low” on the charts and tables below. Then we maxed out image quality settings, enabling x16 anisotropic filtering and 16xQCS anti-aliasing. This configuration we are calling “high” on our charts and tables. We updated the game up to the June 9th 2008 patch. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 170.0 8.97%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 164.9 5.71%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 160.4 2.82%
GeForce GTX 260 157.0 0.64%
GeForce GTX 280 156.3 0.19%
GeForce 9800 GT 156.0  
GeForce 8800 GT 156.0 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 153.8 1.43%
Radeon HD 3870 145.7 7.07%
GeForce 9800 GX2 136.8 14.04%
GeForce 8800 GTS 132.0 18.18%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 165.0 15.38%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 156.7 9.58%
GeForce GTX 280 156.3 9.30%
GeForce GTX 260 153.0 6.99%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 149.8 4.76%
GeForce 9800 GTX 146.9 2.73%
GeForce 8800 GT 144.0 0.70%
GeForce 9800 GT 143.0  
GeForce 9800 GX2 135.2 5.77%
Radeon HD 3870 120.1 19.07%
GeForce 8800 GTS 108.0 32.41%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 145.1 51.15%
GeForce 9800 GX2 130.6 36.04%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 129.7 35.10%
GeForce GTX 260 124.0 29.17%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 117.0 21.88%
GeForce 9800 GTX 107.9 12.40%
GeForce 8800 GT 96.0 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 96.0  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 93.9 2.24%
Radeon HD 3870 72.8 31.87%
GeForce 8800 GTS 67.0 43.28%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 144.0 80.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 137.9 72.38%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 126.1 57.63%
GeForce 9800 GX2 125.4 56.75%
GeForce GTX 260 121.0 51.25%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 116.2 45.25%
GeForce GTX 280 89.3 11.63%
GeForce 8800 GT 81.0 1.25%
GeForce 9800 GT 80.0  
Radeon HD 3870 68.3 17.13%
GeForce 8800 GTS 68.0 17.65%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 124.0 96.83%
GeForce 9800 GTX 116.3 84.60%
GeForce 9800 GX2 111.1 76.35%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 106.5 69.05%
GeForce GTX 260 101.0 60.32%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 97.2 54.29%
GeForce GTX 280 70.3 11.59%
GeForce 8800 GT 64.0 1.59%
GeForce 9800 GT 63.0  
Radeon HD 3870 56.8 10.92%
GeForce 8800 GTS 54.0 16.67%
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 75.0 108.33%
GeForce 9800 GTX 71.3 98.06%
GeForce GTX 260 61.0 69.44%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 58.4 62.22%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 50.6 40.56%
GeForce 9800 GX2 37.5 4.17%
GeForce 9800 GT 36.0  
GeForce GTX 280 35.5 1.41%
Radeon HD 3870 34.9 3.15%
GeForce 8800 GT 34.0 5.88%

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]We came to several interesting conclusions about the new GeForce 9800 GT.

First, GeForce 9800 GT is literally identical to GeForce 8800 GT, achieving the exact same performance. Its price is the same as GeForce 8800 GT, around USD 170. If you won’t use the Hybrid Power feature (which allows the video card to be turned off when you are not playing games, thus saving you some money on your electricity bill; you need to have a compatible motherboard, though) you can simply buy a GeForce 8800 GT and save some bucks. Even though both cards have officially the same price tag, on NewEgg.com you can find GeForce 8800 GT models being sold as low as USD 120. Of course as soon as more companies offer GeForce 9800 GT cards the price should drop.

This model from Palit with 1 GB achieved the same performance level of the regular GeForce 8800 GT card on practically all tests. The only time we saw a difference was at 2560×1600 with image quality settings maxed out on Crysis and Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and even then the difference wasn’t so big (5-6%). Since this model with 1 GB will hit the market costing more than the regular GeForce 9800 GT, we recommend you buying the regular model instead to save some bucks. Of course we haven’t run all possible games on the market and you may see some difference on other games.

At the USD 170 price range, GeForce 9800 GT is positioned between Radeon HD 3870 and Radeon HD 4850. It was between 3% and 49% faster than HD 3870, depending on the program and video configuration used.

However, if you research carefully you can find Radeon HD 4850 models also being sold at USD 170, making them a no-brainer for someone willing to buy a good video card and has this amount to spend. In fact, even if you find Radeon HD 4850 being sold for a little more than that we highly suggest you to make the effort to buy it instead of GeForce 9800 GT, as it provides a performance up to 62% higher, depending on the game and configuration used. Of course 62% is an extreme case, but you will easily see around 20% performance gain over 9800 GT.

As we mentioned, the reviewed 1 GB model from Palit will reach the market costing a little bit more than the regular GeForce 9800 GT, putting it in the same price range as Radeon HD 4850. Between the two, we recommend Radeon HD 4850.

GeForce 9800 GT would be a good pick only if its price dropped to around USD 150 or even below that, in our opinion.