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NVIDIA 9800 GX2 Quad SLI Review

Mar 27 2008, 12:00am CDT | by

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NVIDIA 9800 GX2 Quad SLI Review
 
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NVIDIA 9800 GX2 Quad SLI Review

We have so far looked at two different NVIDIA 9800 GX2 video cards. Today we are going to take a look at a pair of the cards in Quad SLI mode. NVIDIA tried Quad SLI before with the 7950 GX2 and things didn’t work so well. Today we will find out if quad SLI with the 9800 GX2 is better. Read on for all the details.

Gallery

2 images
NVIDIA 9800 GX2 Quad SLI ReviewNVIDIA 9800 GX2 Quad SLI Review
 

Benchmarks

Features & Specifications
I won’t go into the features of the two cards I am using today since they have both already been reviewed. I will be using the PNY 9800 GX2 and the XFX 9800 GX2 for this review.

Test Machine
The test machine I am using has the following specs:

  • OS- Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 32-bit
  • PSU- Top Power 1100W
  • RAM- 2GB Aeneon DDR3-16000
  • CPU- Intel QX9770
  • Display- 30-inch Dell

3DMark06
The first test up for quad SLI is 3Dmark06. As you will see a pair of 9800 GX2’s doesn’t really do anything for performance in this synthetic benchmark. The pair of 9800 GX2 cards in quad SLI scored as follows in 3DMark06:

  • Total 3DMarks- 12877
  • SM2.0- 5257
  • HDR/SM3.0- 5229
  • CPU- 4706

To compare the PNY 9800 GX2 I reviewed this week scored 16583 3DMarks and the XFX 9800 GX2 I reviewed last week scored 16227 (on a different test machine).

Crysis
The next test up was Crysis. I ran the game at 1920 x 1200 with 2X AA and all settings on high but motion blur which was set to medium and objects quality that was set to very high. I used Fraps to record frame rate data from the initial beach insertion till the combat with the first enemy soldiers. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:

  • Min- 6 fps
  • Avg- 52.979 fps
  • Max- 82 fps

The single PNY 9800 GX2 I tested had an average frame rate with the same settings of only 28.32 fps. That is a huge frame rate increase and the game much more playable.

Bioshock
Next up was Bioshock which I ran at 2560 x 1600 with all settings on high and everything turned on. I used Fraps to record frame rate data while playing and got the following data:

  • Min- 32 fps
  • Avg- 47.68 fps
  • Max 63 fps

That is a much higher minimum frame rate than a single 9800 GX2 could muster at 15 fps. However, Bioshock didn’t benefit as much from Quad SLI as Crysis did and the quad SLI system actually showed a lower average frame rate than the single GX2.

Quake Wars
The final game test was Quake Wars, which I ran at 2560 x 1600 with all settings on high, ultra shaders, 32x AA and 2X AF. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data on a single player map called Africa refinery.

  • Min- 15 fps
  • Avg- 47.682 fps
  • Max- 63 fps

Final Thoughts
In all whether or not quad SLI would benefit you depends on what you want to do. If Crysis is your game, then Quad SLI is just what you need to get playable frame rates at very high settings. However if benchmarks are what you want to run Quad SLI might not be for you.

Verdict

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great Crysis performance

Cons

  • Performance increase negligible or decreases on some applications
  • Very expensive

Verdict
In the end quad SLI does work and performs well on some games like Crysis. As with any high-end product it costs a lot and that will keep quad SLI out of the hands of most gamers. The cards along in this test are around $1200 for the pair. You can build a nice mid-range gaming system for that much.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Leading our review center, Shane McGlaun (Google) knows technology inside out. His extensive experience in testing computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at shane@i4u.com.

 

 

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