The 9800 GX2 Card

ASUS went out on a limb with their Radeon HD 3870 X2, as they were the only manufacturer to develop their own custom cooling design while also including all four DVI outputs.

This made this product a little more special and allowed it to stand out in the sea of Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics cards. However, with the new GeForce 9800 GX2 they have not been as bold, releasing a product that closely follows the Nvidia reference design this time.

In terms of physical dimensions the GeForce 9800 GX2 is a monster, measuring 27cm long, which is wider than a full ATX motherboard. The card dimensions are however very similar to that of a GeForce 8800 GTX/Ultra and the recently released Radeon HD 3870 X2, so we are not entering unchartered territory.

While the GeForce 9800 GX2 is a dual-GPU solution like the Radeon HD 3870 X2, their design is actually very different.

Whereas the Radeon HD 3870 X2 features both GPUs and the 1GB of memory on the same PCB, things are done a little differently on the GeForce. Similar to the older GeForce 7950 GX2, the GeForce 9800 GX2 features two separate PCBs, each featuring their own G92 GPU and 512MB of GDDR3 memory. However, unlike the GeForce 7950 GX2 that featured two separate single slot coolers, the GeForce 9800 GX2 uses a sandwich plate design.

Basically what this means is that they have taken a typical graphics card heatsink and sandwiched it in-between the two cards, allowing the single chunk of aluminum to cool both GPUs and all 1024MB of memory.

Nvidia claims that this method will keep the GeForce 9800 GX2 cooler at higher clock speeds. This rather complex design will be more difficult to support by third parties, so it is unlikely that we will see many, if any, after market coolers for the GeForce 9800 GX2.

As we had mentioned before, the Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 comes with 1GB of memory (512MB assigned to each GPU). The default operating specification for the memory stands at 2000MHz, while each GPU has been designed to work at 600MHz.

This means that the cores are each clocked 50MHz lower than the GeForce 8800 GTS 512 graphics card, while the memory runs 60MHz faster, for a theoretical memory bandwidth of 128GB/s, the highest for any Nvidia card ever produced.