The Card

Without a doubt you are going to see a heap of shiny new GeForce 9800 GTX graphics cards released today and we suspect that the majority of them will follow the Nvidia reference design very closely. The ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX is no exception, featuring the standard PCB design and cooling setup. The package is also quite bland, as it fails to include any gaming titles, though we are confident ASUS will release at least one special edition version eventually.

The card features 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1100MHz (2200MHz DDR). The cards use Samsung ICs (K4J52324QE-BJ08) and it would appear that the majority of GeForce 9800 GTX based cards will use similar Samsung memory. After some quick research, I found that these modules are rated for 2400MHz DDR operation. The memory chips are all located on the front side of the graphics card, on the same side where the GPU is.

When in action, the GeForce 9800 GTX operating volume level is surprisingly low, and while the fan speed may increase under load, this went unnoticed while testing. Although the operating volume is not something I would concern myself with, the power requirement for this graphics card is somewhat of a concern, particularly when in SLI mode. Those that plan to equip themselves with more than one 9800 GTX card will need a 700 watt power supply or higher, depending on the rest of the system specs.

The 9800 GTX requires two additional 6-pin power connectors to function (which deliver ~75 watts of power each), while the PCI Express 16x slot offers another 75 watts; we can therefore assume the 9800 GTX is capable of sucking up to 225 watts of power when under load.

Cooling the GeForce 9800 GTX core and the six memory chips is a rather large heatsink and fan combo. The setup is huge, though given that it is primarily constructed from aluminum, there is a lot less weight in this heatsink when compared to the GeForce 9800 GX2 for example.

The new GeForce 9800 GTX features two SLI bridge connectors rather than just one. This means that like the 8800 GTX and Ultra graphics cards, the new 9800 GTX can be used in 3-way SLI mode if your pockets are deep enough. It is important to note that the GeForce 9800 GTX only supports DirectX 10, while the latest Radeon graphics cards already include support for DX10.1, this is a 'feature' missing on all GeForce 9 series graphics cards.