After testing the card I found myself feeling nothing over the 9800 GT. It wasn't till I actually really sat down and looked at the results here and compared them to the HD 4850 that was I becoming more impressed with what the cheaper 9800 GT had to offer over the HD 4850.
Sure, the card is ultimately just an 8800 GT, but the 9600 GSO is nothing more than an 8800 GS and it doesn't stop us from being impressed with the performance it offers for the price.
Deciding which card to buy is going to come down to a few things; while I think the major one will be brand loyalty, other things that may sway people are if their budget can't go over the price of a 9800 GT or if they want to go SLI or Crossfire.
It doesn't come as any real surprise that the 9800 GT isn't a revolutionary piece of kit; no one really expected it to be. What it does well is what NVIDIA have become pretty good at in the mid-range department; offer a card for a competitive price that puts out some decent frame rates.
While the card is capable of gaming at 1920 x 1200, we would probably reserve the card for 22" monitor users and other gamers who run at around that 1600 / 1680 resolution. If you want to game higher than that with some decent detail, we would probably recommend that you save your dollars for another few weeks and upgrade to something like the 9800 GTX or the HD 4870.
The only gripe we have with the card is that it's going to confuse some people. If you're a user of an 8800 GT and you think the 9800 GT might be a bit of an upgrade, you will be severely disappointed. The card is probably best reserved for upgraders who have an 8600 GTS or below.