BFG Tech GeForce 9800 GTX OCX 512MB

We check out BFG's first OCX card sporting the very fast 9800 GTX core to see what kind of performance it offers.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Jun 10 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: BFG Tech

Introduction





We mentioned the other day when we reviewed the BFG 9600GT OC2 that BFG had recently expanded its OC line-up with the addition of the OC2 and OCX models. While the 9600GT only goes to OC2, the 9800 GTX is the first model to make use of the OCX naming scheme.

The OCX naming is the highest level of overclock from BFG; while the company has been a bit conservative with overclocks over the past year, they felt it's time to kick it up a notch and expand upon the popular OC naming scheme.

Before we find out exactly what BFG has done in the OC department, let's find out if they've done anything to the package aside from the popular Lifetime Warranty that they've become extremely well known for.

The Package




Unlike other companies, BFG don't have the need to use a massive box for their higher end cards. We have a box that is the same size as the 9600GT OC2 box along with all the standard information you would expect. The top left makes note of the brand while the top right lets you clearly know that the card is a PCI Express x16 one.



Across the bottom we can clearly see the model along with the fact that it comes with 512MB of GDDR3. Above that we have mention of the Lifetime Warranty and 24/7 Tech support. Finally, above this we see the OCX logo along with a bit of a blurb on overclocking.



On the back of the box we have a bit of a run down on BFG along with some of the main tech implemented into the 9800 GTX. We also have the table in the bottom corner that shows us where this card really shines. How this table differs to the 9600GT one is that we see 30" monitors ticked in the gaming and 3D applications section.





Moving inside the package, the cable department doesn't have much going on with a single Molex to PCI Express power connector, DVI to VGA and Component out dongle. The only out of the ordinary add-on was the inclusion of the DVI to HDMI adapter along with the loop back cable.





Apart from a load of paper work that gives us a run down on a heap of different features, we also have the standard driver CD along with two BFG Tech stickers that you can place on your case.



One thing that I did think was cool about the package was the inclusion of instructions on how to setup the HDMI adapter kit that comes in the package.

The Card




With the package out of the way, it's time to move onto the card itself. It doesn't come as any real surprise that BFG has opted to use the reference cooler from NVIDIA.



BFG has of course included a sticker on the card along with making note that the card is the OCX model of the 9800 GTX.





Of course, following the reference design we do have the standard two 6-Pin PCI Express connectors located towards the back of the card, while we have two SLI connectors across the top. We also have a little port next to the SLI connectors which is for the included loop back cable that lets you get sound though the HDMI connector.



Finally we have the I/O department which comprises two dual link DVI connectors and a single TV-Out port. Like all 9800 GTXs, the BFG is of course a dual slot card.


Specifications

At stock speeds the 9800 GTX comes with a 675MHz core, 1688 MHz shader and 2200MHz DDR memory clock on the 512MB of GDDR3. The BFG comes in with a 755MHz core, 1890MHz shader, and 2300MHz DDR memory clock. This is a very nice increase which should yield some decent performance gains.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1
Drivers: Forceware 174.53 (9 Series), Forceware 169.25 (8 Series)


With our nicely overclocked BFG GTX on hand, let's see how it compares against the stock clocked dual GPU wielding card.


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.




Straight away we can see at the lower resolution the difference between the two cards aren't great. As we move up in resolution, the GX2 spreads its wings a bit more.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.






Moving to another synthetic benchmark, we can see that the minimum department doesn't show much difference. However, when we move to the averages the GX2 does come out ahead a little more.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




We can see under CINEBENCH that the GX2 comes out a little bit ahead, but not by a huge amount.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.






In our first real world test we can see at the lower resolutions the performance between the two cards is minimal. Only when we climb to 1920 x 1200 do we begin to see a bit of a difference.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here





From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.




At the lower resolution we can see that the GX2 is actually behind the GTX, but if we move up higher the two cards sit closer together. If we push higher again the dual GPU GX2 does come out ahead.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




UT3 shows what we've seen all along so far; at the lower resolution the GTX can tend to perform better to similarly. As we climb up, though, the GX2 manages to sneak ahead.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06



Turning on the AA and AF, we see that 3DMark06 really is able to make use of the SLI technology which puts the GX2 considerably in front.


World In Conflict





Moving to a real world game; while we see the GX2 does continue to be ahead, the gains aren't as impressive as the 3DMark06 ones.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.




Firing up Windows XP, we can see that we get a similar result to our Vista 3DMark run with the lower resolution results between the two cards not being too far apart. Once again, though, we see the gap widening as we climb up the resolution table.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




Unlike Vista we can see here that the performance between the two cards is extremely similar.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





Going back to real world games, the minimum score between the two cards is similar with the average score being a bit wider apart. Both cards offer playable frame rates at up to 1920 x 1200 with settings on high.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




We again see that as we put more strain on the GTX, the performance begins to go downhill, while the GX2 barely feels it. We again see that we're still getting a very playable frame rate out of the GTX at 1920 x 1200, nonetheless.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.




The stock cooler does a good job of keeping temps down.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).




Thanks to the shroud the noise levels are slightly lower on the GX2 when compared to the GTX.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




As you would expect, the single GPU GTX power is considerably lower than the dual GPU GX2.

Final Thoughts




I've been quite a fan of the 9800 GTX from the word go, this simply due to the plain fact that it's brought good performance at a reasonable price. While the BFG Tech OCX is one of the more expensive 9800 GTX cards on the market, the lifetime warranty and healthy out-of-the-box overclock make it quite an attractive purchase.

While the 9800 GTX at the higher resolution is for the most part slower than the more expensive 9800 GX2, it still offers excellent performance. If you have an SLI motherboard as well, we would be optioning for a pair of 9800 GTX cards versus a single 9800 GX2 as the GX2 really is nothing more than a pair of 8800 GTs in SLI.

If you're on an Intel based chipset where SLI isn't an option, we're also probably still leaning towards the GTX due to the plain fact that on a whole it offers a whole lot better performance to price ratio.

With all this said though, who knows where the 9800 series of cards are going to be in a few weeks once the new GT 200 based cards are on the market. Will NVIDIA drop the price of these cards or will we simply see them discontinued? - My bet is that the 9800 GTX is probably still going to fill a price gap that won't be seen with the GT 200 line-up of cards come launch day.

Either way, it's hard not to be impressed with the offering that BFG has her. If you're in the market for a graphics card that you expect to keep for years to come, or you're just finding that when it comes time to sell it, the fact it has a lifetime warranty is more attractive, then you can't go wrong with the BFG Tech 9800 GTX.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
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