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ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP Graphics Card

The 9800 GTX+ seemed to be a bit of a paper launch, but finally we have one in hand. Let's check it out!
@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Tue, Aug 5 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:27 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction

ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
IntroductionWe saw the 9800 GTX+ launch a little bit back, but samples have been scarce and stock has been even harder to get a hold of. It's been a while since we've seen a card be a paper launch, but it seemed the 9800 GTX+ was exactly that. It was designed to help draw attention away from the release of the new AMD cards.It didn't really seem to work, though, as there seems to have been very little talk of people saying that they're going to wait for the release of the 9800 GTX+. It looks like the card is going to start to hit the retail channel now with more and more companies having samples ready and stock shipping out to their distributors. Today we're not only looking at a standard GTX+, but the overclocked model from ASUS that comes in under the TOP naming scheme. Let's have a quick look at the package and the card along with what ASUS has done with the core, shader and memory clock.

The Package

The PackageASUS has actually gone through a bit of a box redesign with the latest line-up of cards. While you can't actually tell the difference from the picture below, the boxes are actually a fair bit smaller these days. It's good to see they're cutting back on the old cardboard. Apart from this, though, the overall layout on the front of the box is pretty similar. Across the top of the card we have the ASUS logo and motto along with a picture of a girl towards the right side of the box.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Across the bottom of the box we have the model along with the TOP logo that lets us know that the model is an overclocked one. Above that we have some of the main features like 512MB of GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0, GamerOSD and SmartDoctor.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Turning the box over, we have some talk about the exclusive features that the ASUS card offers along with some of the main features of the card. We also have some recommended system requirements and other little bits of information.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Opening up the box and diving past the graphics card, we have the standard manual on a CD, driver CD and SpeedSetUP guide. Along with this ASUS have also included a leather mouse pad which is probably one of the cooler additions and more useful than the CD wallet.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
As far as cables go, there isn't a whole lot going on. We have a component-out dongle, dual molex to PCI Express connector, 6-pin to 8-pin PCI Express connector and a single DVI to VGA convertor.

The Card

The CardLooking at the card, you can see ASUS have gone down a bit of a different path with a full sticker going over the card with the same girl on the front. The whole thing looks pretty cool; it's disappointing that you won't really be able to see it once it's in your case.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Apart from that there isn't a whole lot going on thanks to the cooler covering the card from head to toe.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Looking around the card, it carries all the normal traits of the GTX. Across the top of the card we have two 6-Pin PCI Express connectors while the other end of the card has two SLI connectors so you can have up to three cards in the system.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
The I/O side of things resembles the standard 9800 GTX. We have two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a TV-Out port. Since the card takes up two slots, the other slot has holes in it to let the hot air get out of the card and keep the temperatures down.SpecificationsLike we've already mentioned, the TOP models are overclocked out of the box. We move from the stock 738MHz core to 775MHz while the shader gets bumped from 1836MHz to 1950MHz and the 512MB of GDDR3 goes from 2200MHz DDR to 2360MHz DDR.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06

Test System SetupProcessor(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 SP1Drivers: ForceWare 177.41 (GTX Series), ForceWare 175.19 (9 Series)Today we will have a look at the 9800 GTX+ TOP against an overclocked 9800 GTX and also see the card alongside both the 9800 GX2 and GTX 280.3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
In 3DMark06 we can see that all the cards sit quite close together. We can see the GTX+ OC is a little faster than the GTX OC.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage

3DMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware. 3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Under Vantage we can see a nice little gain for the 9800 GTX+ TOP over the overclocked 9800 GTX from BFG.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

PT Boats: Knights of the SeaVersion and / or Patch Used: Benchmark DemoDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Across the board we again see a nice little gain for the GTX+ over the older GTX.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer 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).
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
We can see all the single cored cards score quite close together with the dual GPU GX2 sitting at the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
We continue to see the GTX+ OC stay ahead of the GTX OC, just. At the lower resolution we can see that the GTX+ and GTX 280 don't show much of a difference. When we climb to 1920 x 1200, though, the GTX 280 does come out well ahead.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demoDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Checking out Crysis; we can see the GTX+ continues to see a slight gain over the GTX.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
UT3 puts the GTX+ ahead of the GTX by a small margin at all resolutions. We again see the GTX 280 really only pull ahead significantly at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur 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
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Turning on AA and AF, we see the GTX+ again get a little speed bump over the older GTX OC.World In Conflict
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
With this high detail level we can see a good gain with the new GTX+. But unfortunately the performance at this detail isn't playable on these cards.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Again under 3DMark06 we see that all the cards perform quite close together with the GTX+ still seeing some decent gains over the older GTX.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer 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).
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Under CINEBENCH we can see that the GTX+ TOP comes out ahead of the pack. We can see a decent gain over the older GTX OC.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
We continue to see a small gain over the older GTX OC with all the cards bunched quite close together in the minimum department.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo 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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
In our final game test we again see a little bump in performance against the GTX OC with it not being all that far behind the stock clocked GTX 280.

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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
All our single cored cards temperatures are within a degree of each other.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).
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Noise levels for the new GTX+ seem to be a little down on the older GTX.

Power Consumption Tests

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.
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ TOP
Power draw between the two 9800 GTX cards are pretty similar at both load and idle.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsUltimately, the 9800 GTX+ is just an overclocked 9800 GTX and an overclocked GTX+ is a 9800 GTX overclocked even more. ASUS' decision to offer an overclocked GTX+ from the word go seems to be a good idea as it helps it stand out a bit more from just a regular GTX or an overclocked GTX.There isn't really a whole lot to say about the card; it's going to come in at a good price while offering some good performance. It's going to fill in the gap that's present between the GTX 260 and 9800 GT since 9800 GTX stock has become quite limited.The only problem at the moment is the card is quite hard to get a hold of. While there was an official date for the lifting of the NDA, there was never really any word of when the stock was going to be arriving on store shelves. It seems like stock is beginning to show up at places and over the next few weeks we should see more and more stock.While samples of the card are going to get out to websites around the world, everyone is really beginning to focus on the HD 4870 X2 which is just around the corner. The positive press from the HD 4800 series already on the market means that people are very keen to know what the new HD 4870 X2 is going to offer over the top GTX 280 from NVIDIA.At the end of it all, the 9800 GTX+ TOP is a good performing card which should show up at a decent price level. It would have been nice to see stock earlier, but that's not ASUS' fault. We're not sure if it was a matter of limited cores or getting rid of the original GTX that slowed the release of the card down, but the good news is it's coming very soon now.
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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.

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