Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card

Gainward has released its own version of the 9800 GTX+. Shane takes the time to check it out today.
| Sep 29, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Gainward

Introduction

Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
IntroductionThe 9800 GTX+ is just one of those cards that doesn't seem to be creating any real waves for NVIDIA; this seems to be a bit of a trend lately, though. The 9800 GT which was nothing more than a rebadged 8800 GT with a new price tag didn't really excite all that many people and the new GTX 260 that's being shown around seems to not only bore end users, but doesn't seem to be creating any real sparks with NVIDIAs AIB partners either.Like most companies, though, Gainward has released a 9800 GTX+, but unlike most other companies, they've taken the time to do something with it. Today we find out what exactly that is and if it can make the 9800 GTX+ a little more exciting. Unlike the HD 4850 we looked at from Gainward the other day, this card doesn't come in under the Golden Sample naming scheme. That doesn't mean that it's not going to be an exciting card, though, so let's check out the package before we take a closer look at the card.

The Package

The PackageThe package is very similar to the HD 4850 we looked at as far as the overall layout goes; across the top of the box we have the Gainward name along with the G logo. In the middle of the card we have an angel like character along with some NVIDIA logos and mention that the card comes with a free copy of 3DMark Vantage.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
The bottom of the card gives us the model, which in this case is the 9800 GTX+. We also have some of the main features like 512MB of GDDR3 memory, 3-Way SLI support, DX10, Dual DVI and more.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Turning the box over, we have details regarding some of the technologies that are implemented into the card. We also have some mention about NVIDIAs advantages. Across the bottom of the box we have the Gainward logo, the URL to their website and a number of other logos.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Apart from the quick start guide we have another sheet of paper that has a Vantage key. To make use of it you will need to download Vantage from the Futuremark website. Also included is a driver CD that has drivers, the manual and a copy of expertool.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
As far as cables go, we've got a single dual molex to 6-pin power connector, DVI to VGA connector, DVI to HDMI connector and a cable that sits between your graphics card and sound card to help let the HDMI convertor transfer both video and audio.

The Card

The CardWith the package and its content done, it's time to check out the card itself. Pulling it out of the box, it looks like a new cooler. However, if you look at it a bit more carefully you'll notice it's the same cooler as the HD 4850 one with a slightly different cover on it. We can see in the middle of the card over the core we have a fan and under that we have some aluminum fins and a copper base.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Looking at the top we can also see two copper pipes coming out which help get the hot air away from the core. We can also see that Gainward has put a bit of colour onto the cover along with adding their logo to it.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Taking a peek around the card, we find our normal line-up of connectors. Towards the back of the card sitting at the top we have two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors and to the right of that we have the connector for the audio cable. Located down the front we have two SLI connectors that give us the chance to run up to three of these cards together.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
In the I/O department we have two Dual Link DVI connectors along with a single TV-Out port. Being a double slot card we also have an exhaust spot sitting across the top that lets the hot air escape.SpecificationsWhile the card isn't part of the Golden Sample series, they have still managed to give the core a slight bump, moving it to 745MHz while the 512MB of GDDR3 memory carries a clock of 2200MHz 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: NVIDIA ForceWare 177.79 and Catalyst 8.8Today we will be checking out the Gainward 9800 GTX+ against the XFX 9800 GTX+ along with the older 9800 GTX OCX from BFG and the 9800 GX2 from ASUS.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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
In our first test we can see that we have a slight jump on the XFX offering with it sitting pretty much in line with the BFG 9800 GTX OCX.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
We again see the Gainward card just sneak ahead of the XFX offering while it manages to stay ahead of older 9800 GTX OCX from BFG at the same time.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Again we continue to see the Gainward offering just sneak out ahead of the XFX one; performance is very similar to that of the highly overclocked 9800 GTX from BFG.

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).
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
CINEBENCH performance puts the two 9800 GTX+ cards quite close together.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Under WIC we see the Gainward card again being able to beat out the XFX one; it continues to sit on par with the overclocked 9800 GTX from BFG.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Crysis like our other tests show the Gainward card just sneaking ahead. We see that when compared to the older 9800 GTX OCX the performance is very close between the two.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
UT3 puts the Gainward card just ahead of the XFX 9800 GTX+.

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
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Turning on AA and AF shows all three GTX cards performing very close to each other.World In Conflict
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
We continue to see the Gainward offering just get past the XFX on every test.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Under XP we can see in our first test the GTX cards again perform very close to each other.

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).
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Under CINEBENCH the Gainward card manages to jump out ahead when compared to the other cards.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
WIC performance continues to just be up on the Gainward card when compared to both the XFX GTX+ offering and the BFG overclocked GTX card.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
We leave with the Gainward card just coming out ahead of the other GTX and GTX+ offerings.

Temperature & 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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
The new cooler helps keep temps down by over 10%, which is always appreciated.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).
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
The new temps don't come at the cost of more noise either; noise levels on the cooler that Gainward have used are great.

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.
Gainward GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB Graphics Card
The Gainward card manages to draw slightly less power than the XFX offering.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsWe're not really looking at anything too out of the ordinary here; the slight overclock that Gainward has given the card not only manages to just outperform the stock clocked model in almost every test, but also the heavily overclocked 9800 GTX from BFG.For the money, the 9800 GTX+ isn't a bad buy, but it seems to be a card that not too many companies are embracing. In all fairness it really is nothing more than an overclocked 9800 GTX, and if you already offer them why should you be bothering too much with the 9800 GTX+.The good news is that unlike the HD 4850 we looked at from Gainward the other day, this card does have a bit more of a package going on thanks to the inclusion of not only the HDMI adapter and loop back cable but also a key for 3DMark Vantage so that you can display the power of your system loudly and proudly.If you find yourself looking for a 9800 GTX+, the Gainward isn't a bad buy; the slight overclock gives us a little boost in performance while the bundle is also pretty decent. Gainward have also done a good job with the aftermarket cooler; not only does it run cooler than the reference based cards, but it also runs quieter making it a real win win.The Gainward 9800 GTX+ is a good card, that's about it, though. And the problem isn't with them; Gainward have almost done everything they can with the card to make it good. It has a good bundle, good cooling, nice looks and a decent price tag. But ultimately it's NVIDIAs core behind the cooler that truly makes the card and that is what's boring.So with that said, we have to say "Good job" to Gainward for doing what they've done with the card. But as usual, the huge number of models NVIDIA have decided to give us these days is so confusing and underwhelming that it does let the model on a whole down.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

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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