Benchmark Analysis & Real-World Performance
The overall gaming performance of the PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB card is almost right where we thought it would be. It performed in line with our expectations in most game benchmarks, finishing a bit higher in some older games, and a bit lower with some newer products, but still within limits. The majority of current games will support SLI, and offer some level of performance jump, but the actual increase will still differ between games.
Naturally, the dual-GPU nature of the PNY card means that you will require ultra high resolutions and detail settings to make full use of it. But no one buys a card like this to run at 800x600. Even so, we wouldn't recommend a powerhouse like this for anything less than a 24" display capable of a 1920x1200 resolution. Anything lower resolution would be a waste, as that's the true beauty of a dual-GPU card like the PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB - it allows you maintain high framerates at insane resolutions and detail settings.
The card's real-world performance is exceptional, and probably more of a selling point than the benchmarks. Here, we were allowed to experiment with the various AA and AF settings, and see exactly how far we could take it, going well beyond what any single-GPU card is capable of. With the majority of existing games, the sky truly is the limit, and you can usually ramp up the details without losing much (if any) in the way of performance. For pure game speed at ultra-high resolutions and details, the GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB is about as good as it gets.
Overclocking Results and Performance
The PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB is clocked lower than a standard GeForce 9800 GTX, so it's only natural to assume some upward mobility in terms of core speed. The memory speed has also dropped on the GX2, so there may be some potential there as well. The default clocks were measured as 600 MHz core, 1500 MHz shader, and 2000 MHz GDDR3 memory.
To test out the overclocking limits of the PNY card, we used RivaTuner and slowly increased the core and memory speeds until a maximum was achieved. To keep the variables to a minimum, we linked the core and shader speeds. After extensive testing, we reached the following clock speeds: 748 MHz core, 1870 MHz shader, and 2300 MHz memory. This is an excellent overclocking result, and the card went higher than anticipated.
Keep in mind that this overclocking data is based on one card, and as with most things in life, your mileage can definitely vary.
The retail price of the PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB card hovers right around the $500 mark, which places it on par with other name brand 9800 GX2 cards. In terms of ATI comparisons, the Radeon 3870 X2 1GB is the closest, and a similar model would sit at around $380-$400. Obviously, NVIDIA has the edge over ATI, and this allows a slight price premium. Single-GPU performance cards include the GeForce 9600 GT 512MB ($150), Radeon HD 3870 512MB ($175), GeForce 8800 GT 512MB ($180), GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB ($225), and GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB ($275). PNY offers a full 3-year warranty on the card, along with an additional 2 years if you register on the PNY website.
* Please note that online prices are taken at the time of review, and are not intended to reflect long-term trends. Retail models are used when possible, and only OEM where noted.
The PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB is a definite high-end video card, and it allows enthusiast gamers to scale to unheard of heights. The beauty of one-card SLI is that it's like having an extra GPU-on-demand, ready to push to a higher resolution or greater detail level, all without losing much in the way of framerates. This card will not blow you away at lower resolutions, and pretty well requires a high-end system and LCD configuration just to make sense. But for those with the necessary supporting hardware, the PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB will supply both eye candy and silky-smooth game play.
- Superior Performance
- Near-Lossless AA and AF
- High-Resolution Powerhouse
- Large & Heavy
- Takes up 2 Slots