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Graphics cards Reviews
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MSI GeForce N9800 GX2-M2D1G review

£369 inc VAT

Manufacturer: MSI

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Few graphics cards are as mighty as nVidia's GeForce 9800 GX2. Or as expensive.

Few graphics cards are as mighty as nVidia's GeForce 9800 GX2. Or as expensive.

Subtlety is rarely a word you'd use to describe graphics cards. So powerful are today's video adaptors that many of them gobble up a third of the space inside your PC without even blinking. And that's before you've even begun on the whopping power requirements.

Even so, few graphics cards are as mighty as nVidia's GeForce 9800 GX2.

The towering MSI GeForce N9800 GX2-M2D1G measures more than 27mm, and requires two power connectors. One of the latter will need to be an 8-pin, so you should check carefully to make sure that the card will be compatible with your power-supply unit (PSU).

Speaking of which, the PSU needs to be at least 580W, so if you have an old system, ensure that it'll meet the power requirements. And, as if that wasn't enough, you should make sure your PC case is properly cooled, as the 9800 GX2 generates rather a lot of heat.

So, having got all that out of the way, is there any justification for these demanding requirements? Well, yes actually, since the 9800 GX2 consists of not one but two G92 GPUs bolted together. Graphics card enthusiasts will note that this follows in the heavy footsteps of ATI's Radeon 3870 X2. Packing two chips on to the same card isn't the most elegant way of increasing firepower but, as the 3870 X2 shows, it is awfully effective.

At first glance, you could be forgiven for feeling slightly underwhelmed by the MSI GeForce N9800 GX2-M2D1G's specifications. After all, the 600MHz and 1GHz (2GHz DDR effective) core and memory clock speeds lag behind the figures of the significantly cheaper 9800 GTX.

Admittedly it beats the GTX for stream processors (both GPUs have 126, making for a total of 252) and 1GB of RAM is included – although nVIDIA is still sticking with GDDR3 rather than GDDR4 memory.

NEXT PAGE: the MSI GeForce N9800 GX2-M2D1G's performance on test, and our expert verdict > >

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MSI GeForce N9800 GX2-M2D1G Expert Verdict »

nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2
600MHz Core Clock
1,000MHz Memory Clock (2,000 DDR effective)
400MHz Ramdac
2 x 126 Stream Processors
PCI-E Interface
TV Out/Video In
DirectX 10.0
3-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 10 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 5 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

There is a flaw with the 9800 GX2 - and for most users, it'll prove a rather fatal one. It may be the fastest card available, but it's also the most expensive – and by quite a large margin. Indeed, you can save yourself £100 or more by settling for the 3870 X2 – a card that, after all, is still the second fastest available. Those with a ridiculous dedication to gaming (and plenty of cash) will undoubtedly see the sense in paying the high price for the GX2 – this, after all, is the first standalone card that makes Crysis playable on a 24in flat-panel running at its native resolution. But the rest of us will find that, as a value proposition, the MSI GeForce N9800 GX2-M2D1G simply doesn't add up.

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