Most of my video card experience has been with mid-range cards. I'm not what you would call a hardcore gamer, though I like gaming I really don't have the time to spend doing a lot of gaming, nor the cash to go out and spend 60 bucks every time a new game comes out.
I do love computer performance, but the performance I've always been interested is in CPU/memory related, mainly speed and workload. I like for my applications to launch instantly, and desire the ability to run numerous programs at one time. My technology budget is limited, so I have always forgone spending more on a graphics card to spend more on a processor, memory, or better power supply to make sure things are stable.
So, I've generally bought middle of the road video cards, such as the geForce 6600GT, 7600GT, 8600GT or GTS, and the Radeon 9600Pro, and HD 3850, all in the $160-$225 range at their release. I've been satisfied with playing games at 1024 x 768 resolution, medium settings, and no AA, where the mid-grade cards are comfortable, and do a decent to good job. Every generation of GPUs performs better than the last, and I've been happy to upgrade to the next generation rather than the next level of GPU.
But face it, if you want to see a game the way the developers intended it to be seen, you have to own an upper-end card. Something that is comfortable with minimum resolution of 1280 x 1024, "high" or "very high" settings, 2 x AA or better, and will get you some decent FPS at those settings. Something with minimum 512mb of memory. The game developers don't spend years creating a game with awesome graphics, just to have it played through a marginal graphics card.
If you are like me, and have been happy with mid-range cards, spend a few hours at your favorite game played at the highest settings, using AA, and higher resolutions while using an upper end card, and you'll probably realize that you've been in denial for all of this time. Today I will be looking at the Asus EN9800GTX Top, a factory overclocked version of nVidia's latest top-of-the-line single-GPU video card, with 512mb of DDR3 memory. Will this video card finally make me realize that rather than being practical when buying mid-range cards, I've just been cheap? Read on and see!
Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX
Bus Standard: PCI Express 2.0
Video Memory: DDR 512MB
Engine Clock: 755 MHz
Shader Clock: 1.84 GHz
Memory Clock: 2.35 GHz ( 1.175 GHz DDR3 )
Memory Interface: 256-bit
CRT Max Resolution: 2048 x 1536
DVI Max Resolution: 3840 x 2400
D-Sub Output: Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1 )
DVI Output: x 2 (DVI-I)
HDTV Output (YPbPr)
TV Output: (YPbPr to S-Video and Composite)
- 1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
- 1 x HDTV-out cable
- 1 x Power cable
Software Bundled: ASUS Utilities & Driver
Special bundled: CD Leather Wallet
- 12% Core Clock Boosts
- ASUS Splendid: Watching movies on PC is as good as on Top-of-the-line consumer television
- ASUS Gamer OSD: Real-time overclocking, benchmarking and video capturing in any PC game!
- ASUS Video Security Online: Keep an eye on your home at all times no matter where you are
- ASUS Smart Doctor: Your intelligent hardware protection and overclocking tool.
- PCI Express & PCI Express 2.0 support
- Microsoft DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.0 support
- OpenGL 2.0 support
- HDCP compliant
- NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology - Essential for the Ultimate HD Movie Experience on a PC
-NVIDIA Quantum Technology - Advanced Shader Processors architected for physics computation
The EN9800GTX Top comes in the same box that all of the latest Asus video cards come in. On the back of the box are the features and specs, and inside of the false top are more features.
As with most Asus products, the outer box is merely a sleeve containing another box. Open the inner box and you see the bundle, along with the video card in its protective foam compartment.