GeForce 9800 GTX Extreme Overclocking Experiment

Overclocking/Overclocking Tests by Blind @ 2008-05-14

The GeForce 9800 GTX product was received with mixed feelings; on the one hand you had an affordable high end VGA solution, but on the other hand it was not much of improvement over the 8800 GTX. One area where the 9800 GTX might shine through however is overclocking, the new GPU generates less heat, and with the help of some LN2 it will be interesting to see how high it can climb!

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Introduction and test setup


Madshrimps (c)

A while ago, NVIDIA released its newest Geforce series, GeForce 9. The first card on the market was the 9600 GT, which we've already pushed over its limits here. Now it's time for the higher end, 9800 GTX, which is still affordable as these samples can already be found at €250. It's a single GPU solution, in contrary to the 9800GX2, so cooling down the card with LN² should be quite easy when you find the right container to place on the card;

Let's see if these cards are really suited for extreme overclocking.

Test setup and methodology

Blind's 9800GTX Test Setup

Madshrimps (c)
CPU Intel Core2Duo E8500
  • Stock XFX 9800GTX air cooling
  • K|ngp|n's Dragon F1 EE
  • K|ngp|n's Tek9 3.0
  • Mainboard Abit IP35 Pro
    Memory 2 * 1GB OCZ Reaper PC9200
  • XFX 9800GTX
  • OCZ Proxstream 1KW
  • Windows XP SP3

  • The benchmarks we chose to run were those of the HWBot benchmark suite to help our Overclocking Team with more point and higher ranking!

  • 3DMark01
  • 3DMark03
  • 3DMark05
  • 3DMark06
  • Aquamark3

    Detailed information regarding the setup/cooling

    We compared the results of three different setups:

  • 9800 GTX at standard speeds
  • High stable speeds when overclocked with the reference cooler
  • Custom container mounted on the video card, maximum overclock

    In both air cooled test conditions, we clocked the cpu to 4,4GHz to lower the bottleneck and have a better view on the performance gain of overclocking the card. Why only 4,4GHz? Well, at the moment of testing, Belgium is the hottest country of Europe with 28-30°C, which is not that good when overclocking.

    In the LN² test session, we overclocked both CPU and VGA to the limits, so clock frequencies used in the various benchmarks differ a bit.

    When we started overclocking the 9800 GTX while cooled with LN² a coldbug kicked in. The coldbug has been in the overclocking world for quite some time now and it basically means that the hardware shuts down when a critical temperature is reached. With the 9800GTX, this critical temperature lies at -45°C, if you below this limit the video card refuses to work. Luckily, the nVidia engineers are trying to fix the coldbug by updating the bios, so an update in the future on our results is quite possible.

    Madshrimps (c)

    In the photo above we can see that at -50°C the card shuts down and the voltage delivered the GPU by the system drops. Onto our OC results ->
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