Test Setup & Benchmarks
We build our test setups with the help of Tones.be
(Belgian’s Largest Hardware Shop!) who helped us with the hard drives, CPUs and monitors, MSI
for the motherboards, OCZ
for the memory, Coolermaster
for the cases and power supplies and last but not least, Scythe
for the silent CPU coolers.At the time of purchase each system we build cost us approximately ~€1200 without the VGA card. While it’s not a budget system, it’s also far from high end as we’re using a DDR2 motherboard and a mid-range Core 2 Duo Wolfdale CPU. Combining it with a €300+ VGA card does place it in the more expensive bracket when it comes down to building a game machine.
One of the costs for a system is the monitor for sure, the system price mentioned above includes this screen, a SAMSUNG Syncmaster 2493HM 24inch, it has a native resolution of 1920x1200 this screen offers quite low 5ms latency. Again this screen is mid-range as more expensive models are available, but the resolution of most 26”~27” screens remains the same at 1920x1200. You need to invest into a 30” to go higher to 2560x1600 at which point you will be spending a pretty hefty sum.
OS: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit
NVIDIA Drivers: Forceware 180.48
These are the games we tested:
We tried to expand our list with the latest games and different genres to give you an idea of how the 9800 GTX+ performs.
World In Conflict
Unreal Tournament 3
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Race Driver : GRID
Call of Duty 4
Left 4 Dead
Devil May Cry 4
Far Cry 2
We tested the Sparkle 9800 GTX+ 512Mb against a reference clocked XFX 8800 GTX 768Mb card in the benchmarks mentioned above. Each card was installed in the same hardware setup and we ran each benchmark side by side, especially in games which do not have any build-in benchmark mode this came in very handy as we could reproduce the same game path on both systems, as illustrated in the small movie below:
We used a VIP-844-BC 4 port PS/2 Keyboard Multicaster, which allows you to control up to 4 PCs simultaneously with one keyboard, for the mouse we used 2 Logitech MX1000 receivers and synchronized one MX1000 with both receivers, with this setup we are able to control both PCs 99% simultaneously. It proved a challenge to set up at first as every window and field in Windows has to match up 100% otherwise you would have to focus on one system each, using a HDD image copy we got a complete setup match and benchmarking could start.
The venerable Geforce 8800 GTX which can be had for €130~150 if bought second hand is not much cheaper than the Sparkle 9800 GTX + which costs new €160~170; which one is faster? And by how much?