ASUS EN9800GTX TOP Graphics Card
Although the latest and greatest graphics cards are always a hot topic, we're going to focus on one of the established predecessors - a GeForce 9800 GTX (without the plus sign) in this piece. Our sample comes from ASUS in the form of the EN9800GTX TOP. If you are a regular reader of HotHardware (or video card reviews in general), then you are probably already aware that "TOP" is ASUS's designation to indicate that the card comes factory overclocked. "TOP" stands for "Top Overclocking Performance." In this case, the EN9800GTX TOP is overclocked to 755 MHz for the core (reference speed is 675 MHz), 1175 MHz for the memory (reference speed is 1100 MHz), and 1840 MHz for the shader clock (reference speed is 1688 MHz). One interesting note is that this card is actually faster than the upcoming GeForce 9800 GTX+ that we mentioned above, but the EN9800GTX TOP is of course not a 55nm part like the 9800 GTX+. In the table below, you can see how the EN9800GTX TOP compares to NVIDIA's reference GeForce 9800 GTX and reference GeForce 8800 GTX.
Those of you expecting that the 9800 GTX would smack the 8800 GTX around are no doubt disappointed, but that's not really what the 9800 GTX launch was about. The big news with the GeForce 9800 GTX, besides the GPU's manufacturing process being moved from 90nm to 65nm, was that you'd get 8800 GTX performance at a much lower price (the 9800 GTX launched with an MSRP of $299-349 and can be found for around $200 now). In addition to the better price, you also get PureVideo HD and Hybrid Power support, and a quiter, cooling running card.
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