5950 v 9800 XT

 

Review: Stuart "Veridian3" Davidson
Editor/Design: Allan "Zardon" Campbell

 

Introduction

Back in October when we had our first look at the 9800 XT its competition was the 5900 Ultra. 2 months down the line Nvidia have released their refresh to the 5900 Ultra design, the higher clocked differently cooled 5950 Ultra. Read on to find out how it fares in our benchmarks and also to find out how Sapphires take on the 9800 XT scores.

THE CARDS:

THE FX

The first thing that strikes you about the FX 5950 Ultra is the huge heatsink and fan assembly. Despite its size the card is reasonably light, much lighter than the 5900 Ultra reference design. The large heatsink cools the core very well and the fan is no louder than the fan on a 9800 Pro, a welcome change to the 5900 design. As you can see from the above picture the card also has an extended ramsink which doubles as a handle to aid installing/removing.

The rear of the card retains the same ramsink/plate as the 5900 Ultra.

Installation of the card into the Asus SK8V used in this review was easy, no concerns at all. The card is long however there was good clearance all round.

 

THE XT

Sapphires 9800 XT follows the reference design almost exactly. The only differences, and they are small, are the heatsink picture and the lack of an ATI badge beside the molex plug. The fan is very quiet when in 2d/low temperature and even when it speeds up to cool more efficiently it was almost un-noticeable noise wise.

Sapphires Retail bundle is excellent, as well as coming in a stylish metallic effect box with a window displaying the card inside you get a huge amount of goodies, it really feels like your getting your moneys worth.

Included are: S-video and composite video cable, DvI-VGA dongle, power splitter, Sapphire Redline overclocking utility, manual, power DVD XP, Drivers/Demo’s, Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness and finally a Half-Life 2 voucher. Two points of interest here, firstly as this is about as top of the range as you can get we would expect to see Power DVD 5 bundled with the pack rather than XP. Secondly, it’s an interesting decision to include an Nvidia “The Way Its Meant To Be Played” game with an ATI card.

Installation of the XT was a breeze, simple 1 slot cooling and a relatively small card compared to the 5950 Ultra. Both cards driver install was flawless, no concerns were experienced.



Next: Specs/Setup