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Graphic processing unit (GPU) is a compulsory hardware for a computing system; either discrete or integrated. Today integrated GPUs such as Intel G45, AMD 790GX are much better than those in old days but if you are building a gaming system then a discrete GPU will be much better. Today let us have a quick look on Galaxy 9800GT; a decent performance VGA which comes with fair price.
Long established since 1994. GALAXY was officially formed and is fully dedicated in the manufacturing / distribution of quality computer components. Head office in Hong Kong and ISO9001 certified manufacturing plant & facility in China, this combination of business structure enables us the leading advantages by our.
Business growth is enormous, in the early 2000, we have taken an major step by launching our own brands namely Glacier and Zeus, leading to today's GALAXY. The encouraging result and feedback confirmed our strategy of brand awareness to be a success, whilst gaining an extensive network around the globe through channel partner, reputable large scale chain stores and the hottest online e-tailers.
Package & Contents
Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is packed with a cool looking black packaging; neither too big nor too small. As usual, some advanced technologies and features of the cards are printed on the packaging box with eye-catching effects; this is same for Galaxy 9800GT Low Power as well.
Besides the outer soft cardboard, the Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is also packed with another cardboard which is more solid to ensure the graphic card is protected well. The physical Galaxy 9800GT Low Power card is protected by ESD and burble bags since graphic card is a sensitive device.
Those accessories that come along with Galaxy 9800GT Low Power are HDMI audio cable, driver & software CD, user's manual, quick reference guide, and HDMI installation guide. The HDMI audio cable is something new to us since this is our first time received HDMI supported graphic card. This HDMI audio cable is needed to be connected on the motherboard for HDMI audio setup.
A Closer Look - Galaxy 9800GT Low Power
Currently there are three active Nvidia GeForce 9800GT graphic cards that Galaxy is selling now; standard 9800GT, 9800GT HDMI 1GB and 9800GT Low Power. Basically Nvidia GeForce 9800GT is the successor of GeForce 8800GT which is one of the legend cards that provides promising results over the predecessor. Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is an improved version over 9800GT by Galaxy as it targets for those systems without 6/8-pin PCI-E power cable; good news for those are still not yet ready to upgrade their PSU but still planning to have a decent graphic card.
Galaxy 9800GT Low Power that we received is a black version where the cooler is improved as the original cooler is a just basic cooler. Galaxy 9800GT Low Power comes with a dual PCI slots cooler for better cooling performance where the graphic card stability and life span will be eventually improved. A blue blower is used for this cooler which is quite common among high end graphic card coolers. Anyway the whole cooler of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power isn't that eye catching enough so it may disappoint certain of the users especially case modding folks.
Galaxy 9800GT Low Power supports dual monitors so two connectors are built in. However since Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is targeting for mainstream market, there isn't dual DVI connectors but a DVI + an Analog for better market fulfillment. Besides that HDMI in included as well which is fascinating as we seldom see HDMI connector is included except for those high end graphic cards. Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is equipped with PCI-E 2.0 standard (500MB/s) which is common standard for graphic card nowadays; approximately twice faster than PCI-E 1.0 standard (250MB/s).
SLI is supported by Galaxy 9800GT Low Power but only 2-way SLI not Quad SLI. Besides that Hybrid SLI can be supported by Nvidia GeForce 9800GT as well where the SLI can be enabled through supported motherboard such as nForce 7xx, 9xx and GeForce 8xxx, 9xxx. Maybe due to this reason, the SLI connector is not bundled together inside this package. For identification, there is a label at the back PCB of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power; GT 9800GT PCI-E 512MB DDR3 256Bit w/CRT/DVI/HDMI and it is made in China.
The dual PCI slots cooler is fasten on the Galaxy 9800GT Low Power PCB with four spring screws and it is quite simple to remove it. Since a heavy dual PCI slots cooler is used, both of the PCB is protected with shield rings to avoid damages which might incuded by over fasten. Anyway there is metal shield around the GPU for additional protection as the GPU chip is much bigger compares with those graphic cards in old days.
Comparing with GeForce 9800GT with GeForce 8800GT, both of these specifications are almost identical based on Nvidia specifications unless you are able to find a GeForce 9800GT with 55nm which is quite rare but there it is. Galaxy 9800GT Low Power comes with 112 stream processors, 550MHz core clock, 900MHz memory clock, 1500MHz shader clock, 256-bit interface and 400MHz RAMDACs. However when comparing Galaxy 9800GT Low Power with OEM 9800GT, it seems its specifications are lower down for avoiding additional power supply; 600MHz GPU clock to 550MHz, 9.6 GPixel/s Pixel Fillrate to 8.8GPixel/s and 38.4 GTexel/s Texture Fillrate to 35.2GTexel/s.
There are total eight memory chips of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power which is Samsung K4J5234QH-HJ1A 913. These memory chips are 1.0ns DDR3 memory which has official 1000MHz speed but Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is only rated at 900MHz so there is still some room for overclocking. Galaxy 9800GT Low Power has two versions for the memory capacity; either 512MB or 1GB and our sample is a 512MB version with 8 x 64MB = 512MB.
At the bottom of the PCB card, there are two power connectors; one is 2-pin while the other one is 3-pin which is being used by the dual PCI slots cooler. This is a very caring add on minor feature as it is not necessary for graphic card maker to provide such additional connector. Near the SLI connector, there is a 2-pin jumper which is used for HDMI audio to connect on the motherboard.
Here is the dual PCI slots cooler which is made by aluminum with massive of fins for cooling down the GPU further. The aluminum heatsink can be removed out with the blower by removing four tiny screws. Aluminum heatsink is good for heat dissipation but the most important thing is reasonable cost. Let us check out its performance in later testing section.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Graphic card installation is not stuff at all; remove the previous graphic card is there is any and replace with the new one. However since Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is using dual PCI slots cooler so some additional care need to be taken. For HDMI audio setup, the HDMI audio cable is needed; since there is no poke-yoke type of error proof connection, additional care is needed.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3
Heatsink: Noctua NH-U9B
Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR2 6400/8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce 9800GT Low Power 512MB
PSU: In Win Commander 750W
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Optical Drive: DVD RW HLDS
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Operating System: Microsoft XP Pro SP2
Benchmark Software: HDTech, CrystalDiskMark
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Here are the GPU-Z and Riva Turner snap shots of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power. In term of overclocking of Galaxy GeForce 9800GT Low Power, we will skip it here because GeForce 9800GT is not a new product since it was launched quite some time ago and averagely Galaxy GeForce 9800GT Low Power should be able to overclock well but without the add on power, its overclocking performance might be impacted. Hence we are not really recommending overclocking for this low power GeForce 9800GT, furthermore Galaxy GeForce 9800GT Low Power is not really created for such purpose.
For the power consumption, the idle and full load for Galaxy GeForce 9800GT Low Power for our test setup are 151watts and 220watts. Hence a decent 400W true power PSU will able to power up this test bed quite well; our test setup is kept at minimal stage as mainstream setup is always greater than extreme setup.
Here are some synthetic and gaming performance results of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power and OEM GeForce 9800GT. As you can see there both of these graphic cars are performing quite similar although the original OEM GeForce 9800GT is leading ahead by a small amount of value. However in term of noise and heat, Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is outperforming the original OEM GeForce 9800GT which is mainly contributed by the dual PCI slots cooler. The noise of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is barely audible and if you have GeForce 9800GT with original stock cooler, then you will be impressed by this cooler of Galaxy 9800GT Low Power.
Overall we are quite satisfied with Galaxy 9800GT Low Power although it is not as good as original GeForce 9800GT but considering this card comes with advantage where no additional power is required. Besides that the dual PCI slots cooler is much silent than the original stock cooler where we like it very much as it is quite hard to withstand 24/7 noise. Last but not least, Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is just being sold at 120USD which is pretty cheap for such impressive graphic card and in old days, it will need at least 3-4 times more expensive for such good performing graphic card. If you are looking for a decent performance graphic card without over spending for a better PSU with 6-pin PCI-E PSU then Galaxy 9800GT Low Power is definitely a wise choice.
+ Decent Performance
+ No additional power is required
+ Silent performance
+ Hybrid SLI supported
- A bit lagging behind than original GeForce 9800GT
Thanks to Galaxy for providing this sample for us to review.
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