Power Consumption and Conclusions
Galaxy KFA2 GeForce 9800 GT 512MB Review - Graphics Cards  1

One thing appears to be very consistent amongst the NVIDIA GPUs tested here today – power consumption.  In fact, even the Radeon HD 3870 512MB card gets in on the four-way action by matching the load power consumption nearly exactly with that of the new 9800 GT card.  That being said, idle power consumption is much better with the AMD card on the Intel-based platform than with NVIDIA GPUs on the NVIDIA chipsets.

Performance

In truth, there is nothing new or exciting about the 9800 GT or Galaxy’s interpretation of it with the KFA2 9800 GT card.  We have had the G92 chip in our labs since November of last year in one form or another, so we are quite familiar with what it can do.  What is new is the fact that the 9800 GT is bringing this level of performance to the ~$120 price range! 

Bioshock at 2048×1536 was easily playable with this graphics card and it was able to beat out AMD’s card of a similar price by 36% on average.  Depending on your tolerance for lower frame rates, the KFA2 9800 GT was also able to pull off running Call of Duty 4 at 20×15 with 4xAA enabled – for me though 1600×1200 was a much more comfortable playing resolution.  The HD 3870 512MB struggled to reach that level of performance once again.  Crysis on the other hand continues to push these cards over the edge – at 1280×1024 we were only getting 28.3 frames per second on average and that left me with a stale taste in my mouth about the gameplay experience – probably backing off to Medium quality levels would be your best bet for getting the most enjoyment from the game.

Galaxy KFA2 GeForce 9800 GT 512MB Review - Graphics Cards  2

In comparison to other NVIDIA products, the 9600 GT can be a close match, but even this highly overclocked model we used in our comparison couldn’t keep up with the KFA2 9800 GT in most cases.  In reality the 9600 GT (standard models at least) are in a lower price category now and are going to offer lower quality gaming experiences because of that.  The 8800 GT OCX card from BFG was a strong competitor in our tests and it makes sense – these are essentially the same GPUs with the BFG model being highly overclocked (700 MHz vs. 600 MHz).  However, the price of the two cards puts the KFA2 9800 GT in a league of its own.

Features and Extras

We should note that there are a couple of bonuses you get with the 9-series GPUs.  NVIDIA has made it a point to push their PhysX technology and their CUDA-enabled applications like Badaboom that allows for GPU-based video transcoding at an enormous performance gain over traditional CPU transcoding.  You can see our take on NVIDIA’s move away from “just” a GPU in this article.

Pricing and Availability

With cards in the sub-$200 market the pricing area is where most of the action takes place and with Galaxy’s KFA2 9800 GT that is no exception.  As I write this there is a $20 MIR (I know, I know…) that brings the price on this card to as low as $109 – quite an impressive price for the performance we showed you on previous pages.  (Newegg.com has the $109 price as well…)  As for the other cards we tested today: the BFG 9600 GT OCX TI card can be had for $124, the BFG 8800 GT OCX TI for $184 and the AMD Radeon HD 3870 512MB for $115.

When we see those prices it’s easy to see what makes Galaxy’s move in to the US market so interesting – they know the companies best chance to gain market share is with low prices and they are going in that direction quite aggressively.  While we don’t see the staples of US vendors like lifetime warranties and 24×7 tech support, you need to judge the value of that for yourself. 

Final Thoughts

The first offering from Galaxy and their KFA2 line of graphics cards to hit the PC Perspective test bench was pretty impressive – while the 9800 GT GPU itself definitely isn’t something “new” to enthusiasts, the rock bottom prices that this type of performance has fallen to is absolutely astounding. Galaxy will likely find quite a following if they keep offering mainstream graphics cards at the prices seen here.  I do hope they will eventually take that mentality to the high-end GPU market where we can see GTX-level cards for similarly discounted rates.  One step at a time I guess, but for now the Galaxy KFA2 9800 GT card is a tremendously powerful card a great value. 
 

Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards and anything else you might need:


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