Review nVidia GeForce 9800M GT Graphics Card
We got hold of a Clevo M860TU barebone in the form of the Deviltech 9000 DTX gaming notebook, one of the first notebooks, which is equipped with a brand-new GeForce 9800 GT graphics card. The most interesting aspect was thereby the performance of the new 9800 graphics card in current games. Get a foretaste of the complete review of this notebook and first read a comprehensive performance review of this new graphics card by nVIDIA here.
The reviewed Deviltech 9000 DTX is equipped with an Intel P9500 CPU with 2.53 GHz and 6 MB L2 cache. This is a processor of the Penryn generation. It is built in 45nm technology and implements Intel's new PM45 chipset (Centrino 2), code-named Montevina. The clock rate of this chip is the same as of the in general identical T9400, which just has a higher TDP of 35W. The P9500 only has a maximum wattage of 25W and is, therefore, especially advantageous is compact notebooks, such like the Deviltech 9000 DTX. Detailed information about the new Intel CPU series and the Montevina chipset are available in this special article.
The main focus of this article is the graphics card of the Deviltech 9000 DTX (Clevo M860TU Barebone). The Geforce 9800M GT with 512MB GDDR3 video memory is the successor of the 8800M GTX graphics card, which is also based on the architecture of the desktop G92 chip. The most important difference compared to the 9800M GTX graphics card is the lower number of shaders (96 instead of 112 of the GTX chip). The installed video driver version was 220.127.116.1102 (ForceWare 176.02). Further details of the Geforce 9800M GT graphics card are available in the detailed description of the 9800 GT or in our Comparison of mobile graphics cards.
Already in the 3D Mark benchmark the 9800M GT graphics card proves its performance. As it achieves 9258 points in the 3D Mark 2006, the 9000 DTX with 9800M GT does slightly better than comparable notebooks with 8800M GTX graphics card.
Comparing 3D Mark 2005 results, it gets obvious that notebooks with more powerful CPU slightly outdo the Deviltech 9000 DTX, because the CPU performance has a bigger impact in this benchmark. Also the other performed 3D Mark benchmarks (2003, 2001) follow this trend.
How performs the 9800M GT graphics cards in current games, and how compared to the Geforce 8800M GTX? This are the pivotal questions especially gaming enthusiasts might ask.
In the following we look at a number of performance test of current computer games.
First of all we run the ego shooter Crysis, which is known to be very hardware demanding. In the GPU respectively CPU benchmark integrated in this game the 9000 DTX achieved 33-35 fps with a resolution of 1024x768 and on high details. With the same settings the first mission of a real game is well playable. On very high details this notebook still achieves a very good frame rate of 18-20 fps. However. this is already too low for this game to run smoothly.
Compared to the Alienware m17x notebook (Forceware 174.82 / 18.104.22.16882), which is equipped with two Geforce 8800M GTX graphics cards in SLI connection, the 9800M GT is slightly better, that is some frames, than a single 8800M GTX graphics card (SLI deactivated). However, it is not surprising that two 8800M GTX SLI cards perform clearly better.
The same statement also holds true for running the benchmark on very high details. While the 8800M GTX SLI solution still achieves playable frame rates of 30-40 fps, the 9800M GT and the 8800M GTX achieve just about 20 fps. Here too, the 9800M GT is slightly better than its predecessor.
Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare
Of course running the ego shooter Call of Duty 4 is an absolute must in such a test, because it is a popular multi-player game. We try two different resolutions, 1024x768 and 1280x1024 pixels. And use the following graphic settings: 4x anti-aliasing, all options on (shadows, lights, bullet holes,...), dynamic lights, model details, and water details on normal, number of dead soldiers on medium. We run the first single player mission for this test.
Comparing the recorded frame rates, it's easily observable that the 9800M GT always achieves a frame rate of above 40 fps, so, the game runs absolutely smoothly with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. If you increase the resolution to 1280x1024 pixels and keep the same detail settings, the performance slightly falls. Nevertheless, the game runs smoothly.
A Geforce 8800M GTX inside the Alienware m17x achieves a clearly lower frame rate of below 20 fps on a resolution of 1024x768 pixels, so, you'll observe a clear flickering during the game. In Call of Duty 4 the 9800M GT wins for the first time by far over the 8800 GTX.
World in Conflict
The test also includes the real-time stragegy game World in Conflict. In the benchmark of the game, the 9800M GT graphics card achieves a result about equal to the 8800M GTX graphics card on a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. Interestingly, the Geforce 8800M GTX graphics card achieves about 28 fps on a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels and on very high details, and is so better than the 9800M GT, which only achieves 23 fps. This is mainly because of the clearly higher maximum frame rate of 71 fps during this benchmark.
In a game play with a resolution of 1024x768 and on very high details World in Conflict still runs absolutely smoothly. The Fraps protocol displays an average frame rate of 39.4 fps (minimal 20 Fps, max. 58 Fps).
Unreal Tournament 3
If you like this fast ego shooter by Epic, you do not need to worry. Unreal Tournament 3 runs with all possible resolutions, up to the maximum selectable of 1680x1050 pixels, absolutely smoothly in practice, whereas the frame rates are always in between 60 and 62 fps.
Even increasing the detail level to maximum does not change this.
The performance of Racedriver GRID by Codemasters is similar to Unreal Tournament 3. A test game with maximum resolution of 1680x1050 pixels and 2xMSAA multi-sampling resulted in an average frame rate of 47.96 fps for the BMW Team Germany (demo). Even the recorded minimum value of 33 fps is alright.
To summarize, the performance of the Geforce 9800M GT is about the same as of the 8800M GTX. Depending on the specific application the one or the other is advantageous, whereas the 9800M GT especially convinces for running fast ego shooter like Crysis and especially Call of Duty 4. But, the installed driver is presumably very important here.
This result is not really surprising, because the 9800M GT is virtually identical to the 8800M GTX. The measured difference can therefore be partly explained by the different system configurations (CPU) and by the different test platforms (BIOS, cooling control).
It is to be expected that the 9800M GTX chip, which has a higher number of shaders, will bring a further performance increase.
Nevertheless, the 9800M GT graphics chip is still a first-class chip for all those who like games. If you want to spend a lot of money, the 9800M GT SLI solution, which is also to be launched, might also be interesting.
Further game test with the 9800M GT graphics card will be included in line with the comprehensive review of the Deviltech 9000 DTX (Clevo M860TU) notebook.