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ASUS EN9800GTX+ 512MB Dark Knight
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by Rob Williams on October 21, 2008 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

Need a new mid-range GPU for under $200? NVIDIA’s 9800 GTX+ is a good model to keep in mind, and ASUS’ Dark Knight card in particular proves to be one well-worth considering. The card offers great gaming performance for the cash, even handling certain games at 2560×1600 with ease, has a sweet-looking cooler, and best of all, is priced-right.

Crysis Warhead

As PC enthusiasts, we tend to be drawn to games that offer spectacular graphics… titles that help reaffirm your belief that shelling out lots of cash for that high-end monitor and PC was well worth it. But it’s rare when a game comes along that is so visually-demanding, it’s unable to run fully maxed out on even the highest-end systems on the market. In the case of the original Crysis, it’s easy to see that’s what Crytek was going for.

Funny enough, even though Crysis was released close to a year ago, the game today still has difficulty running at 2560×1600 with full detail settings – and that’s even with overlooking the use of anti-aliasing! Luckily, Warhead is better optimized and will run smoother on almost any GPU, despite looking just as gorgeous as its predecessor, as you can see in the screenshot below.

The game includes four basic profiles to help you adjust the settings based on how good your system is. These include Entry, Mainstream, Gamer and Enthusiast – the latter of which is for the biggest of systems out there, unless you have a sweet graphics card and are only running 1680×1050. We run our tests at the Gamer setting as it’s very demanding on any current GPU and is a proper baseline of the level of detail that hardcore gamers would demand from the game.

ASUS’ 9800 GTX+ scaled well within our expectations here, but neither of our three resolutions delivered great gaming performance using the Gamer profile… it’s just too demanding. For Crysis to be truly enjoyable, it should be played with at least 30FPS, and even our 1680×1050 setting couldn’t hit that mark…

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Gamer, 0xAA
31.382 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
50.550 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
46.038 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX+ 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
34.319 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
32.973 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
30.840 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
26.530 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
1920×1200, Mainstream, 0xAA
31.979 FPS

…but move Gamer down to Mainstream and the story changes dramatically. With this $~175 GPU, Crysis becomes playable at 2560×1600, and it’s a gorgeous experience. Hard to be upset about that!


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