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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.

Call of Duty 4

Crysis Warhead might have the ability to bring any system to its knees even with what we consider to be reasonable settings, but Call of Duty 4 manages to look great regardless of your hardware, as long as it’s reasonably current. It’s also one of the few games on the market that will actually benefit from having a multi-core processor, although Quad-Cores offer no performance gain over a Dual-Core of the same frequency.

For our testing, we use a level called The Bog. The reason is simple… it looks great, plays well and happens to be incredibly demanding on the system. It takes place at night, but there is more gunfire, explosions, smoke, specular lighting and flying corpses than you can shake an assault rifle at.

Because the game runs well on all current mid-range GPUs at reasonable graphic settings, we max out what’s available to us, which includes enabling 4xAA and 8xAF, along with choosing the highest available options for everything else.

The story continues here, with the GTX+ scaling quite well when compared to the original model. It also scales well compared to the HD 4850, which costs about $20 less on average (if you look hard enough).

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA
113.024 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA
85.440 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
76.192 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
64.825 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX+ 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
74.392 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
70.363 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
69.745 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
48.180 FPS

Although the 4xAA setting at 2560×1600 as seen in our graph above was “playable” enough, it wasn’t completely fluid as we’d hope, despite running at 55FPS. Like the original 9800 GTX, disabling AA entirely boosts up performance and the game becomes much smoother.