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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.

Unreal Tournament III

As odd as it may seem, every single game we currently use for our graphic card benchmarking is a sequel or an entry in a series of games, including this one. The original Unreal Tournament launched in late 1999, and since then, it has become a stature with GPU benchmarking. Similar to Call of Duty, the UT series of games is one that manages to deliver spectacular graphics, but doesn’t require a bleeding-edge machine to see them.

UTIII offers a variety of modes and levels, and has some of the most interesting and lush environments ever seen in a video game. If I could choose where I wanted to die, it would most likely be in the Gateway level, which you can see in the screenshot below. This level is one of the most interesting in the game as it’s essentially three levels in one, linked together with portals – and it’s hard to beat the feeling of scoring a portal frag.

The game might be one of the best-looking currently on the PC, but it doesn’t offer robust in-game settings like some others in our suite. Because of this, we are forced to enable anti-aliasing in the control panel of the current graphics card. Both ATI’s and NVIDIA’s drivers allow us to choose 4xAA, so that’s what we stick with throughout all of our testing.

At all resolutions, the differences between the original 9800 GTX and the newer 9800 GTX+ is incredibly minimal, but they are gains nonetheless, and given that most 9800 GTX+ GPUs cost the same or less than the original, any gains can be appreciated.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
72.148 FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
55.479 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
78.909 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
57.617 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
48.874 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX+ 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
47.707 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
43.781 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
42.228 FPS

Our original 9800 GTX had to have its AA dropped in order to bolster up performance enough to make the gameplay really fluid, and the 9800 GTX+ followed the same track. Disabling it brought our average FPS up to 47.707 FPS at 2560×1600, becoming really quite playable. Oddly though, the 9800 GTX+ somehow consistantly scored about one less FPS than the original.