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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.

Need for Speed: ProStreet

Where the racing genre is concerned, there are few games like Need for Speed. The first title launched in 1994, and since then, the series has done well to stick to its roots by offering an exciting racing experience that doesn’t hinge on being a simulator, like Gran Turismo or Forza. Instead, it delivers close to an arcade-like experience, which seems to be preferred by most people. EA has also kept incredibly regular with the series, having released sixteen different versions in a fourteen year span. That’s impressive.

What wasn’t impressive was ProStreet, however, as it took the franchise and turned it upside down. Sometimes reinventing a series is a good thing, but with concern to this game, EA should have left things as they were. The developers realized they goofed though, and the upcoming Undercover game (slated for a Nov. 17 release) looks to bring the series back on track. On release, we’ll replace ProStreet with Undercover in our testing.

ProStreet offers a wide-range of graphics options, allowing you to intricately tweak the game to work on your machine, regardless of what hardware you have. However, even when using maxed out detail settings, the game is still playable enough to complete a reliable benchmarking run, so we take that route. We also enable anisotropic filtering and 4x anti-aliasing.

In most of our gaming tests, the 9800 GTX+ didn’t make significant leaps in performance, but ProStreet did show a ~4.5FPS increase in both resolutions… nice to see.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
111.112 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
93.939 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
81.253 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX+ 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
70.844 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
66.830 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
64.861 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
52.189 FPS

Since ProStreet tops out at 1920×1200, which happens to be far less intensive than 2560×1600, all GPUs in our lineup could run the game fine with our topped-out settings. The 9800 GTX+ had no problem running the game with maxed out settings, which to me means we really need Undercover to hurry up and get released. We desperately need 2560×1600 in Need for Speed!


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