THE NVIDIA 9800GX2 is turning out to be a pretty huge joke, and it is not even out yet. I can't wait to see the fanbois on the forums bragging about how much they got taken for, prepare for laughs.
Why am I down on this card? Several reasons, the main one is price. It is absurdly expensive for what you get, and what you get isn't all that much.
We printed the numbers a few days ago, here if you missed it, and they are pretty woeful. Lets assume the worst for the 3870X2, call it 13,500 3DMark06, and lets assume the best for the the 9800GX2, with a driver drop and other hacks, say it hits 15K. A little math (15,000/13,500 = 1.111) tells us that it will be about 11% faster than the 3870X2. No problem so far.
The funny part? It is going to retail for $599 US, you read that right, $599. The X2 is at $449, 75% of the price. A bit more math tells us that the price performance (3DMark/$) of the X2 is 30/$ and 25/$ for the GX2. That is one hell of a difference, and it is based on best case assumptions. To put it in different terms, you could get a 3870X2 AND a 3870 for a three way for around the same money.
Don't look for this thing to come down in price much, vendors are telling me they are getting charged $425 +/- $25 for kits depending on who they are. When you add a box, trinkets and shipping, you end up with something that can't be sold for much less than that MSRP.
Before you think that the price will go down with volume, don't hold your breath. The numbers I was quoted for allocation are laughably low. Two PCBs, cutouts, bridges and assembly are not cheap, and expensive is not something OEMs like. Neither are dual PCB solutions.
In the end, you have a hot and expensive card that can't justify it's exorbitant cost. With muc h faster and cheaper 3870X2s arriving in short order, there seems little point to the GX2. Who was it that said something about not launching a product unless it was 20% faster than the competition? I guess that quote will have to be airbrushed from the corporate database before the 18th. µ
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