VOGONS


First post, by maximus

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Have a look at this eBay oddity (original posting here):

Lr2YQotv.jpg

It's a 9800 XT alright, but what brand? The cooler design doesn't look like any other 9800 XT I've ever seen.

Even stranger, the Catalyst 8.01 driver disk dates its manufacture to early 2008, and the box has Windows Vista advertisements on it. It could be that the box and card are mismatched, but the box doesn't look big enough to have housed a Radeon HD 3000 series card.

Anyone know where this out-of-place artifact came from? If authentic, it could be a unique instance of a high-end GPU being reissued years after its initial launch.

Last edited by maximus on 2016-11-26, 19:57. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 1 of 24, by SquallStrife

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The heatsink itself looks like a normal reference design 9800XT cooler. The sticker on the cooler and everything else though, no idea!\

Edit: On closer inspection, just noticed the cooler's shroud has that shape cut out of it... So I have no idea at all, sorry! 🙁

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Reply 2 of 24, by obobskivich

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That cooler is not the same as 9800XT reference design:
http://www.ixbt.com/video2/images/r9800xt/r98 … with-cooler.jpg

The factory cards don't have heatpipes, aren't squared off, and have larger fans. They use folded fins on a copper baseplate instead of that design. As to the card pictured, I vaguely remember hearing about some off-brand, late-run R300 cards a few years ago done by no-name OEMs. This appears it may be one of those - the best I could find is that it's likely an Info-Tek, and it comes with only 128MB of DDR2, and clocked 400/650. It's an odd-duck to be sure. If everything works like it should, it'll be somewhat slower than a normal XT, but could still make a decent card. That cooler may do a better job than the reference design as well, it looks meatier in the pictures at least (more like a 1U sink for a CPU than the wimpy little thing ATi included with the 9800).

As far as Vista - ATi actually did a lot a better job than nVidia in supporting WDDM on their early DX9 hardware, and all of their DirectX 9 products received proper driver updates until around 2010 (at least). Some of the lower-end R300 based cards were on the market for many years as low-cost PCI and AGP offerings, so it isn't surprising if these are uniform marketing blurbs (e.g. there may have been a Radeon 9550/9600 that had a similar box). If the drivers properly recognize the card, it should be supported just fine (including Aero Glass) in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Reply 3 of 24, by swaaye

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I remember seeing new 9800s being sold on ebay over the years. I think it's just a company building budget cards with some old GPU stock. Think of the generic Savage 2000 cards sold for years.

Reply 4 of 24, by meljor

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ATI also build their own cards. ''build by ATI''

They didn't actually build it theirselves but outsourced it to companies like sapphire i believe...

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Reply 5 of 24, by sliderider

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It might actually be a new production card out of China. There's been a flood of new production video cards in the last few years based on obsolete video chips like Rage 128, Radeon 7000 or Radeon 9200. Maybe now 9800XT prices have fallen to the point where someone thinks it worthwhile to start making cards based on it again.

Here's another one for sale

http://www.okazii.ro/componente-computere/pla … fect-a166257045

Reply 6 of 24, by Sutekh94

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Come to think of it, Newegg has been selling some of these "older" video cards for a while now. Stuff like these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?It … =9SIA4UB20N6711
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?It … =9SIA4UB20R1607

It is possible that that 9800XT could be a brand new card, coming from some Chinese company.

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Reply 7 of 24, by NitroX infinity

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There's a model number above the AGP connector. Thought of searching for that on google?

Google tells us it's from a company called GeCube.
https://www.google.nl/search?num=100&newwindo … 0.0.eUotdzhS2xA

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Reply 8 of 24, by Sutekh94

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Not gonna lie, I didn't notice the model number on that card until the above post pointed it out. In other words, I'm blind. 🤣

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Reply 9 of 24, by maximus

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NitroX infinity wrote:

There's a model number above the AGP connector. Thought of searching for that on google?

I did try that originally, but the Google results don't seem to explain why the card is five years newer than it should be.

From what I remember, high-end cards like the 9800 XT tended to disappear from the market as soon as something better came along. It was low-end models like the GeForce2 MX and GeForce 6200 that kept being sold year after year.

I always liked the idea of old GPUs being built into new products, though. Who knows... maybe some Chinese company will come across a box of VSA-100 chips and build them into a new line of Voodoo 5s!

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Reply 10 of 24, by shamino

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If there's companies that have the time to make new 9800XT cards from whatever leftover chips are floating around, then I wish one of them would hook up a newer nVidia chip to an AGP bridge. Can't figure out why there's no market for that, but there is for several iterations of newer bridged PCI cards.

Reply 11 of 24, by Standard Def Steve

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shamino wrote:

If there's companies that have the time to make new 9800XT cards from whatever leftover chips are floating around, then I wish one of them would hook up a newer nVidia chip to an AGP bridge. Can't figure out why there's no market for that, but there is for several iterations of newer bridged PCI cards.

I remember reading somewhere that G80 and newer GPUs do not work well (or at all) with AGP, which is why there haven't been any cards newer than GeForce 7950GT released for AGP by even the most obscure vendors.

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Reply 12 of 24, by obobskivich

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NitroX infinity wrote:

There's a model number above the AGP connector. Thought of searching for that on google?

Google tells us it's from a company called GeCube.
https://www.google.nl/search?num=100&newwindo … 0.0.eUotdzhS2xA

Did it; that's where I got Info-Tek from. 😦

If you click through on some of the Google results you'll see listings for the same model number as "generic" (from Geeks.com for example: http://www.geeks.com/largePic_all.asp?invtid= … 8XTP-C3-box.jpg) and other inconclusive results. Doing an image search for a GeCube 9800XT yields a card that looks pretty much identical here:
http://forums.vr-zone.com/singapore-marketpla … 00xt-128mb.html

But in GeCube's marketing materials and in reviews they generally show a reference design, like here:
http://www.tweak.dk/review/GeCube_Radeon_9800 … 6MB_DDR/265/1/1

I would not be surprised at all if this is another case of Chinese OEMs outright stealing FCC badge IDs, model numbers, etc for their own product. It's a lot more common than you'd think.

Standard Def Steve wrote:

I remember reading somewhere that G80 and newer GPUs do not work well (or at all) with AGP, which is why there haven't been any cards newer than GeForce 7950GT released for AGP by even the most obscure vendors.

G70 and newer (which includes G80) are PCIe only - they are directly incompatible with AGP. GeForce 6 was the last generation of nVidia GPUs that had AGP compatible members (e.g. that's how the GPU interfaces with the system). nVidia produced bridge-chips starting with GeForce PCX to allow AGP GPUs to work on PCIe slots (which is how all of the PCX cards, and the GeForce 6800 are available as PCIe), and to allow PCIe GPUs to work on AGP slots (which is how 6600GT, 7600GT, etc work on AGP). I would guess poor sales are the primary reason the project wasn't continued - PCIe became pretty dominant for new systems by the time GeForce 7 was out, and the market for top-of-the-line AGP cards was almost non-existant. Not to mention, what AGP-based system isn't going to be utterly CPU bound with a GeForce 8800 or newer? (even with 6800 Ultra you're usually CPU bound)

ATi/AMD also produced a similar bridge chip, around the same time, but continued to ship AGP variant cards for a few more generations after nVidia - the HD 3850 and HD 4670 are examples of this. I would assume low sales were also a factor for the discontinuation of that venture as well.

As far as compatibility goes, bridged cards in general can have issues with some motherboards, and FWIR the ATi bridge has it worse. My understanding is that this is primarily with older motherboards (like pre-P4), but I've never personally run into major issues with my X1600 AGP (and that's the only bridged card I have). I've had more serious issues with bridged dual-GPU PCIe cards than with the X1600.

Reply 13 of 24, by Standard Def Steve

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Oh, I'm well aware of the bridge chips. I'm sure they're the reason my 7800GS refuses to work properly with VIA based boards.
IIRC, the article I read mentioned that G80 and newer GPUs were not compatible with the nVidia AGP bridge chip used in earlier products, but were bridgeable to conventional PCI using third party bridge chips. Which explains why there are GeForce GT 610s available for PCI, yet nothing newer than the 7950GT for AGP.

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Reply 15 of 24, by obobskivich

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Standard Def Steve wrote:

Oh, I'm well aware of the bridge chips. I'm sure they're the reason my 7800GS refuses to work properly with VIA based boards.

Had not heard about issues with VIA based boards, but it isn't surprising - I've read about problems with the ATi cards and some MBs, so it makes sense the nVidia solution isn't perfect either (and I know the PCIe<->PCIe bridging on the GX2 can causes issues with some boards).

IIRC, the article I read mentioned that G80 and newer GPUs were not compatible with the nVidia AGP bridge chip used in earlier products, but were bridgeable to conventional PCI using third party bridge chips. Which explains why there are GeForce GT 610s available for PCI, yet nothing newer than the 7950GT for AGP.

There have been a few threads about those PCI cards, like the 610, and apparently they have quite a lot of issues in their own right. I'd be interested in reading about the G80<->HSI thing though. Not saying it isn't true, but otoh I have a feeling that if nVidia really wanted (or needed) to put 8800 Ultra on AGP, they could've done it. But, like I said earlier, I'm guessing the AGP 7800s probably weren't great sellers overall, and there was probably no incentive for such an undertaking. Easier to just force people to upgrade; better if they buy more nForce chipsets in the process too! 🤣

Reply 16 of 24, by shamino

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obobskivich wrote:
Standard Def Steve wrote:

Oh, I'm well aware of the bridge chips. I'm sure they're the reason my 7800GS refuses to work properly with VIA based boards.

Had not heard about issues with VIA based boards, but it isn't surprising - I've read about problems with the ATi cards and some MBs, so it makes sense the nVidia solution isn't perfect either (and I know the PCIe<->PCIe bridging on the GX2 can causes issues with some boards).

I haven't fiddled with it much, but I did run into some glitchiness with my 7600GS AGP card on a VIA 694X motherboard. It breaks into artifacts during 3DMark 2001. OpenGL (minecraft) seems to work fine though. I should explore it further but if it's a VIA<->bridged AGP problem, then I wouldn't be surprised.

Standard Def Steve wrote:

IIRC, the article I read mentioned that G80 and newer GPUs were not compatible with the nVidia AGP bridge chip used in earlier products, but were bridgeable to conventional PCI using third party bridge chips. Which explains why there are GeForce GT 610s available for PCI, yet nothing newer than the 7950GT for AGP.

obobskivich wrote:

There have been a few threads about those PCI cards, like the 610, and apparently they have quite a lot of issues in their own right. I'd be interested in reading about the G80<->HSI thing though. Not saying it isn't true, but otoh I have a feeling that if nVidia really wanted (or needed) to put 8800 Ultra on AGP, they could've done it. But, like I said earlier, I'm guessing the AGP 7800s probably weren't great sellers overall, and there was probably no incentive for such an undertaking. Easier to just force people to upgrade; better if they buy more nForce chipsets in the process too! 🤣

I don't know the technical details of how PCI and AGP differ, but it seems odd to me that a card could be bridged to PCI but not AGP. In a worst case scenario, it seems that at minimum the AGP port could at least be used like a high speed PCI slot, as I think some of the 3dFX cards did. But I don't know enough about it, so maybe this isn't true.

It's kind of a bummer because the last nVidia AGP cards, even the fastest and most power hungry ones, still don't have useful video acceleration. AGP era systems would benefit from H.264 acceleration more than an Express based system does, but they can't get it without dropping to a PCI card, or one of a couple rare ATI AGP cards. Another irony of this is that with the almighty nForce2 chipset, nVidia didn't even implement support for PCI video cards because AGP had made them obsolete. Apparently, the only way to get H.264 acceleration on an nVidia nForce2 motherboard would be with an ATI AGP card.

Reply 17 of 24, by obobskivich

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shamino wrote:

I don't know the technical details of how PCI and AGP differ, but it seems odd to me that a card could be bridged to PCI but not AGP. In a worst case scenario, it seems that at minimum the AGP port could at least be used like a high speed PCI slot, as I think some of the 3dFX cards did. But I don't know enough about it, so maybe this isn't true.

The distinction is that the newer cards use 3rd-party bridges. What Standard Def Steve is talking about is that G80+ is apparently incompatible with the nVidia bridge that's used on GeForce FX/6/7, but for a card like GT 610 it isn't using that nVidia chip at all - it's using some 3rd-party chip. In theory nVidia could build their own bridge for modern cards and do crazy stuff like GTX 980 AGP and whatnot if they wanted to, but there's likely zero market for that, so they don't. The weird PCI cards have a niche market for machines that lack any expansion slots beyond PCI (a lot of embedded/SFF boards for example), so they make some sense to sell.

It's kind of a bummer because the last nVidia AGP cards, even the fastest and most power hungry ones, still don't have useful video acceleration. AGP era systems would benefit from H.264 acceleration more than an Express based system does, but they can't get it without dropping to a PCI card, or one of a couple rare ATI AGP cards. Another irony of this is that with the almighty nForce2 chipset, nVidia didn't even implement support for PCI video cards because AGP had made them obsolete. Apparently, the only way to get H.264 acceleration on an nVidia nForce2 motherboard would be with an ATI AGP card.

Most of the video acceleration is disabled on nVidia AGP cards, vs the PCIe variants. But even GeForce 7 isn't really great for video acceleration - it wasn't until the GeForce 8600 that they really had a comprehensive/high performance decoder (and full VC-1 support didn't come for another few cycles after that). GeForce 7 will do partial h.264 offload, but the CPU still sees a fairly hefty load. ATi got there sooner for h.264, and there are ATi AGP cards that will do h.264, starting with the X1k series. However, none of this means Flash video acceleration - that requires GeForce 8600+ or Radeon HD 4000+, and for AGP that means Radeon HD 4000 series alone.

I don't know what you mean by nForce 2 not "implementing support for PCI video cards" - back in the day I had an MX 4000 PCI in my AN7 (nForce 2 Ultra 400) and it worked just fine alongside my FX 5900 (and later 6800) for triple-monitor support.

Reply 18 of 24, by shamino

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obobskivich wrote:

I don't know what you mean by nForce 2 not "implementing support for PCI video cards" - back in the day I had an MX 4000 PCI in my AN7 (nForce 2 Ultra 400) and it worked just fine alongside my FX 5900 (and later 6800) for triple-monitor support.

Seriously? Well that's a surprise.
A few years ago I had an NF7-S rev2.0, I tried to quickly test it using a PCI video card that I had handy, probably my S3 Virge card. I don't remember anymore what the exact symptoms were, but I couldn't get it to work properly. I don't remember if it failed to produce a display, or if it just wouldn't function with accelerated drivers.
So after researching that on the web, I found some info claiming the nForce2 didn't support PCI video cards. I swapped to an AGP card and then it worked perfectly, and continued to do so ever since, so I didn't question it any further.

But you were able to run a PCI card in your AN7, so apparently the PCI thing was a myth. I have an AN7 myself actually (don't have the NF7-S anymore). I'll have to try a PCI card in it sometime.

As far as the bridge situation goes, I guess the question becomes why the 3rd party PCI bridge chip manufacturer(s) didn't also come up with an AGP version of those chips. Was this the result of a significant complication compared to PCI, or just because for whatever reason, the card manufacturers didn't have nearly the same demand for AGP? I'm not aware of any reason why one would be more difficult than the other, so I suppose the answer is demand, but I'm surprised there wasn't enough demand for a G80+ AGP bridge to be worth somebody's while, even if not nVidia's. Anyway, apparently it wasn't, and if such a chip wasn't produced by now then clearly it's not going to happen.

Reply 19 of 24, by shamino

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sliderider wrote:

It might actually be a new production card out of China. There's been a flood of new production video cards in the last few years based on obsolete video chips like Rage 128, Radeon 7000 or Radeon 9200. Maybe now 9800XT prices have fallen to the point where someone thinks it worthwhile to start making cards based on it again.

Earlier on eBay I ran across a Chinese seller offering a bunch of new GeForce AGP cards from the 6000-7000 era. Example of one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/512MB-AGP-Video-Graph … P-/221396632418

It looks like a similar situation. The manuals and cards don't show any recognizable brand name on them. The GPU-Z screenshots shown for some of the cards have a blank subvendor code 0x0000. So apparently they are unlicensed and just managed to get a supply of chips from somewhere.
At first I just thought it was cool that somebody was making these, but on closer inspection the cards look a bit sleazy.
The cards appear to be abusing the proper model branding scheme of these cards. I would assume that legal permission to use the "GeForce" trademark is contingent on obeying nVidia's model branding rules, but these guys almost surely aren't using the trademark legally so the model number scheme is out the window.
Actually, I don't think "GeForce" appears anywhere on the cards, which probably helps protect them, but they are using the term in the advertising.

Looking close at the advertised specs, and the GPU-Z screenshots provided on some of the listings, it appears that they're cheating on the memory specs. In the 6800GT example, they advertise it as having 128-bit DDR2 memory. At least they're being honest, but it's supposed to be 256-bit GDDR3. That would make a huge difference in the performance, and I seriously doubt that nVidia ever approved such a combination being branded a 6800GT. I think they had similar "issues" on some of their other cards.
Bottom line - be careful with unlicensed cards.

The 9800XT in the first post looks more legit though. It's using an ATI logo on the PCB (an unnecessary legal risk if they weren't licensed to use it) and it appears to have decent retail packaging, so it doesn't look like a complete back alley operation.