It's an unfortunate thing that the 9800 GTX doesn't quite live up to a souped-up, though no longer available, 8800 GTX. I mean, it's definitely a better card in most respects. It consumes less power, is much better at video playback, and though it's relatively louder, the 9800 GTX costs one third today what the 8800 GTX cost yesterday. So for the same kind of dough, you can go SLI (with its inherent drawbacks of power and motherboard costs). Which isn't clearly an advantage with Intel CrossFire boards being as ubiquitous as they are. Nobody's saying it's a bad card, it just hasn't lived up to its expectations. As a card by itself, it's not bad, and if you're limited to one card, it's really the way to go. And while it does beat an HD 4850, it does cost more--I'd say they're equal on that front. If not for the massive difference in power consumption, choosing a 9800 GTX over an HD 4850 would just be a matter of preference. Adding the GTX+ to the equation further weighs against this card, as it'll improve on the performance quite a bit--although the plus is reported to use just as much power and it will definitely cost more. If you're looking for the next amazing card that will last two years and still look its successor in the eye, you'll have to turn to the GTX 200-series.
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