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View Full Version : 9800SE -> Pro softmod - good idea?



uberlad
21st July 2004, 05:14
With Doom3 just around the bend, and a payrise under my belt (not to mention a long chain of people wanting hand-me-downs) I'm thinking of a gfx card upgrade.

Best value for money for a man prepared to take a risk would seem to be buying a 256bit memory bus 9800SE and softmodding it to a 9800Pro and overclocking it until it squeals.

I've read a lot of articles from back when this became possible but some people are now telling me that the mod is blocked by recent cards and I was wondering if anyone has tried this recently and what level of success has been achieved?

If it's likely to work then I also have a couple of choices for purcahse -

Internet for about £110 (ish). very tough to return if it doesn't work.

PC World for £129 - I can just return it if it doesn't work and move on.

Obvisouly buying from PC world would cut me to the core, but it does seem the better choice as if the mod doesn't work I can just take it back and then try another model from somewhere else.

Would appreciate your thoughts, all.

Uberlad

[UPDATE] - I've just noticed that for £140 delivered I could just get a 9800Pro and not worry about the chance of the softmod not working. So PC World is out.

Marshmallowman
21st July 2004, 07:02
I would have tried it 6months ago , but now with the price of 9800 pro's dropping so much I would not bother getting an SE as it is not worth the risk of getting a dud for the small(ish) price difference.

J1NG
21st July 2004, 07:17
Yeah, also the 9800SE as you noted needed to be 256bit for that to happen. And most of those that are softmodable are already taken, while the dud ones are floating. Better to get a normal full one as MMM said. So far, it seems to only be a <50% of getting it modable without problems anyway (got myself one that is modable but with artifacts). So the chances are not really in your favour...

J1NG

uberlad
21st July 2004, 07:29
You are making good points. It's only £40 difference from EBuyer to get a Pro version and I was going to get better cooling as it was. I still may if it's going to be overclocked to XT speeds.

Can anyone recommend anywhere cheaper than EBuyer for Pro's in that case?

Uberlad

agallag
21st July 2004, 08:16
Along the same lines, is the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB (Lite Retail) any good? It's the cheapest 9800 Pro I can find, but I'm not sure what the difference is between the "regular" and the "lite". Is it still 256bit? If it is, I may pick it up in a week or two...

Tjalfe
21st July 2004, 08:20
Originally posted by agallag
Along the same lines, is the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB (Lite Retail) any good? It's the cheapest 9800 Pro I can find, but I'm not sure what the difference is between the "regular" and the "lite". Is it still 256bit? If it is, I may pick it up in a week or two...

logic Computerhouse has the R9800Pro for $310.99CDN now..(http://www.logiccomputerhouse.com) how much cheaper is the sapphire one you mentioned?

agallag
21st July 2004, 08:25
http://www.infonec.com

Radeon 9800 Pro 128M (retail box) $305.00
SAPPHIRE Radeon 9800 Pro 128M (lite retail) $289.00
SAPPHIRE Radeon 9800SE 128M DDR $189.00
SAPPHIRE Radeon 9600XT Ultimate 128M (box) $269.00

I think the first one is built by ATI. Is it worth the extra $15? How close in performance would the 9600XT be? Too many options! :D

uberlad
21st July 2004, 08:32
Note to self - Specify the UK when asking for decent prices :D

I'd expect that a 'lite' would have the lower width memory bus, but why you'd want to make and sell one crippled like that I'll never know. Maybe it just has a smaller bundle?

Most of the 128bit ones I've seen have been clearly labelled as such.

Uberlad

agallag
21st July 2004, 08:46
I'm pretty sure Sapphire stopped selling the 128bit 9800Pros. They've renamed them by dropping the "Pro", and they now put a big 128bit sticker on the box.

agallag
21st July 2004, 08:48
There it is, on sapphire's website.


Full retail indicates that the package contains the entire bundle including the Game software bundle and utilities. The Lite retail versions do not come bundled with the software bundle and are packaged with the neccessities needed to enjoy the pinnacle in performance from Sapphire alone.

Only the software bundle is different.

Paddy
21st July 2004, 09:18
I've bought three Hercules AIW 9800 SE's. I was able to soft mod two out of three with no problems.

J1NG
21st July 2004, 09:34
Originally posted by Paddy
I've bought three Hercules AIW 9800 SE's. I was able to soft mod two out of three with no problems.

Some people have all the luck... :)

J1NG

Wombat
21st July 2004, 09:47
Originally posted by J1NG
Some people have all the luck... :)

J1NG Actually, it sounds like he has about two thirds of the luck.:D

Maggi
21st July 2004, 10:19
this link looks quite interesting
http://softmod.ocfaq.com/faq.php

Q: Can I damage my card with the softmod? What if it doesn't work?
A: You can not damage your card by using this driver. If it does not work for a reason just reinstall the original unmodified driver. It is also not possible to detect if a card has been softmodded before.

looks like you could give it a try before shelling out money ... :)

J1NG
21st July 2004, 11:31
Uh? Maggi, you need the card to test with the softmod drivers to see if it'll run softmodded. How do try a card without shelling out money???

J1NG

uberlad
22nd July 2004, 01:12
I think his point is that if I buy it from a shop and then it doesn't work I could take it back for a refund. Of course, most online retailers would charge me restocking .

Unfortunately the checking of prices indicates that buying it from a shop would only be good for the thrill of making the hardware sit up and beg - there's only £10 difference between a shop bought 9800SE and an internet bought 9800Pro.

Another quick question to keep the discussion going - if I'm going to overclock can anyone recommend after market cooling? Ideally single-slot-using cooling as I'm thinking about a SFF in the nearish future...

I don't ask much :D

Uberlad

Paddy
22nd July 2004, 02:23
SLIGHT OT:

I havn't OC'd mine at all (other than the soft mod).

I need to cool the CPU and 9800 without creating too much noise. Iwas going to resort to water, but I have been saying that for the best part of 5years :)

What's your cooler of choice and why?

Maggi
22nd July 2004, 02:37
Originally posted by J1NG
Uh? Maggi, you need the card to test with the softmod drivers to see if it'll run softmodded. How do try a card without shelling out money???

J1NG

ooops ... I was under the impression, Uberlad already had a 9800SE in his hands ... :o

uberlad
22nd July 2004, 03:16
Nope - was floating the idea for feedback.

I have just found a 9800Pro for £133 delivered so I'm throwing caution to the winds and getting that instead of spening £110 on the SE.

Microdirect is selling it this cheap for those of you in the uk who want to know. Good feedback from users on the site about th card - would seem to be 256bit which is the most important thing.

Uberlad

Paddy
22nd July 2004, 10:17
The AIW Hercules version is a pretty safe bet

J1NG
22nd July 2004, 10:26
Mine's a AIW Hercules... :(

Softmodable, with artifacts...

Hope you have better luck than me if you do go this route. :up:

J1NG

Paddy
22nd July 2004, 10:59
Sorry to hear that J1NG.
The only AIW i've had that didn't softmod went bad after a few months. Hope that doesn't happen to you.

J1NG
22nd July 2004, 11:18
If it does, it'll just be another excuse to grab the latest card. This time, a Firegl, or QuadroFX... :D

J1NG

Paddy
22nd July 2004, 11:45
Well I'm sure that there will be a lot of people jumpig over to nVidia after the Doom3 Benchies.

J1NG
22nd July 2004, 11:52
Doom 3 means nothing to me. I can't play the majority of 3D shooters. Doom (alphanumeric whatever), I simply can't play. :)

I'd go for Matrox if they had anything like the cards listed.

J1NG

Paddy
22nd July 2004, 11:55
Sorry man, perhaps i should have inserted a :rolleyes: after my previous post.

:)

Evildead666
25th July 2004, 09:29
I bought a 9800SE and tried to soft-mod it. one of the pipes was defective, and gave me spots on some textures and rendering.
The9800pro was only a little more expensive, so i went and bought that finally. At least you are sure of having all 8 pipes working.

On top of that, i can only recommend the VGA silencer from Arctic-Cooling. It eats up a PCi slot, but you get what you need. The heatsink is huge, and the heat is vented directly out of the case. Its quiet.
And i got my Sapphire 9800pro from 380/325 core/mem to 425/390. Not at all bad. The memory is not cooled by heatsinks, but has a 80mm fan blowing on the card (from side panel).

I would leave out the 9800SE and get a 9800pro with a VGA Silencer. Unless you can wait for a next-gen mainstream card. ;)

uberlad
26th July 2004, 03:15
I was looking at the arctic silencer. Although I was also looking at a SFF with the AGP slot in the wrong place for using it. I think I'll have to see how far the cashola stretches, and the overhead on the card.

Apart from the better design for airflow does the Arctic perform significantyly better than an all-copper single slot cooler? Does ahyone have any comparisons done on a 9800Pro or similar class?

Uberlad

Evildead666
26th July 2004, 16:36
Oh, forgot to mention, i also had a 9500pro (128bit mem) using another of these coolers, and believe it or not, the card hits 400MHz core stable. Thats from a 275MHz standard clock.

My thoughts? These heatsinks are overkill for the heat output generated by these cards. You would have to overvolt and such to actually get bad performance from an arctic colling HSF. And even then, who knows.
Its also available here in France for less than 20euros, thats under 15quid for some very quiet peace of mind. ;)
Also, remember the heat is going OUT of the case. A single slot cooler would inherently recycle some of the expelled hot air, and so be less efficient. and heat up the rest of the system. The VGA Silencer, has nothing but the cool air from the front fan (if u have one).

Just to recap:
I have a 9500pro and 9800pro, all using VGA Silencers, and they are stable, very overclocked, and quiet. The coolers are cheap too.

Or wait, and get a mainstream next gen card. They seem to be all starting with 8 pipes...