Want twin graphics cards, but your motherboard only has one PCI Express slot? We think we may have found the solution. We've just been playing with the Asus EN9800 GX2, a graphics adaptor that combines two separate graphics processing units in a single... box thingy. Think dual-core, but for 3D games.
The first thing we noticed about the card was that it's absolutely immense. It's bigger than any other graphics card we can remember and resembles a miniature metallic coffin. It's gorgeous, though -- we actually had people gathering round gawking at its sturdy metallic frame and drooling on the artwork.
Specs-wise, the EN9800 GX2 packs a huge number of transistors: 1.508 billion, to be exact. Considering Intel's dual-core chips pack around 400 million, that's impressive. The core clock speed is 'only' 600MHz and you 'only' get 256 stream processors (ATI's flagship Radeon HD 3870 X has 320 per chip) but you get a phat 1GB of RAM running at 1GHz.
What this means is that it's quick. It racked up a stunning 14,846 in 3DMark 2006 at the default 1,024x768 resolution, and only dropped to 12,730 when we applied 8x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering -- two processor-intensive effects that make graphics look prettier. Then we ran some actual gaming tests. It played Unreal Tournament at 174 frames per second at 1,600x1,200 pixels with 4x anti-aliasing and maximum quality. Next up was Call of Duty 4, which played at 72 frames per second -- even at 2,048x1,536 pixels.
The only drawback is that the EN9800 GX2 retails for around £420 -- which is considerably more than a PlayStation 3. As a result, we can only really recommend it for kids with popstar parents or anyone that's recently robbed a liquor store. Props to Nvidia's chipset though -- this thing's a monster. -Rory Reid