I abuse my computer quite a lot and subsequently it died on me a few weeks back. Unsurprisingly, when taking it apart for the millionth time, the tea stains on the graphics card indicated the main problem, don't ask me how this happened but nevertheless a replacement was needed and I didn't really want to spend a lot, but also wanted something that would pack a punch! So I quickly went online and blew a little bit of my student loan on this beautiful little component.
The 9800GT is simply great value for money. It has achieved exactly what I wanted it to, providing adequate, close to top end performance for a decent price.
This card is a fairly basic design, quite thin and bare, nothing slick like the higher end GTX cards. It comes with a standard small fan and a heat-sink and usefully does not require any additional power input other than that supplied by the PCI-Express port. Instead it is built specifically as an energy efficient card and so far I've seen no indication of power issues or overheating, artefacts and so on simply do not occur.
Literally just plug and play. Due to it's light, thin basic design it slotted in very easily to the PCI-express port on my motherboard. If you have any troubles installing this then your really doing something wrong! As mentioned previously, it requires no attachment of power cables, simply clip it into the port and put a couple of screws in for stability.
Before this card I had a Ge-force 7950 Sli. It cost something like 300 pounds (don't ask my why I spent that) and was really good for it's time. However this card, at the fairly low price tag of around £80 completely outshines my old card (not surprising as it's years older) but still, much better value for money. Games such as Left 4 Dead 2, Bioshock 2 and Dragon Age: Origins run completely on full and look absolutely lush on my full HD screen, which is running in 1900x1080! For people who don't really know what that means, basically the card can run games at the maximum on a high resolution without dropping frame rate, so great for the gamers out there on a low budget.
In conclusion, this card is certainly better value for money than most of the higher end cards which will depreciate rapidly in value as soon as you buy them. Despite it's low cost it really does perform very well, giving great colour and depth to games as well as performing high on the various benchmarks I've put my computer through. Additionally photo's, movies and editing are handled with ease but as ever, computers consist of many components so it is not simply the card doing all this work. I highly recommend this to people who want to play PC games on a low budget without compromising smooth performance.
The only obvious disadvantages is it won't be able to support the really high end modern games on full graphics. I have no doubt it will play them but you would certainly have to sacrifice some areas of the visuals unless you have a really powerful system behind it.
As ever before purchasing a card like this ensure you have the correct ports (which is PCI-E) on your motherboard as well as the appropriate power supply unit to cover it's needs.