EVGA, Palit and XFX GeForce 9600 GT Video Card Review

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GeForce 9 Series Cards Arrive

The NVIDIA GeForce 9 series of graphics cards has finally arrived!  Today, NVIDIA is announcing the GeForce 9600 GT video card and while it may not be as anticipated as previous generations, it still marks a significant turning point. Usually, a new series is kicked off by the fastest card in the bunch, but this time around NVIDIA is launching the GeForce series at the heart of the discrete graphics market, the $169-189 price range. For that price range, NVIDIA believes the GeForce 9600 GT is the right choice for consumers. Today we will see if that is really true by comparing it directly to what ATI has to offer.

NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT Video Card Retail Boxes

The GeForce 9600 GT is an PCI Express 2.0 graphics card that is powered by the G94 core which can be seen above.  The core is labeled G94-300-A1 and was made the first week of 2008. The DirectX 10 ready core is built on the 65nm process and features 64 stream processors. The GeForce 9600 GT will be above the 8600 GTS and below the 8800 GT in terms of both price and performace. The GeForce 9600 GT also has new enhancements to NVIDIA PureVideo HD making it ideal for use in home theater applications. The recommended minimum power supply for GeForce 9600 GT graphics cards is 400 watts with a +12V rating of 26 Amps for a single card, so make sure your system power supply can handle it.

Model NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB
Core Code G92 G92 G94 RV670
Transistor Count 754 million 754 million 505 million 666 million
Manufacturing Process 65nm 65nm 65nm 55nm
Core Clock 650MHz 600MHz 650MHz 775MHz
Stream Processors 128 Stream Processors 112 Stream Processors 64 Stream Processors 64 Shader Processors (consisting of 320 Stream Processing Units)
Stream Processor Clock 1625MHz 1500MHz 1625MHz 775MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units 64 56 32  16
Raster Operator units (ROP) 24 16 16 16
Memory Clock 1940MHz DDR3 1800MHz DDR3 1800MHz DDR3 2250MHz DDR4
DDR Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 62.0GB/s 57.6GB/s 57.6GB/s 72.0GB/s
Ring Bus Memory Controller N/A N/A N/A 512-bit
PCI Express Interface PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 x16 ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16
PCIe Power Connectors Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi GPU Technology Yes (SLI) Yes (SLI) Yes (SLI) Yes (CrossFireX)
DVI Output Support 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDCP Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Street Price ~US$285- 339 ~ US$199 – 249

~US$169 – 189 ~US$184 – 235

Thanks to design and process improvements, the stream processors on the GeForce 9600 GT operate at 1,625 MHz, a 20% improvement over the first-generation stream processors in the GeForce 8800 GTX. By using 64 stream processors at a higher clock, the GPU operates more efficiently and requires fewer transistors than a slower, wider design. To balance the improved shader performance, the texture engine is fitted with doubled addressing capabilities, allowing eight bilinear addresses to be calculated and eight texels filtered per cycle. The ROP sub-system has also been improved, with greater compression coverage at high resolutions. The combination of these architectural improvements means that the GeForce 9600 GT offers much better performance than a 64-stream processor version of the GeForce 8800 GTX. In real-world performance, a pair of GeForce 9600 GT cards often outperforms a GeForce 8800 GTX.

NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT Video Card Retail Boxes

Legit Reviews has three different GeForce 9600 GT graphics cards on hand today from EVGA, Palit, and XFX.  The cards range from stock to overclocked with one being custom designed from the ground up.

NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT Retail Video Cards

Just looking at the cards it’s obvious that the Palit GeForce 9600 GT Sonic is the one that is custom designed.  The XFX GeForce 9600 GT comes with the standard clock frequencies, while the EVGA e-GeForce 9600 GT SSC edition is overclocked to the max. Let’s take a look and see how these GeForce 9600 GT’s do!

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