The Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 and GeForce 9600 GSO with 96 stream processor that we test today are two great graphics cards that one can find in the $75 price range. To be specific, the Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 can be found for $69.99 plus shipping, while the ASUS GeForce 9600 GSO can be found for $73.99 shipped. At these prices you really can’t complain about performance as they did fairly decent in all the games we threw at them.
For temperatures and audible sound from the fan, the Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 wins hands down, with idle temps of 25-30C, it runs about half as hot as the GeForce 9600 GSO which idles at higher than 55C. Additionally, the fan is hardly audible on the Radeon HD 4670 (or at least I couldn’t hear it over the sound of my hard drive) unlike the GSO, which has a larger fan that you can hear over all the other fans in the system.
Performance-wise, I’m very impressed with the Radeon HD 4670 because it not only has higher frame-rates in GRiD and L4D, but it never had any issues with choppy game-play in any game. The 9600GSO may have gotten high frame rates in most games, but I can’t deny the fact that the HD4670 played better in every game, whether it was running at 15fps or 70, the game play was perfect: no slide-shows, no random errors or crashes. This cannot be said for the 9600GSO, because it periodically got down to 8 fps and game-play would totally stop for up to 20 seconds at the same settings as the HD4670 was on, which ran perfect, never dipping below 45 in any situation. I would not deem the game playable at high settings on the 9600GSO; there is no getting around that. The synthetic test run, 3DMARK ’06, showed the opposite performance winner, with the 9600GSO clearly in the lead, no contest, but the average user doesn’t buy video cards based off synthetics alone, so take the results of that test with a grain of salt.
All in all, I’d declare Sapphire’s Radeon HD 4670 512MB offering the winner as the only aspect that the 96 Stream Processor 9600GSO wins is in the synthetic benchmarking, which isn’t the top priority to a majority of users. Though there is one thing that gets on my nerves, which is driver support, now both cards suffer from not being able to use the newest/beta drivers, so this doesn’t really affect the comparison of the two as they tie there, it just gets annoying that the user has to hunt down the proper drivers for their card if they want an update from the driver disk version.
Legit Bottom Line: This is a great little card that can make a gamer out of nearly any system for a great price, with stellar temperatures, and no extra noise.