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The New NVIDEA 9600GT put to the test

This month the new 9000 series graphics adapters from NVIDIA saw the birth light. The first one on the market was the GeForce 9600GT 512Mb a cards build around the G94 GPU. Only six moth after the release of the 8000 series we can safely say that the man and woman at NVIDIA are not sleeping.

We Have Put the Card to the Test

We got our hand on this new card and put it to the test. In itself the fact the NVIDIA made the debut with the 9600GT model is unique. Mostly the high end super gaming monsters are the first to see the light. This is a middle class model but has is build around the new G94 GPU, and will be one of the few cards featuring this chip. Both the 9800GT and 9800GTX will be based on the G92 GPU.

When we look at the overall design we think the 9xxx series is the least innovative of the NVIDEA releases until now. Playing it safe and improving on proven technology was clearly the message the engineers got. And the improvements in performance are great, the price/quality ratio has gone up.

No Technical Revolution But Stable well performing technology

But from a technical point of view there is not much new under the sun. Both the G94 and G92 GPU's don't support DirectX 10.1 like their competitor Ati Radion with the 3000 series. If this lack of support is a great drawback remains to be seen. Their are no games supporting 10.1 and since the shelf life of a graphics card in the gaming sector is less than 6 months we need not be overcritical at this point.

Both GPU's support PCI 2.0 and Pure Video 2 ( we had already seen this in the G84 and G86). But the new cards are cheaper, faster and have a better energy efficiency. Strange enough an issue that ATI found of minor importance.

Although the 9000 series is not the most innovative, fact remains that they are interesting cards. If we compare the new GT9600 with the GT8600 (based on the G84 GPU). The 9600 stands out with an 256 bits memory bus, while the 8600 had to work with half that amount, 128 bits. That this increase has pronounced effect on the performance stands to reason. Off course the increased bandwidth needs to be accompanied with an processor that can take advantage of broader bus. The G92 and 94 are perfectly capable of just that

A doubling in Memory Bus Bandwith

Where the GeForce 8600 had a maximum bandwidth of 32GB/sec the 9600 is capable of 57.6 GB/sec. Further the number of shader processors is doubled compared to the GPU84. The clock of the 64 unified shaders increased from 1450 Mhz, to 1625 Mhz. The conclusion of this move is that NVIDIA found a healthy balance between GPU power and memory bandwidth. A little over clocking and tweaking improved the results significantly without cooking the card or destabilizing the system.

The 9600GT has two Dual-Link DVI connections, both HDCP capable. Dell is the only manufacturer that has a display capable of utilizing that possibility with their 24 Inch 2408WP and 30 Inch 3008WFP. Other companies promised to come with compatible models later this year.

Decoding HD imagery is no problem, so blue ray enthusiasts can rest assured. The GT9600 can be placed in double SLI. and beats its competitor the HD 3870 from Ati Radeon on all fronts. Tripple SLI is not possible but we have the feeling that not many of the potential buyers of this card will be interested in such a feature.

A comparison table for different games and resolutions can be found on our site. A strange phenomenon is that the overall energy consumption of the HD3870 X2 is higher with less performance.

These Guys are not asleep

To wrap it all up, we think that a complete new line in 6 months time is a bit overdoing it, but that NVIDIA did a good job with the Geforce 9600GT 512 Mb. A great never seen before price/performance ratio is the and the consistent beating of the 3870 from Ati makes this card a great choice for the demanding but not overly fanatic gamer.

As soon as we can lay our hands on the 9800 models with will very happy to give them a good spin and find out what their extremes are. With our strange inclination we love to put new cards on the torture table.

If you still have some access it is usually best to make a backup immediately and if we are talking about really valuable data contact a special recovery company.
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