The GeForce 9600 GT 512MB comes with 64 stream processors, double the number found in the GeForce 8600 GTS but not quite as many as in the original GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB. To make up for the shortfall in stream processors, Nvidia gave the GeForce 9600 GT quicker clock speeds, pairing the 650MHz core clock with a speedy 1.62GHz shader clock. The 512MB of GDDR3 memory has an effective speed of 1.8GHz. Nvidia states that the card uses 95W of power and recommends a 400W power supply for the standard GeForce 9600 GT 512MB.
|GeForce 9600 GT||GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB||GeForce 8600 GTS|
|DirectX||DirectX 10, SM4||DirectX 10, SM4||DirectX 10, SM4|
|Memory Speed||900MHz (1.8GHz GDDR3)||800MHz (1.6GHz GDDR3)||1GHz (2GHz GDDR3)|
A worker at Nvidia said that the performance of the 9600 Gt is almost double than the previous 8600 Gt, and after some benchmarks have been done he seems to be right.
The GeForce 9600 GT 512MB performs spectacularly for a card in the mainstream category. It thoroughly trounced prior-generation parts like the GeForce 8600 GTS and Radeon HD 2600 XT, outperformed the more expensive Radeon HD 3870 in Crysis and Call of Duty 4, and waltzed past the comparably priced Radeon HD 3850 in all of our tests. The GeForce 9600 GT didn’t beat the GeForce 8800 GT 512MB card or XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition, which is considerably more expensive and overclocked.
Crysis runs quite well at medium detail levels. NVIDIA cards have historically held an advantage in Crysis, and the 9600GT proves true to this record. All of the cards in question maintain playable framerates, though the 8600GTS is still choppy at times. Relative performance rankings remain identical when we shift to high quality testing, but the performance hit is quite significant. Of the various cards we tested, only the 8800GT and 9600GT maintain semi-playable framerates. As for the 8600 GTS, again, there’s not much to say when a card’s performance could almost be charted in seconds-per-frame instead of frames-per-second.
The 9600 GT returned a markedly higher minimum framerate than the 8800 GT, even when repeatedly tested. I suspect this may be the result of further driver optimizations.
The competition in this price range is fierce, as ATI just announced price cuts for both of their competing GPUs. Choosing a video card got a little harder, as it depends on how the price war plays out. Regardless of card, you win. Lower prices and higher performance doesn’t exactly hurt the consumer.