So to get you an idea what we'll be showing you today, let me tell you a thing or two first. This is a pretty big article; we'll first look at the architecture behind the product, then I need to show you a trick or two with the new PureVideo engine as some new tricks are introduced; then we'll have a look at the product per board-partner guided by photo shoots. After that we'll start testing and look at power consumption, heat build up in the GPU and noise levels originating from the active fan on the products. Then we'll dive into a large benchmark session followed by our conclusion.
Better grab some coffee or tea mate ... this is going to be a long read.
An introduction to the GeForce 9600 GT graphics card
Ever since November 2007 rumors have been swirling around the GeForce 9600 GT graphics card, it did not even need an announcement from the company. If you browsed the web a little you probably already heard practically everything there is to know about the card. The GeForce 9600 GT products are based on a 64 stream processors based GPU, it comes with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, on a (yay finally) 256-bit memory bus. I'm pretty excited about mid-range now, finally making the move to the 256-bit memory bus.
The core and memory speeds are 650MHz and 900MHz, respectively. For the real Guru's; the shader domain is clocked at 1625 MHz. The total memory bandwidth is 57.6GBs with a texture fill rate of 20.8 billion pixels per second.
The GPU, under the new codename 'D9M' (G94 for the rest of us), is a DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1, Shader Model 4.0 product designed for PCI Express 2.0. It'll be fabricated at 65nm, and NVIDIA claims it will deliver a performance boost of up to 90 per cent over the GeForce 8600 GTS, which we'll validate in our benchmark session. The product will nearly double up the framerate in the more extreme situations compared to the 8600 series.
Fort the freaks Guru's - the GPU is manufactured on TSMC's 65nm process node and accounts for half a billion transistors (505 Million to be precise). As stated, it has 64 unified shader processors, binding to 16 ROPs.
Let's strip her nekkid.
The D9M GPU based cards can peak at 90 Watts power consumption and therefroe will require a power supply with at least 400W and 26A on the entire 12V rail, it will also require a 6-pin PCI-Express connector as the card will surpass 75 Watts (PCIe slot) energy consumption, and that is new compared to previous mid-range cards such as the 8600 GT (except the 8600 GTS though).
GeForce 8800 Ultra
GeForce 8800 GTX
GeForce 8800 GT
GeForce 9600 GT
GeForce 8600 GT
Core Clock (MHz)
Shader Clock (MHz)
Memory Clock (MHz) x2
Two Dual link DVI
The 9600 GT will launch at prices ranging from $169 to $189. Special edition cards (OC) versions will likely be more expensive. In Europe expect an initial sales price of 169 EUR for this 512MB model. Today is all about the 512MB models, make no mistake ... in time I do expect both 256MB and 512MB of memory and pricing and memory capacities are to be expected tied. So in a nutshell, that's the 9600 GT. The 9600 GT is the first mainstream NVIDIA graphics card with a 256-bit memory bus, and it will be an interesting competitor to AMD's Radeon HD 3850 and 3870. The 9600 features two dual-link HDCP enabled DVI-I outputs. Both HDMI and DVI support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) which will be a requirement for protected content. In the long run; the card would support DisplyPort connectors fine as well, this obviously being board-partner dependant.
Next to bringing a pretty competitive product to the market, NVIDIA also introduced some new PureVideo features allowing several new functions. Let's have a look at these first.
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