NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB The freaks on a leash ...
A shootout review with the following cards:
BFG GeForce 9600 GT 512MB OC editon
ECS GeForce 9600 GT 512MB passively cooled
eVGA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB SSC edition
Galaxy GeForce 9600 GT 512MB OC edition
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB reference
Point of View GeForce 9600 GT 512MB
There's no party like a Guru parteeeeh ... whoo heee! Oh, hey everyone. Sjeesh didn't notice you right there; you startled me a little. See we're having this little party today as NVIDIA finally released a mid-range graphics card that we can be excited about. NVIDIA releases it's GeForce 9600 GT and it's the first real mid-range product worth spending your money on as the previous 8600 GT was a little dreary, wasn't it? Let me start by taking a few quotes from our initial GeForce 8600 GT article, I had a reservations about that product line; it did not perform as expected a year ago when we started reviewing it:
"I think everybody expected the 8600 series to perform better in games. The GT is merely 15% faster than a 7600 GT in most scenarios".
Here's another excerpt from that conclusion. See, the 8600 series though architecturally improved seemed to be nice products; however performance was just slightly faster than the 7600 GT which was released back in March 2006. My section quote from our initial 8600 GT article:
" So in short, both the 8600 GT and GTS are "okay" performers. "
My dear friends; that was nearly a year ago ... and that is a big contradiction for NVIDIA, they never released a product with "okay" performance with the exception of the futile "GeForce FX" series. NVIDIA knew quite well that ATI was struggling and somehow decided to make a cheap to produce part, and may I say it? ... milk the cow as long as possible. Last week the colleagues over at the Inquirer got their grubby hands on some NV slides regarding the 9600 GT and wrote this:
"The funniest part is that they have a slide that says "116% Faster!!!", and immediately follow it with "Single Largest Generational Performance Increase in our History", in green no less. Does anyone else read this as them admitting that the 8600 sucked? Hint: it did."
Now while The Inquirer has a rather large bias against NVIDIA I have to admit: the man had a point. Well, I wouldn't say sucked but we projected and expected more, and the Inquirer is always good for a laugh though :) See indeed; NVIDIA is claiming in a slide that the product is 116% faster, and that is true. But you don't have to be Einstein to determine that a slightly above 2006 based mid-range performing product can be pretty easy to beat. Guru3D expected mid-range products to go to the 256-bit memory bus a year ago already. Instead NVIDIA stuck to 128-bit on the 8600 and lower specced series yet also made a GPU with very little shader cores. It took ATI to release the RV670 (Radeon 3850/3870) before they made the decision to finally release the mid-range product that should have been released a long time ago.
And with that in mind we finally arrive at the 21th of February 2008 where NVIDIA releases an affordable product that will bring a wide smile to your face. This time it's performing better than "okay", it's performing really well and at a fair price.
Ladies and gentlemen .. run to the stores, grab a GeForce 9600 GT and go & play games like Call of Duty 4, World in Conflict, Ghost Recon 2. Then enable some good image quality settings at fair resolutions and you'll be able to take in the entire experience with very acceptable framerates.
Today we'll take do something special; we'll take six of the new 9600 GT cards from BFG, eVGA, ECS, Galaxy, Point of View and NVIDIA's reference card; then look at the technical specifications, power consumption, product diversity and finally take them for a test-spin on on the latest games and stress the cards until they tremble and stutter in the pain vain that is called the Guru3D test system.
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