Four GeForce 9600 GT Cards Compared

Graphics Chip Comparison And Test Configuration

To make it easier to compare the performance of the different graphic chips and generations, we provide additional results for Nvidia’s GeForce 8, 9800 GTX, and GTX 260, and AMD’s Radeon 38x0 and 48x0. The GeForce 9600 GT and Radeon 4870 are tested with two different driver versions to make it easier to see the differences upon updating from ForceWare 175.16 to GeForce 177.92, or from Catalyst 8.6 to 8.8.

The Asus EN9600GT Silent with 512 MB runs at the Nvidia standard clock speeds, just like the reference 9600 GT with 1 GB. MSI slightly increases graphics processor (GPU) and shader speeds, while Palit and Sparkle increase GPU, shader, and graphics memory speeds.

Nvidia Graphics Cards
Card Manufacturer and Chip Code name Memory GPU Speed Shader Memory Speed SPs
GeForce GTX 260 GT200 896 GDDR3 576 MHz 4.0, 1242 MHz 1998 MHz 192
GeForce 9800 GTX G92 512 MB GDDR3 675 MHz 4.0, 1688 MHz 2200 MHz 128
GeForce 9600 GT SLI G94 1024 MB GDDR3 650 MHz 4.0, 1625 MHz 1800 MHz 64
GeForce 9600 GT G94 1024 MB GDDR3 650 MHz 4.0, 1625 MHz 1800 MHz 64
Asus GeForce 9600 GT G94 512 MB GDDR3 650 MHz 4.0, 1625 MHz 1800 MHz 64
MSI GeForce 9600 GT G94 1024 MB GDDR3 700 MHz 4.0, 1680 MHz 1800 MHz 64
Palit GeForce 9600 GT G94 1024 MB GDDR3 700 MHz 4.0, 1750 MHz 2000 MHz 64
Sparkle GeForce 9600 GT G94 512 MB GDDR3 700 MHz 4.0, 1850 MHz 2000 MHz 64
GeForce 8800 GTS G92 512 MB GDDR3 650 MHz 4.0, 1625 MHz 1944 MHz 128
GeForce 8800 GT G92 512 MB GDDR3 600 MHz 4.0, 1500 MHz 1800 MHz 112
GeForce 8800 GTX G80 768 MB GDDR3 576 MHz 4.0, 1350 MHz 1800 MHz 128
GeForce 8800 GTS G80 640 MB GDDR3 500 MHz 4.0, 1188 MHz 1600 MHz 96
GeForce 8800 GTS G80 320 MB GDDR3 500 MHz 4.0, 1188 MHz 1600 MHz 96

Card Manufacturer and Chip Memory Bus Manufacturing Process Transistors Interface
GeForce GTX 260 448 Bit 65 nm 1400 MB PCIe 2.0
GeForce 9800 GTX 256 Bit 65 nm 754 MB PCIe 2.0
GeForce 9600 GT SLI 256 Bit 65 nm 505 MB PCIe 2.0
GeForce 9600 GT 256 Bit 65 nm 505 MB PCIe 2.0
Asus GeForce 9600 GT 256 Bit 65 nm 505 MB PCIe 2.0
MSI GeForce 9600 GT 256 Bit 65 nm 505 MB PCIe 2.0
Palit GeForce 9600 GT 256 Bit 65 nm 505 MB PCIe 2.0
Sparkle GeForce 9600 GT 256 Bit 65 nm 505 MB PCIe 2.0
GeForce 8800 GTS 256 Bit 65 nm 754 MB PCIe 2.0
GeForce 8800 GT 256 Bit 65 nm 754 MB PCIe 2.0
GeForce 8800 GTX 384 Bit 90 nm 681 MB PCIe 1
GeForce 8800 GTS 320 Bit 90 nm 681 MB PCIe 1
GeForce 8800 GTS 320 Bit 90 nm 681 MB PCIe 1

AMD Graphics Cards
Card Manufacturer and Chip Code name Memory GPU Speed Shader Memory Speed SPs
Radeon HD 4870 RV770 512 MB GDDR5 750 MHz 4.1 3600 MHz 800
Radeon HD 4850 CF RV770 512 MB GDDR3 625 MHz 4.1 1986 MHz 800
Radeon HD 4850 RV770 512 MB GDDR3 625 MHz 4.1 1986 MHz 800
Radeon HD 3870 RV670 512 MB GDDR4 775 MHz 4.1 2252 MHz 320
Radeon HD 3850 RV670 256 MB GDDR3 670 MHz 4.1 1658 MHz 320

Card Manufacturer and Chip Memory Bus Manufacturing Process Transistors Interface
Radeon HD 4870 256 Bit 55 nm 965 MB PCIe 2.0
Radeon HD 4850 CF 256 Bit 55 nm 965 MB PCIe 2.0
Radeon HD 4850 256 Bit 55 nm 965 MB PCIe 2.0
Radeon HD 3870 256 Bit 55 nm 666 MB PCIe 2.0
Radeon HD 3850 256 Bit 55 nm 666 MB PCIe 2.0

Memory clock speed=DDR clock speed doubled; physical clock speed is one half
DDR5 clock speed quadrupled; physical clock speed is one quarter
SPs=Stream-Processors, P and V=Pixel shader and Vertex shader
TC=Turbo Cache
HM=Hyper Memory
OC=overclocked (clock speed higher than standard)
SLI=Parallel mode with 2 Nvidia Cards
3SLI=Parallel mode with 3 Nvidia graphics chips
4SLI=Parallel mode with 4 Nvidia graphics chips
CF=CrossFire Parallel mode with 2 AMD cards
3CF=CrossFire Parallel mode with 3 AMD graphics chips
4CF=CrossFire Parallel mode with 4 AMD graphics chips
R680=2xRV670
Shader 2.0=DirectX 9.0; 3.0=DirectX 9.0c; 4.0=DirectX 10; Shader 4.1=DirectX 10.1

Nvidia Single graphics card, AMD Single and CrossFire graphics cards
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 @ 2.93 GHz (11x266 MHz),
Socket 775, 1.28 V, 65 nm, 4 MB L2 Cache
FSB 1066 MHz (4x266 MHz)
Motherboard Asus P5E3 Deluxe, PCIe 2.0 2x16, ICH9R
Chip set Intel X38
Memory 2x 1 GB Ballistix (Crucial Technology) 1.5 V
DDR3 1066 7-7-7-20 (2x533 MHz)
Audio Intel High Definition Audio
LAN Intel 1000 Pro
Hard Drives Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500 GB, S-ATA, 16 MB Cache
Hitachi 120 GB, S-ATA, 8 MB Cache
DVD Gigabyte GO-D1600C
Power Supply CoolerMaster RS-850-EMBA 850 W

Nvidia SLI Graphics Cards
Motherboard Asus P5N-T Deluxe, PCIe 2.0 2x16
Chip set Nvidia nForce 780i SLI
Memory 2x1 GB, A-Data Technology 1.8 Volt, DDR2 800 5-5-5-18 (2x400 MHz)
Audio ADI 1988B SoundMax
LAN Marvell 88E1116 Gigabit Ethernet

Drivers & Configuration
Graphic AMD Catalyst 8.6 and 8.8
Nvidia ForceWare 175.16, GTX 260 ForceWare 177.39, 9600 GT ForceWare 175.16 and GeForce 177.92
Operating System Windows Vista Enterprise SP1
DirectX 10 und 10.1
Chip Set Driver X38 Intel 8.3.1.1009
780i Nvidia nForce 9.64

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48 comments
    Your comment
  • JAYDEEJOHN
    So it beats the GTX eh? And you can find brand new nVidia drivers, but no ATI ones? And wheres the 4670? Got halfway thru, decided to skip the rest
    3
  • jaragon13
    What about the HD 4850? It costs less than the "last 8800 GTS 512's"
    Asus sells them for what? 170 dollars,free shipping on Newegg?
    Maybe I even saw one @ 160...
    6
  • Sus-penders
    Why would anyone get an 8800GTS for $179 when you can buy a better performing HD 4850, for LESS money??? ATI still exists, you know...
    2
  • Ryun
    No offense, as the article and tests run were good (I especially like the overall FPS charts), but this information would have been more pertinent, like, 6 months ago.
    3
  • Niva
    Uh, I don't get what the people about are upset for. It's a good article, I enjoyed reading and seeing where these cards fit into the scheme of things. I know ATI has made a comeback with their recent cards but until their drivers are completely open and stable I'll stick with nVidia myself so I especially enjoyed this article. Thanks Toms!
    -4
  • L1qu1d
    Waste of 3 mins, it makes very little sense, the 9600 GTs in sli are around the 280 GTX in performance, yet it manages to get destroyed by the 4870.

    This article would've meant something around the time the cards came out...now I'd much rather like to see the 4850 cards compared or 260s or w.e else that is this gen.
    -2
  • MooseMuffin
    NivaUh, I don't get what the people about are upset for. It's a good article, I enjoyed reading and seeing where these cards fit into the scheme of things. I know ATI has made a comeback with their recent cards but until their drivers are completely open and stable I'll stick with nVidia myself so I especially enjoyed this article. Thanks Toms!


    Exactly what is open about nvidia's drivers?
    0
  • wh3resmycar
    nobody reads the introduction anymore?
    0
  • warezme
    warms my heart to see the old 8800GTX included in this test list.

    It's amazing this ancient cards at default speed still sit in the middle of the pack and quickly rise to the top when you turn up AA and texture quality up, beating most every other card cept for 260GTX and SLI and CF rigs.

    It also explains why a pair of old 8800GTX's in SLI OC'ed to at least Ultra speeds on a fast rig are still very hard to out perform by any single card (period)
    5
  • Anonymous
    There is a reason to get the 9600GT over the 8800GT, power consumption. Look at the numbers, the 9600GT has 1/2 the number of shaders (hence a smaller die). I know the shader clock runs a little faster but a good quality stock PSU with 300W (real, like antec, corsair, etc) should be fine for running it.
    0
  • bf2gameplaya
    The 8800GTS/512 is still a top performer...not bad for a "two" generations old card, if you believe the marketing.

    I am a loyal Nvidia customer and I wont touch the GTX280. I am patiently waiting for the GeForce 11 series.
    0
  • sgmeridian
    Why doesn't Tom's use the 9800GTX+ in these benchmarks? All we ever see are scores for the slower, now defunct 9800GTX.
    3
  • GlItCh017
    9600 GT...I got nothing.
    -3
  • computerninja7823
    hey pepelan what kind MANURFACTURING problems are their!??!! I have a old geforce 2 gts and it has worked every day...day in and day out for ever. And I also have a geforce 4200ti same thing. last time i checked nvidia did'nt make hardware. so dont say nvidia makes bad "HARDWARE" cause they dont. i have 2 8800gt's and theve worked flawlessly! my friend buys ati cards and they suck hard...he's bought like 5 of them then bought a nvidia card and no problems after that! this is a great article
    -7
  • njalterio
    Computerningja, you are such a tool. Nvidia does make hardware: It's called a graphics card you dunce. Don't believe me? Check this out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_hardware

    Right there on the list of types of hardware are video cards. I will agree, Nvidia DOES NOT have any glaring manufacturing flaws, but neither does ATI as you suggest through your friends experience. So he bought five ATI cards and none worked? Please. And no, this is not a great article. Why would I care about the negligible performance difference between four different brands of the same old card? This would only have been helpful six months ago.
    -3
  • ravenware
    NivaUh, I don't get what the people about are upset for. It's a good article, I enjoyed reading and seeing where these cards fit into the scheme of things. I know ATI has made a comeback with their recent cards but until their drivers are completely open and stable I'll stick with nVidia myself so I especially enjoyed this article. Thanks Toms!


    I ran an ATI Radeon 9800XT for 3 years and never had problems with their driver suite. I had a much more enjoyable experience with the ATI card than my current 7800GT card.

    And yes I would buy the 4850 over the 9600GT, 8800GT and 8800GTS.
    1
  • zbranigan
    Bought a 9600GT from NewEgg for $99 bucks with free shipping. I had trouble finding solid benchmark comparisons. Here they are. I was beginning to doubt my purchase. Tried Assassins Creed on my 8600GT this card is much better. Tried Crysis, but that game is only good to make you kick yourself for any card purchase. Thanks Tom.
    1
  • Chuck Norris
    Thanks for the article, I appreciate all of the testing. I would have liked to have seen the 4670 included as well, though, considering it's the direct parallel to the 9600GT for price.
    4
  • TheFace
    I would like to say I appreciate throwing the 3850 256mb in there. Got mine after they just came out when it was impossible to find a 3870 anywhere..for weeks... I appreciate it because I know exactly how far behind my graphics solution is. Just upgraded cpu, mobo, and RAM. HDD, and Vid card soon to follow.
    1
  • Anonymous
    Long Live ATI HD48** Series :D and this article is outdated! Why didn't you review Geforce MX? Boring Toms, Really, I Mean it!

    oh, and why fight? we just want better hardwares for lesser money... calm down buddies...
    -1