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GeForce 9600 GT: Driver Update From 175.16 to 177.92

Do New Drivers Really Boost Performance?
By

 The GeForce 9600 GT is the first card in the 9 series.

The number of driver versions between the last test and the current beta drivers is greater for the GeForce 9600 GT. However, the 175.16, 175.19 (GeForce 9), 177.39 and 177.41 (GeForce GTX) came out in quick succession. Many of the changes affected 3DMark Vantage, which Nvidia regularly optimizes, but the real differences among the versions are few. The most important feature is support and integration of PhysX for older GeForce 8 models.

Assassins Creed in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 46.7 36.1 30.8 36.0 27.5 23.9 201.0
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 52.1 39.6 34.1 39.3 30.2 25.0 220.3
Difference in performance in percentage 11.6 9.7 10.7 9.2 9.8 4.6 9.6

The increase in performance of up to 11.6 percent is stunning—the GeForce 9600 GT improves in all the right places thanks to the driver update. With 1920x1200 pixels and anti-aliasing, the frame rate slips up to 25 fps.

Call of Duty 4 in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 87.8 72.2 60.7 71.4 59.4 47.1 398.6
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 88.1 72.4 58.9 71.3 59.3 47.9 397.9
Difference in performance in percentage 0.3 0.3 -3.0 -0.1 -0.2 1.7 -0.2

The results of Call of Duty 4 lie within the measuring tolerances.

Crysis High in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 27.4 20.9 16.9 17.2 13.0 10.5 105.9
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 28.8 22.0 18.7 18.4 14.2 11.5 113.6
Difference in performance in percentage 5.1 5.3 10.7 7.0 9.2 9.5 7.3

The increase in performance is measurable in Crysis, but the extra frame isn’t quite noticeable. Still, it represents optimization in the driver, which has probably been implemented for the 1024 MB model.

Crysis Very High in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 17.3 12.3 9.7 11.0 8.2 6.4 64.9
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 19.0 14.3 11.4 12.9 9.5 7.5 74.6
Difference in performance in percentage 9.8 16.3 17.5 17.3 15.9 17.2 14.9

When the GeForce 9600 GT with 512 MB and 1024 MB graphics memory is compared in the Very High setting, you immediately see the optimization of the driver, which now makes better use of the doubled graphics memory. Unfortunately, the frame rates are too low generally, making the GeForce 9600 GT as a single card hardly suitable for Crysis and Very High image quality. Two GeForce 9600 GT cards used as SLI, each equipped with 1 GB, would probably profit more from this optimization.

ET: Quake Wars in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 83.3 78.5 68.8 74.3 60.6 49.3 414.8
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 82.6 79.7 71.7 77.5 63.0 51.2 425.7
Difference in performance in percentage -0.8 1.5 4.2 4.3 4.0 3.9 2.6

At 1920 with anti-aliasing there is a 4 percent increase in 3D speed after the driver update.

Half-Life 2 Episode 2 in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 101.0 96.2 86.4 97.6 80.5 64.1 525.8
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 104.4 98.1 90.3 100.3 84.3 66.5 543.9
Difference in performance in percentage 3.4 2.0 4.5 2.8 4.7 3.7 3.4

Half-Life 2 Episode 2 measures an increase of 2 percent to almost 5 percent, but you can’t feel it, as frame rates are already well over 60 fps.

Mass Effect in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 67.9 52.1 41.3 49.9 38.9 27.3 47.8 37.1 26.3 388.6
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 68.1 52.1 41.0 49.9 38.5 26.9 47.9 36.9 26.3 387.6
Difference in performance in percentage 0.3 0.0 -0.7 0.0 -1.0 -1.5 0.2 -0.5 0.0 -0.3

Nothing has changed in Mass Effect; the measurements are within the margin of error.

MS Flight Simulator X SP2 in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 32.7 32.6 31.8 34.4 33.0 33.3 197.8
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 33.3 33.0 32.6 34.6 34.2 34.2 201.9
Difference in performance in percentage 1.8 1.2 2.5 0.6 3.6 2.7 2.1

The increase in Flight Simulator X can be measured, but is very low. Unlike other graphics chips, the GeForce 9600 GT already gets excellent results with the flight simulator.

World in Conflict in fps 1280
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9600 GT (1024 MB) 175.16 36.2 32.4 27.3 23.4 19.1 16.0 154.4
9600 GT (1024 MB) 177.92 36.6 33.1 28.1 23.9 19.8 16.5 158.0
Difference in performance in percentage 1.1 2.2 2.9 2.1 3.7 3.1 2.3

The increase in frame rates is measurable, but not particularly impactful.

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