It seems that we're only at the dawn of the GeForce 9600 catwalk. As we've seen in our Review, this card is very interesting, it's well priced. The price could even drop lower in the coming weeks as NVIDIA partners have a field day with it.
MSI dared develop a model equipped with 2 GB of GDRR3!. The amount of memory is absolutely ridiculous. Four times more than the original model (we don't even want to talk about the 256 MB version of the board that should arrive soon), 512 MB being enough when one considers the GPU's power and the memory's clock. Again "More is better", but we're curious to know the card's price. It'll be available end of March - beginning of April. Another particularity, more useful, is the presence of a Zalman VF700 cooling system, even if the original one does a good job (cools the board in silence, the G94 doesn't heat up much).
Just below, the manufacturer displayed a 1 GB version, slightly more useful. Using a dual slot form factor, it has a different cooling system that allows to board to be better cooled by send some hot air outside. MSI talks about an 8°C decrease in temperature, compared to the original cooling system.
At Inno3D, we saw another 9600 GT, still in development and that should be launched at the end of the month. Belonging to the iChill high end range, it uses the Zerotherm cooling system that should allow an important factory overclocking, which hasn't been finalized yet. The board will have a 3 year warranty.
Sparkle had the good idea to offer an entirely passive version using a large heat sink that uses heat pipes and a second slot. It's a model that we find on the manufacturer's 8800 GT. The manufacturer still falls for the dual fan trend though. We can only regret such system on the Calibre version (one fan is often more interesting in terms of air flow - noise ratio). Few months ago, the manufacturer had boards using thermoelectric cooling (that can obtain a cooler temperature than ambient air), but had to drop it after loosing its license. TEC's disastrous efficiency when "green computing" has the spotlight, and its enormous cost, also tipped the scale.
Finally Twintech and Albaton offered card with slightly modified cooling system (bigger fans, golden connectors and 25 MHz overclocking of the GPU).