Introducing ATi's New Middle Class: The Radeon 9600 PRO

Test Setup

All tests were run on an Athlon XP 2700+ system built around an ASUS A7N8X (nForce 2) motherboard. In addition to the standard in-game benchmarks, we also tested the cards' FSAA and anisotropic filtering performance in Unreal Tournament 2003 (Direct3D) and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (OpenGL).

To give you a better context for the scores, we also included the following cards:

NVIDIA: GeForce 4 Ti 4200-8x (128 MB), FX 5200 Ultra, FX 5600 Ultra;

ATi: Radeon 9000 PRO (128 MB), 9500 (128 MB), 9500 PRO, 9700 PRO.

Since both ATi and NVIDIA have published new drivers in the last few weeks, the scores from our FX 5200/ FX 5600 preview are no longer up-to-date. If you would like to compare the scores presented here with those of an FX 5800, Radeon 9800, GF4 Ti 4800 or GF4 MX 440-8x, feel free to check out said preview.

Our attempt to underclock the Radeon 9600 PRO to 9600 speeds unfortunately resulted in massive image corruption. The scores we attained seemed questionable at best, which is why they are not included here.

Using reference cards for overclocking tests is problematic: due to the normal variation in production quality, the results are never representative, especially not for the final boards of the retail card makers. Therefore, these results shouldn't be taken as definitive. The good news is that we were able to overclock the Radeon 9600 PRO. Whether this will work for the retail cards or if ATi or a card maker decides to "clock-lock" the chips remains to be seen.

The reference card can be overclocked.

The most interesting comparison in this group is between the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra, the Radeon 9600 PRO, and the Radeon 9500 PRO. The GeForce 4 Ti 4200 can be viewed as an inexpensive alternative. The Radeon 9700 PRO represents a step up into the next price category.

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Test SystemAMD Athlon XP 2700+ASUS A7N8X Deluxe (nForce 2)
Memory2 x 256 MB, PC 333 (2/2/2/5)
Drivers & Software
Graphics DriverNVIDIA - v. 43.45ATI - v. 3.2 (
DirectX Version on System9.0
OSWindows XP Professional SP1
Benchmarks & Settings
Aquanox 2 RevelationRetail Version v2.159
UT 2003 FullRetail Version v2166
Splinter CellUS Demo 2 - Beta Bench
Serious Sam: Second EncounterRetail Version v1.07(Demo: Valley of the Jaguar)
3D Mark 2001 SEPro Version, Build 330
3D Mark 2003Pro Version
CodecreaturesPRO Benchmark v1.0.0