For this test, we collected all the midrange cards currently on sale that we could in the time we had (clocked to the official Nvidia frequency if necessary). The idea was to see how the 9600 GT performs in comparison to these cards, and not to make a comparison of all the midrange and high-end solutions of the last three generations (since our preceding comparisons have already covered that segment).
The two resolutions we chose were 1280x1024 and 1680x1050, with and without antialiasing. We chose these given the performance of the 9600 GT and the power-greediness of current games: the idea, as always, was to concentrate only on the resolutions and settings that are really usable in practice with the card being tested. The processor used is a "midrange," a Core 2 E6850, and we carefully reviewed certain games (World In Conflict and Supreme Commander) to find the test scenes that are most representative of the game. So, none of the results are comparable with preceding tests (this is also because of the changes in drivers and patches).
Finally, we again used Windows XP for this test, on the grounds that the great majority of you are still sticking with that OS. Furthermore, we're still encountering performance problems with Windows Vista, and the inability of the cards tested to take advantage of the Direct3D 10 modes of current games (very power-hungry for questionable results, in most cases).
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 (3 GHz)|
|Motherboard||Asus P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38)|
|Memory||Crucial 2 x 1 GB DDR3 1333 MHz 9-9-9|
|Hard Disk||Western Digital WD5000AAKS|
|DVD-ROM||Asus 12x DVD player|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W|
|OS||Windows XP Pro|
|Drivers||ForceWare 174.12 beta (compatible only with the 9600 GT)ForceWare 169.28 beta (for all other GeForce cards)Catalyst 8.2 WHQL - All Radeon|
I see the lowest priced 9600GT at $90, %65 after rebate, with free Far Cry 2.
Not bad at all.