VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

Radeon 9600

This chip carries the designation RV350 and supersedes the DirectX 9 chip R300 (Radeon 9500). The only difference between the RV350 and the "big" R300 (Radeon 9700) is the slimmer memory bus (128 bit instead of 256 bit). In the non-PRO version of the card, ATi also chose to disable four of the eight pixel pipelines. Other than that, the chips were identical (~107 million transistors). As this was a very costly way to produce a budget chip, ATi has reduced the actual number of pipelines to four in the new design in order to reduce the production costs of this 75 million 0.13µ chip.

The advantage of the Radeon 9600 compared to its predecessor is its higher core frequency, which allows it to make up for the missing four pixel pipelines. Compared to the Radeon 9500 PRO , however, the Radeon 9600 PRO's fillrate and anisotropic filtering performance are often lower. Other than that, the cards are up to date, supporting DirectX 9, modern multi sampling FSAA and fast anisotropic filtering - in other words, everything the top models have, too.


  • Radeon 9600 PRO 128 MB 128 bit DDR (400/ 600); official price: $169-$199
  • Radeon 9600 64/128 MB 128 bit DDR (325/ 400); official price: $149-$169