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Facelift: The ATi Radeon 9600 XT

Test Setup

Since the new Catalyst 3.8 drivers showed absolutely no performance difference to the previous driver release, the scores we recorded in our 9800 XT review can still be considered valid. While we tested the Radeon 9600 XT with the Catalyst 3.8, the scores for the 9800 XT where determined using the Catalyst 3.7.

Literally at the last minute we received NVIDIA's new "Force Ware" driver v52.16, which NVIDIA is calling a WHQL candidate. We didn't have enough time for extensive image quality tests but the new driver solved the issues in AquaMark 3 and the performance numbers indicate, that the anisotropic filtering quality is better than in previous drivers. Additionally, all tests were also run with the drivers v44.03 and v45.23. For an image quality comparison of these drivers, we invite you to read the following articles:

We will take a closer look at image quality in a follow-up article as soon as NVIDIA's new v52.16 driver has been WHQL certified.

The results taken from games with a built-in benchmark feature are given in blue. Scores recorded using FRAPS are in gray and those from in-game tests are green.

General Hardware
MotherboardASUS P4P800 Deluxe, Intel i865PE chipset
ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz (FSB800)
RAM2x 256 MB Kingston HyperX DDR400CL2 / 6-2-2-2
Drivers & Configuration
Graphic CardsATI Radeon 9800 XT 256 MB (Reference)ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB (Reference)ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128 MB (Reference)ATI Radeon 9600 XT 128 MB (Reference)ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128 MB (Hercules)ATI Radeon 9500 Pro 128 MB (Reference)NVIDIA GF FX5900 Ultra (Reference)NVIDIA GF FX5600 Ultra FC (Reference)
Graphics DriverDetonator FX v44.03Detonator FX v45.23Detonator FX v52.16MATI Catalyst v3.7ATI Catalyst v3.8
Chipset DriverIntel
DirectX Version9.0b
OSWindows XP Professional SP1