The Gigabyte GV-R96X128D videocard is the first AGP card to find its way to the test bench here at BigBruin.Com, and given the current roadmap of pc architecture, might be one of the last. With PCI Express looming in the very near future, the future of AGP is limited, to say the least.
The Gigabyte brand name is well known to computer enthusiasts. Founded in Taiwan back in 1986, Gigabyte has grown into one of the more prominent manufacturers of motherboards and video cards, as well as having a stake in lcd monitors, mini PCs, notebooks, and other peripherals.
The physical layout of the Gigabyte GV-R96X128D videocard is based on the reference Radeon 9600XT design, and features 128MB of DDR memory. The blue PCB and striking golden heatsink are nice touches to make this card look like anything but a generic reference design. Manufacturers seem to be relying more on reference designs in their video cards recently, which has to be seen as a good thing for consumers. The money saved in development is no doubt passed on, at least in part, to the end user.
The GV-R96X128D features both a 15-pin D-SUB connection and a DVI connection for use with either an analog or digital monitor. In addition, situated on the PCI bracket between these two connectors is a TV-out connection, allowing the GV-R96X128D to be the center piece of a powerful home entertainment PC.
The card comes packaged in the box pictured in the below left image, which details most (if not all), of the features, specifications, and marketing information a consumer might be interested in. The below right image shows the other accessories included with the card, namely a DVI to D-SUB adaptor and TV-out cable that will allow the card to connect to either a Composite or S-Video capable display. The DVI to D-SUB connector is a nice little item, as it allows the owners of multiple analog monitors to take advantage of the GV-R96X128D's MultiView capabilities.
The image below shows the User's Manual, as well as 5 CD titles included in the bundle. In addition to the driver/utitily disc, there is also a full copy of Power DVD 5.0, and three games; Will Rock, Tomb Raider - Angel of Death, and Rainbow Six - Raven Shield. At about the time this card was released, many others were including a coupon for Half Life 2, which I would have been interested in, but unfortunately this card did not include one.
The below left image shows a close up of the heatsink found on the GV-R96X128D. Its a compact golden cooler, which looks great standing still, but even better in action. Blue LEDs are hidden in the fan, and it gives off a subtle blue glow that looks sharp with the blue PCB. The below right image shows a close up (although a fairly blurry one) of the Samsung DDR found on this card. For those interested, it says "Samsung 328, K4D263238E-GC2A, WVF087PVA Korea." Visiting Samsung's site reveals some interesting data on these chips, including the fact that they support a max frequency of 350 MHz, or 700 MHz DDR.
Although most of the specifications have been covered so far, the following table provides a summary of all the key specifications and features of the GV-R96X128D, as taken from the Gigabyte website.
In addition to the specifications listed above, it should be noted that the .13 micron RV360 core clock boasts a speed of 500 MHz, and the DDR memory clock speed comes in at 600 MHz. Basically the default speeds for a Radeon 9600XT card, although I have seen Sapphire and PowerColor cards clocked higher on the memory side, perhaps using similar DDR and taking greater advantage of all the speed available.
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