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Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT Preview
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Nvidia
Source: Nvidia
Purchase: PriceGrabber
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Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT Preview
February 14, 2008

The graphics card war has really heated up recently with Nvidia extending their GeForce 8800 line up, while ATI has made a splash with their 38xx series of cards. The latest news maker was ATI's dual processor 3870 X2, but now it is Nvidia's turn for some media attention.

On January 06, 2008 Nvidia held an Editor's Day event and asked all those in attendance to respect a non-disclosure agreement for what seemed like an eternity in the modern world of instant communications. They shared details on a variety of new products, but the information provided on a new series of graphics cards was not be to made public for another six weeks! While I have seen that some people apparently couldn't keep a secret for more than a few days, the embargo date has finally arrived and I'll share what I know about this new card.

The new card is the Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT, and if you're like me you might be thinking you have heard of that model before. I remember owning a couple cards from the ATI Radeon 9600 series a few years ago, and wondered why Nvidia would choose to recycle a model number of a middle of the road card produced by their competitor. Beyond the 9600, there is also a 9800 series in the works at Nvidia, taking yet another queue from the ATI model list.

The first thing Nvidia wanted to make clear is that while improving performance, this new series was not going to take the prices to new heights. The slide below indicates that the 9600 GT will have a price of under $200 (US). Price at launch should be something like $189, and it should drop to $169 after a short time on the market. This price makes it quite comparable to the ATI HD 3850 and HD 3870, and far less expensive than many current cards from Nvidia's 8800 series.

Click Image For Larger View

But what can you expect for less than $200? Can you really expect a card that "delivers the performance modern gamers demand", or is that vague statement all just marketing spin to hype a budget conscience card? To start to appreciate what the 9600 GT offers, some of the key features and specifications are listed below...

Features and Specifications:

Stream Processors: 64
Core Clock: 650MHz
Shader Clock: 1625MHz
Memory Clock: 900MHz
Memory: 512MB / 256-bit GDDR3
Power Connector: 6-pin
Max Board Power: 95W
Thermal: Single Slot Fansink
Outputs: 2x DL-DVI, HDTV-out
Click Image For Larger View

The data provided shows that the clock speeds are comparable to other cards in the 8600/8800 series, but not the fastest available. Those who don't have one of the latest power supplies featuring an 8-pin PCIe connection will be relieved to see that the 9600 GT can still use the 6-pin connection you may have. The features and specifications don't reveal anything that instantly identifies this as an upgrade, so hopefully there is something that will generate some interest in this card to be discussed...

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