The driver and utility software installation is driven by the screen shown in the image below. In addition to providing ATI drivers, DirectX 9, and ATI's Hydravision, there is also an option for V-Tuner, Gigabyte's own overclocking utility.
The screenshot below shows V-Tuner in action, with an attractive graphical interface for overclocking the core clock speed, as well as the memory speed. While on the topic of overclocking, the results experienced with this card were pretty impressive. With a bit more tweaking, I am confident the card would be capable of even more, but I was easily able to achieve stable overclocks of 575 MHz (GPU) and 685 MHz (DDR). Didn't quite reach the rated speed of the memory, but both overclocks provide a decent speed boost.
The Gigabyte GV-R96X128D was installed into the following test system:
Pentium 4 2.6C processor
Abit IS7-G i865PE motherboard (BIOS 20)
(2) Seagate 80GB S-ATA hard drives in RAID-1
1024MB (2x512MB) Corsair TwinX1024-4000PRO Memory
Windows XP Professional (SP2)
ATI Radeon Catalyst 4.1 Drivers
For benchmarking purposes, the GV-R96X128D was pitted against a 128MB Sapphire Radeon 9600 installed in the same system. Comparing these two cards will show the advantages of the 9600XT over its lesser sibling, and what an additional $70 can get you in the terms of performance. With the Gigabyte 9600XT selling for about $170 (US, at the time of this review) and the Sapphire 9600 selling for just under $100 (US), we'll see if the letters X and T are worth $35 each!
The two cards were run through the following set of benchmarks:
PowerDVD VGA Speed
Aquamark is a fairly standard benchmark for testing the gaming capabilities of video cards. According to their site... "AquaMark3 is a powerful tool to determine reliable information about the gaming performance of a computer system. Because the benchmark extensively utilizes DirectX9, DirectX8 and DirectX7 functionality, it represents the requirements of typical gaming applications in 2003 and 2004." The frame rate results (FPS) are shown below (higher is better)...
The Aquamark GFX scores are shown below (higher is better)...
The Aquamark total system scores are shown below (higher is better)...
Across the board, the 9600XT puts up better numbers than the plain 9600, no real surprise, but still impressive.
Futuremark's 3DMark03 is a common video system benchmark used to analyze gaming performance. According to the Futuremark website... "The high quality game tests, image quality tests, sound tests and others give you an extremely accurate overview of your systems current gaming performance." The results, presented in unitless "Marks", are shown below and show the 9600XT winning by a large margin (higher is better)...
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