Graphics Cards Guide

Gigabyte GV-NX96T512HP (GeForce 9600 GT 512MB) review

Gigabyte GV-NX96T512HP (GeForce 9600 GT 512MB)

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The Gigabyte GV-NX96T512HP

The Gigabyte GV-NX96T512HP

Like we mentioned earlier, this Gigabyte GeForce 9600 GT comes with 2D/3D clock separation. While idling, the core clock drops to a low 450MHz, with the GDDR3 memory also dropping to 1500MHz DDR. This is quite the contrast with its usual 720/2016MHz, which incidentally is overclocked for a GeForce 9600 GT (650/1800MHz). Stream processors are also upped to 1800MHz from the default 1680MHz in 3D mode. Therefore, one should get above average performance for 3D games while at the same time reap some marginal energy savings while doing less intensive tasks like checking your emails.

Besides its rather unique if not exactly innovative revival of 2D/3D clock separation, the Gigabyte GV-NX96T512HP is also a passively cooled card. This could be another reason why Gigabyte went with the variable clock speeds, since heat is always an issue for such cards with passive coolers. The cooler itself has four heat pipes, split into two pairs, with each pair having its own dedicated array of aluminum fins. Such a split allows for greater heat dissipation due to the larger total amount of surface area.

Like your standard GeForce 9600 GT, this Gigabyte card has audio headers for connecting a S/PDIF cable between it and the motherboard for HDMI audio integration. As its single SLI connector attest, it also supports multi GPU configuration, along with the host of PureVideo HD enhancements introduced by NVIDIA for the GeForce 9 series.

Gigabyte has also included its latest tweaking tool, Gamer HUD, which seems to be quite a comprehensive utility that keeps track of important information like temperature, fan speed and clock speeds. Users can either let the utility handle everything automatically or adjust the values themselves. There's even voltage adjustments for those who need the extra juice to push their card further during overclocking.

Finally, the usual accessories and cables should be found in the retail package. Since our review unit is an early set that came sans the bundle, we can only state the items listed on Gigabyte's product page below:

  • DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component/S-Video dongle
  • 6-pin Molex power connector
  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver CD

Test Setup

As usual, our system was configured with an Intel D975XBX 'Bad Axe' motherboard and equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.66GHz) processor. We had 2GB of DDR2-800 low latency memory from Kingston, running in dual channel mode. For our storage, we had a Seagate 7200.7 SATA hard drive, installed with Windows XP Professional and updated with Service Pack 2 and DirectX 9.0c.

In this review, we are comparing the Gigabyte GV-NX96T512HP against its other GeForce 9600 GT competitors. As the Gigabyte is overclocked, we have decided to pit it against those of a similar caliber, with only the ASUS card acting as the surrogate for a reference board due to its standard clocks. All these cards were tested using ForceWare 174.12 and our benchmark results were taken using the included time demos and other built-in benchmarking tools available in the following games:

  • Futuremark 3DMark06 (ver 110)
  • Company of Heroes (ver 1.3)
  • F.E.A.R (ver 1.0)
  • World in Conflict (ver 1.05)
  • Supreme Commander (patched to 3255)
  • Crysis (ver 1.1)
  • Unreal Tournament 3 (ver 1.1)