Graphics Cards Guide

XFX GeForce 9600 GSO XXX Edition review

XFX GeForce 9600 GSO XXX Edition - More Than Meets the Eye

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Another Renaming Exercise?

Another Renaming Exercise?

It is often said by esteemed football managers that the game is won in the midfield, which is why you often see teams playing with a packed midfield. These rules apply to graphics cards as well. It's good to have the fastest card and all, but those are not the cards that sell in large quantities. How many of us can afford (and are insane enough) to put down nearly a grand's worth on a graphics card? Really, the battle is won in the mainstream market, because those are the cards that people actually buy.

Therefore, to beef up its mainstream offerings, NVIDIA has introduced the GeForce 9600 GSO. No, actually "reintroduce" would be more apt, because the GeForce 9600 GSO is, once again, the result of another one of NVIDIA's rehashing projects. Truth is, the "new" GeForce 9600 GSO is actually an 8800 GS, which itself is a stripped down version of the 8800 GT, which in turn has also been rebadged as the new 9800 GT.

Confused yet? Anyhow, this brings NVIDIA's mid-range GPU count to four - the GeForce 9500 GT, 9600 GSO, 9600 GT and 9800 GT. Something for everybody, or a case of senseless product cannibalism? Well, we'll soon find out with today's test subject - the XFX GeForce 9600 GSO XXX Edition.

In case you are not familiar with the 9600 GSO, and not many are, considering the short lifespan of the 8800 GS, let's us now talk you through this reintroduced GPU. Positioned as a counter to ATI's Radeon HD 4670, it has, at its heart, the same G92 core found on a GeForce 8800 GT and 9800 GT, only that it is rather terribly stripped down. For starters, instead of 112 stream processors, it gets only 96. And in terms of memory bandwidth, it has a 192-bit memory bus as compared to the GeForce 8800 GT's 256.

Clock speeds have not been spared either, as the 9600 GSO is clocked at only 550MHz for the core, 1600MHz for the memory and 1375MHz for the shaders, compared to the GeForce 8800 GT's 600MHz/1800MHz/1500MHz. With that said, let's us look at how it compares with the competition.

Model NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GS0 384MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT 256/512MB ATI Radeon HD 3850 256MB
Core Code G92 RV730 G94 G96 RV670
Transistor Count 754 million 514 million 505 million 314 million 666 million
Manufacturing Process (in nm) 65 55 65/55 65/55 55
Core Clock 550MHz 750MHz 650MHz 550MHz 670MHz
Stream Processors 96 Stream Processors 64 Shader processors consisting of 320 Stream Processing units 64 Stream Processors 32 Stream Processors 64 Shader processors consisting of 320 Stream Processing units
Stream Processor Clock 1375MHz 750MHz 1625MHz 1400MHz 670MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units 48 16 32 16 16
Raster Operator units (ROP) 12 8 16 8 16
Memory Clock 1600MHz GDDR3 2000MHz GDDR3/DDR3 1800MHz GDDR3 1600MHz GDDR3 or 1000MHz GDDR2 1660MHz GDDR3
DDR Memory Bus 192-bit 128-bit 256-bit 128-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 38.4GB/s 32.0GB/s 57.6GB/s 25.6GB/s (GDDR3) 16.0GB/s (GDDR2) 53.1GB/s
PCI Express Interface PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16
Molex Power Connectors Yes No Yes No Yes
Multi GPU Technology Yes (SLI) Yes (CrossFireX) Yes (SLI) Yes (SLI) Yes (CrossFire)
DVI Output Support 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDCP Output Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Street Price ~US$100 US$79 ~US$110 - 130 ~US$70 - 89 ~US$100 - 130