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11 March 2008

GeForce 9600 GT vs Radeon HD 3850

Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT vs AMD Radeon HD 3850

The first card in the GeForce 9 series finally arrived. It it set to replace its predecessor, the 8600GT/GTS and to compete with AMD's Radeon HD 3850 at the same price point. To control cost, Nvidia developed the G94 core, natively equipped with 64 shaders. In this extract of the original review, we shall look at how this mid-range offering would perform against the HD3850.

Leadtek WinFast PX9600GT (non-extreme):
Comes with a reference cooler very similar to those used on the 8800GT.

Specification Comparison:

The HD 3850 is clocked lower than a HD 3870;
use slower GDDR3 instead of GDDR4.

GPU-Z screenshot

The card is overclocked using Rivatuner (2.06)

Before: (Core/Memory/Shader) 650/900/1625
After: (Core/Memory/Shader) 770/1050/1875

Test Platform:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 @ 3.5Ghz
Asus P5E Deluxe (X38)
Geil Ultra DDR2-800 2x1Gb
Seagate 320GB 7200.10 SATA

Leadtek PX9600 GT 512MB on Forceware 174.12
AMD Radeon HD 3850 512MB on Catalyst 8.2

Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit + DirectX 10

Test Result:

3DMark06 running @ default settings

3DMark06 running @ 1600x1200 with 4xAA+16xAF

Crysis @ 1280x1024 High settings

Crysis @ 1600x1200 Very High settings

Company of Heroes @ 1280x1024 High settings

Company of Heroes @ 1600x1200 Ultra High settings + 4xAA

World in Conflict @ 1280x1024 High 2xAA+4xAF

World in Conflict @ 1600x1200 High 4xAA+4xAF

Supreme Commander @ 1280x1024 High

Supreme Commander @ 1600x1200 High 4xAA

Quake 4 @ 1280x1024 High

Quake 4 @ 1600x1200 Very High + 4xAA


The maximum core temperature is measured after 5 looped runs on 3DMark06's Return to Proxycon. The temperature is very well controlled at 49C.

Some unnecessary background applications are closed.
The temperature is measured after being left idle for 20min.

In Company of Heroes and Crysis, the performance of both cards were on par. The OpenGL based Quake 4 performed better with HD 3850. Other than that, 9600 GT is able to beat the Radeon in other games and benchmark. I will definitely recommend this card to the mid-range buyers.

So how would AMD respond to this? Are they going to come out with something new? Or simply continue cutting prices? We shall see...

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