|Palit GeForce 9600 GT 1GB Sonic NE/960TSX0202|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 30 May 2008|
Page 12 of 13
GeForce 9600 GT Final Thoughts
It's never easy to hit the consumer "sweet spot". On paper the G94 GPU fits exactly where it should: between the 8800 GT and 8600 GTS. But with half of its physical cores disabled, I begin to suspect that there is only so much to be done for performance before you have to either fish or cut bait. While I admire that Palit could take the G94 up to 700 MHz, part of me wonders if it was made easier because of the disabled cores. Equally impressive is the incredibly high shader clock speed of 1750 MHz, which certainly managed to show they could hold their own weight against fully-enabled video cards. But the one item that the Sonic 9600 GT touts is the very same item that concerns me: the 1 GB video frame buffer.
Keeping in mind that I write these articles with a middle-of-the-road voice, I understand that there are readers that occupy the most technical understanding to the novice who is brand new to this industry. So it's sometimes very difficult to explain away a product feature and expect both sides to understand my perspective... but I do my best. With regards to the 1 GB frame buffer that Palit equips the GeForce 9600 GT Sonic Edition, there are several different angles to consider.
At one end of the spectrum, you have a reduced number of cores operating at a dramatically increased speed. This would lead you to believe that an 'oversized' video memory falls in-line with the rest of the card; or rather that it has the extra vRAM because it's so much faster elsewhere. I tend to think of this the same way as someone who puts huge monster-truck sized tires on their pickup truck. If that truck is running with a V-8 engine, that's one thing, but the 9600 GT is more like a Honda V-TEC 4-cylinder.
On the other end, you must consider the future of video games. While there are very few games that utilize more than 512 MB of video buffer, there are presently none that can take advantage of 1024 MB (1 GB). This doesn't mean that there will never be, because at the NVIDIA Editors Day 2008 event a few weeks ago I witnessed several games that might challenge this notion. So presuming that video games might make use of a 1 GB frame buffer, will it be within this products lifetime and would this product show any advantage? Just more angles to consider, and more questions raised.
But even still, let's pretend you're already using an G80-based 8800 series graphics card; because there are some additional benefits worth considering. To begin with, you're not going to enjoy games such as Crysis, which made a clear distinction between generations. But beyond gaming, you may also be unprepared for that day in the near future when DirectX 10.1 (or the upcoming DX11) resides on your operating system. Finally, there's the potential for using this HDMI-ready solution for something other than video games - such as a home theater PC. There's a longer list of reasons to support the justification in replacing an older G80 video card with the 9600 GT; even beyond using it inside an HTPC for your home theater.