|Palit GeForce 9600 GT 1GB Sonic NE/960TSX0202|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 30 May 2008|
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3DMark06 Benchmark Results
3DMark is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.
3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.
Here at Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, I believe 3DMark is a very reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.
Low-resolution testing allows the graphics processor to plateau maximum output performance, which thereby shifts demand onto the system components. At the lower resolutions 3DMark will reflect the GPU's top-end speed in the composite score, indicating full-throttle performance with little load. This makes for a less GPU-dependant test environment, is helpful in measuring the maximum output performance in the test results.
Using a 1024x768 resolution as a starting point, the maximum settings were applied which for these tests includes 8x Anti-Aliasing and 16x Anisotropic Filtering. Without question the GeForce 9800 GX2 outperforms every other competitor by a great margin of difference, as it should for a video card housing two G92 GPU's. But let's focus on the GeForce 9600 GT at the other end of the spectrum, since it costs a fraction of the price.
This was the first test we ran on the 9600 GT, and it came as a surprise to see the 1GB Sonic outperform the older 8800 GTS in both tests. The SM 2.0 score of 3861 was significantly better than the highly-overlclocked XFX 8800 GS Alpha Dog edition, and just a few points higher than the grossly-overclocked Foxconn 8800 GTS. Still, the 9600 GT was outperformed by the ZOTAC GeForce 8800 GT 512MB AMP! Edition with a score of 4346. Despite 75% fewer processor cores, it was impressive to see the Palite 9600 GT come within 11% of the most overclocked 8800 GT available.
Bumping the GPU strain up a notch with 1280x1024 resolutions the scores remain relatively comparable in terms of performance ratio. Once again, the GeForce 9800 GX2 completely annihilates the competition with major-GPU muscle, but the rest of the pack still manages to keep up the pace with decent results.
The Palit 9600 GT Sonic edition maintains the same general performance ratio behind the heavy-hitters, and still largely outperformed the 8800 GS in the SM 3.0 tests. The ZOTAC GeForce 8800 GT 512MB AMP! Edition video card kept ahead of the 9600 GT by 13% in the HDR/SM 3.0 tests.
While the entire G90-series GPU is PCI Express 2.0 compatible, the older G80-based GPU's are not. There doesn't seem to be any immediate advantage shown in our tests using the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard.
Finishing up the series of synthetic benchmark tests under heavy load, the Palit 9600 GT easily defeats the XFX 8800 GS Alpha Dog edition and overclocked Foxconn 8800 GTS video cards in shader model 2.0 testing. On the other hand, ZOTAC's 8800 GT AMP! Edition video card showed a prevailing strength against the aging GeForce 8800 GTS and was behind the GTX family by only 2%. In these 1600x1200 tests the Sonic 1GB 9600 GT just couldn't match the power of an AMP!'ed GT, but in the big picture it came within 18% of the 8800 GTX in the shader model 2.0 tests.
Already, things are beginning to look pretty good for the unique 9600 GT. If you take the 3DMark06 tests at face value, the 9600 GT easliy outperforms the 8800 GS and GTS, and comes within reach of the other much more expensive competitors. Since the 8800 GT we use for testing is outrageously overclocked, it stands to reason that the Sonic 9600 GT would compare equally against a reference version of the 8800 GT. But in our next section we begin real-world testing on a cadre of popular video games known for taxing the graphics processor, and this lineup might change. Our first up is Crysis, so please continue on...