|Foxconn GeForce 9500 GT G96 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 15 August 2008|
Page 11 of 12
NVIDIA G96 Final Thoughts
Perhaps I am a little jaded, having spent the past few months reviewing top-level powerhouse product from NVIDIA, but I find myself unimpressed by the G96 graphics processor. I understand that it's not intended to be compared with or compete against products like the GeForce 9800 GTX or Radeon HD 4850, since it's a sub-$100 product. No really, I get that. But what I don't fully understand is why it gets associated with the GeForce family at all, or receive a series designation like 9500 or GT. This is not what I consider progress, and 32 stream processors for a GPU launched in Q2 2008 is a far distance from the 240 cores of the GeForce GTX 280 launched months earlier.
Bare with me here, because I'm not driving off topic with any of this. Keeping in mind that this is an entry-level GPU, I have to imagine who will use it. Not to put all of the blame on NVIDIA, since they do intend the 9500 series to accommodate HDMI, but shouldn't they make it a necessity? Nobody that spends $100 for the GeForce 9500 GT is going to do it for the sake of video game frame rates; they'll be doing it to occupy the PCI-Express slot of their modern day motherboard with a multimedia capable graphics card. So since home theater and multimedia are what the 9500 series is all about, then someone should start including those add-in card partner extra's like DisplayPort and native HDMI interfaces. Palit has done it with their Palit GeForce 9600 GT 1GB Sonic NE/960TSX0202, so there's no reason not to make it standard.
So now we've established that this is a graphics card bound for HTPC's and multimedia PC's, let's talk about the other side of the coin: gaming. If you're the low-demand gamer who doesn't use high resolution displays or enable post process effects such as anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering, then the 9500 series is probably going to suit you. But if you'll notice from the tests, the overclocked G96 didn't exactly push out frames even when the system demands were at their lowest. This leaves my feelings well reserved on the G96, since NVIDIA did give it the name GeForce 9500 GT.
Of course NVIDIA would like to argue that it's a DirectX 10 capable video card, but I challenge them to operate any DirectX 10 application with the G96 and deliver satisfactory frame rates. It's not going to happen. Games will work with the 9500 series, but only for the bottom rung of titles that have very light 3D demands. First Person Shooters are out of reach, but RTS and the like are fair game. I suppose it wouldn't be fair to ignore that NVIDIA offers SLI with the G96, which means that for the price of two GeForce 9500 GT graphic cards you can equal about half the performance of another video card like the GeForce 9800 GTX. That's not my idea of progress.
Please continue on to my conclusion of the Foxconn 9500GT-256FR3, where I bash the G96 a little more for being the little GPU that couldn't and give it a score that only ATI could love.