Today we have news to share as NVIDIA is launching its first Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) based on the GeForce 9 Series - the GeForce 9600 GT. Building on the success of the unified architecture present on the GeForce 8, the GeForce 9 Series features enhanced compression technology, which reduces the amount of data that passes through the memory bus. Graphics cards with the GeForce 9600 GT are targeted at the mainstream segment with a suggested price between $169 and $189.
NVIDIA has traditionally debuted new GPUs with a high-end offering, but there are a number of reasons why they chose to launch a new product line with a mid-range GPU. The most sensible is to fill a gap between the GeForce 8800 GT and GeForce 8600 GT to better compete with the Radeon HD 3850.
The GeForce 9600 GT also represents the first mainstream GPU from NVIDIA that launched with a 256-bit memory bus. Although the mainstream GeForce 7900 GT launched with a 256-bit memory bus, which is a key factor in overall 3D graphics performance, that GPU was near the end of a product cycle.
EVGA's E-GEFORCE 9600 GT SSC
In support of today's launch EVGA provided us with their e-GeForce 9600 GT SSC graphics card for evaluation. The product and accessories are packaged in an eye-catching orange colored box that features a gold ribbon touting EVGA as the number one seller of NVIDIA based products in the U.S.
The graphics card is protected in a sturdy plastic enclosure and includes the typical accessories - a 6-pin PCI-E power cable, two DVI-to-VGA adapters, HDTV and S-Video cables, a couple of case stickers, a user's guide and a driver installation CD with trial software.
Reference specifications of the GeForce 9600 GT consist of a core clock speed of 650MHz, a 1,625MHz shader clock, and memory clocked at 900MHz or 1,800MHz effective. The GPU has 64 stream processors that interface with 512MB of GDDR3 memory across a 256-bit memory bus.
Based on the GPU-Z report, we find that the core of EVGA's SSC model is highly overclocked at 740MHz, while the shader and memory are moderately overclocked at 1835MHz and 975MHz respectively.