Fourteen days ago we introduced our brand new GPU test suite composed of a total of 18 games, and as shocking as it may be, we tested with more than first person shooters. Unfortunately we launched the new test suite on quite possibly the least important set of cards for such a suite – the ultra high end $500 solutions from ATI and NVIDIA. Ever since the release of the Radeon 9700 Pro we have not had a reason to recommend any $400+ card simply because none of today’s games truly need the kind of power offered by those cards. The Radeon 9700 Pro (and the modded Radeon 9500 Pro) was an excellent solution that could all of the games out at the time at extremely high resolutions, with antialiasing and anisotropic filtering enabled. It was the release of the Radeon 9700 Pro that forced us to start testing with 4X AA and 8X anisotropic filtering all over the place in order to truly stress the beast of a card.

Since the release of the Radeon 9700 Pro however, games have not become any more demanding. The titles that successors like the Radeon 9800 Pro and NVIDIA’s GeForce FX 5900 Ultra were built for, have still yet to be released. The battle between $500 cards will occur with titles like Doom 3 and Half Life 2, both of which won’t see the light until next year. This holiday season should bring a few more stressful DirectX 9 titles to our hard drives, but for the most part, we’ve found it silly to recommend purchasing any of the ultra expensive cards until a game you want to play comes out that requires $500 worth of GPU. Thus, for the most part, introducing a comparison of today’s most popular games did little more than expose driver bugs and show that a lot of games are CPU bound when you’re running a $500 card.

The real comparison starts today, but it won’t end until both ATI and NVIDIA’s cases have been made later this month. The comparison we have in front of us now is amongst much more affordable cards, and most definitely cards that you would buy for their performance in today’s games – not for their promise of sunny days tomorrow. The cards we’re talking about are aimed at that magic $200 price point and given that it’s the fall, it’s time for a refresh of the cards in this segment.

The Radeon 9600 XT is ATI’s $199 successor to the Radeon 9600 Pro and it is their fall refresh product for the mainstream market. Today Radeon 9600 XT will be paired up against NVIDIA’s GeForce FX 5600 Ultra, but later this month we will be able to bring you comparison of the 9600 XT and the new 5700 Ultra, which NVIDIA has been quite confident in as of late.

Before we get to the tests, let’s talk about what’s changed with the 9600 XT…

The definitive Fall Refresh
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  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    Before anyone else beats me to it,

    NVIDIA HAS FAILED

    sorry, just had to say it.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    #8 = Troll Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY GOT SUCH LOW SCORES ON THE GEFROCE FX 5600 ULTRA

    I BUILT COMPUTERS FOR A LIVING AND OFTEN BENCHMARK THESE SYSTEMS FOR MYSELF

    TAKE GUNMETAL FOR EXAMPLE
    THE 5600 ULTRA SCORED 14.5FPS

    ON A ATHLON XP 2600 KT400 DDR333 GEFORCE FX 5600 NON-ULTRA I GET 25FPS

    NOT TO MENTION I GET 47FPS ON A 5900

    HOW IS IT THAT WITH SUPERIOR HARDWARE THEY SCORED %40 LOWER?

    WHAT BULLSHIT IS THIS...
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    #4

    If we are talking about <$2.00 burritos, how about including some tacos? Does it make sense? Tacos are cheeper because of the hard, quite unedible shell. However, because a burrito can be warmed, the shell is of soft phsophate.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    How do you get an FPS rating from WarCraft 3? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    Enough of the speculation of when NVIDA products will come out. May I point you to a quote from the Radeon 9700 Pro review:
    "NV30 will be out around December"

    The product didn't actually make its way out until March, and even in limited volumes then.

    Telling people to wait on the 5700 Ultra doesn’t make much sense.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    If we are talking about <$200 cards, how about include the 9800se. It can be had for $170 and it seems like it would be a decent performer, especially if overclocked. Can we also include the 9800se (non-pro) in future reviews?
    thanks
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    As an owner of a Geforce 4 ti4200, I apreciate having it included in the lineup, as it shows me that unless I have the cash to dish out for a 9700+, it's not realy worth it :) Great review! Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    A 100Mhz increase in core clock frequency! The benifit of buying this card becomes apparent in future titles, not current ones. My guess is the gap between 9600XT and 9700 pro will close significantly in Half-Life2 or Doom3 =).

    I also truely hope the GeforceFX 5700 will beable to dish out more damage then the 5600. No fun buying from just one company.

    As for me, I doubt ill find a reason to upgrade my 9500pro for quite some time. Anyone who bought a card with the R3XX on it should not upgrade until DX10 comes out.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    bad link:

    page:
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=1904...
    says:
    Halo Performance but goes to Homeworld 2.
    Reply

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