ATI vs. NVIDIA Once Again: 4670 vs 9500 GT & 9600 GSO

Now we get into the real competition. We're looking at AMD's newest mainstream card vs. NVIDIA's two latest entries into the sub $100 market. The 9600 GSO is just an 8800 GS. Though we didn't compare it here, the 9600 GT is priced right around $100 and offers performance a little better than the 9600 GSO. While we are comparing with the 9500 GT here, it will become quickly apparent that the card doesn't even come close to competing with the 4670.

For our medium quality Crysis test, the 4670 seems framelimited at about 60 here, while the 9600 GSO seems to push past the 60 fps barrier. At 1280x1024 and above, the 4670 leads the pack by a small margin in this benchmark.

Enemy Territory with 4xAA enabled shows a huge advantage for the 4670 over NVIDIA's more expensive 9600 GSO. Even so, the NVIDIA cards remain playable at 1280x1024, so the practical advantage is a little decreased until we get to 1680x1050.

Once again Oblivion offers us a role reversal when AA is enabled. Without AA, the 4670 falls behind above 1024x768, while it pulls a little ahead when 4xAA is enabled. Again, the 4670 and 9600 GSO are playable at 1280x1024 with AA, and might both be passable at 1680x1050 as well (Oblivion is a game that still offers a good experience at anything above 25 fps).


The 9600 GSO maintains a steady ~10% lead over the 4670 in Age of Conan. This is quite an interesting benchmark for NVIDIA to lead considering how handily they are clobbered at higher price points by the 4850 and 4870.

Performance in GRID is nearly identical between the 4670 and 9600 GSO.


Throw AA in there and we see a little separation trying to happen, but the 9600 GSO actually does keep up at lower resolutions with AA.

For The Witcher, while the 4670 leads at lower resolutions, performance converges at higher res. Both are playable at 1280x1024. We wanted to test AA in this one, but it is sort of difficult as the game limits the ability to enable AA based on framebuffer sizes; thus we couldn't enable 4xAA past 1024x768 on the 9600 GSO.

When we hit high quality Crysis, the 4670 leads.

And the lead just gets bigger if we look at medium quality (high quality shaders) with 4xAA enabled. The 4670 is borderline playable in this situation at 1280x1024 while the 9600 GSO falls way short.

Radeon HD 4670 vs. Last Year's $200 Offerings: The 3870/3850 Revisited What You Get for Your Money: 4870 vs 4850 vs 4670


View All Comments

  • UNCjigga - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    On top of that, the 4650/4670 appears to be the perfect choice for SFF and HTPC builders. The low power requirements and lack of PCIe power connector make it perfect for sub-400 watt power supplies. Other reviews around the web have mentioned that the fan on the reference card is very quiet. I wouldn't be surprised to see a fanless "silent" option for the 4650 soon.

    I'll probably put one of these in my Shuttle xpc, as it seems more than capable of 720p gaming.
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    I'm with Derrick here, and would rather have an NV 9600GT. That is actually what I own now(an eVGA double slot 9600GT with rear exhaust). It uses about 18W more idle, 20-25W more while gaming, and it is roughly twice as fast as my old 7600GT. Above measured with a kill a watt power monitoring device at the wall.

    I guess that the better experiences I have had with NV parts,and the fact that I have owned mostly NV parts in my personal systems(since at least the late 90's) has made me at least slightly partial. I must admit that this card does look tempting, and if I had not just bought a 9600GT, I would give it some consideration. One thing for sure though, what ever I bought from this side of the camp *would* have to be made by Sapphire . . .
  • derek85 - Saturday, September 13, 2008 - link

    There is also another factor to consider. HD4670 does not require any external 6/8pin PCIE power connectors, which makes it more ideal for people with older or OEM power supplies. Otherwise I agree with you on this that 9600GT is still a very viable and competitive alternative. Reply
  • scruffypup - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    The main issue I have,.. you used a price for the 3870 that is about 1 year old now,.. $199 which a casual reader would then infer that the 3870 is a worse price/performance pick,... if you are going to use september 2008 prices for the other cards,.. use September 2008 prices for the 3870 so you can paint the picture on a more level playing field. That adds to the reader's ability to see what price/performance to choose from.

    Otherwise, my feelings are, at least we have some benchmarks for this card. I am a bit disappointed since it is so pared down from the 4850/4870 in areas, which makes it unable to really compete in some ways with prior generation for similar price.
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    in the text of the article i mention that you can find the 3870 for ~150 ... which reflected the majority of what i saw on google yesterday.

    today i took a look and i can now find plenty of 3870 hardware for ~$120. which is much closer to the $100 price of the 9600 GT.

    But I'd still pick a 9600 GT over a 3870 at those prices, so it really doesn't change the recommendation.
  • pattycake0147 - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Call me blind but I read through the article twice and I didn't once see a $150 price point mentioned for the 3870. If I just missed it point it out to me please. Reply
  • pattycake0147 - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    While you're at it go ahead and take a look at this. As you mentioned in the article, shop around.">
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    I've gone ahead and added a "Current Street Price" line to the table to help put things in perspective. Prices at the time of writing were grabbed from Newegg. Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Any overclocking potential on this card? Reply
  • AssBall - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    I would also be interested in this, as my 3850 seems to overclock nicely, and 10% more performance out of a budget card is very nice if you can swing it. Reply

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