When the Smoke Clears & Prices Settle: GeForce 9600 GT vs. Radeon HD 3870by Anand Lal Shimpi on February 22, 2008 12:00 AM EST
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Yesterday saw the introduction of NVIDIA’s GeForce 9 series of GPUs, starting with the GeForce 9600 GT. Carrying a MSRP of $169 - $189, the GeForce 9600 GT was designed to fill a void in NVIDIA’s product lineup. The GeForce 8600, NVIDIA’s original sub-$200 competitor was being sorely beaten by AMD’s Radeon HD 3850. The GeForce 9600 GT was introduced to rectify the situation.
Had the world remained the same, the GeForce 9600 GT would have competed with and done a good job of destroying the Radeon HD 3850. However, AMD didn’t remain still and quietly reduced the prices of its Radeon HD 3800 series GPUs in the channel. The GeForce 9600 GT no longer was a competitor of the Radeon HD 3850, but rather up against the 3870.
A 256MB Radeon HD 3850 will set you back around $150, while the 512MB models are $170 parts. Stock clocked GeForce 9600 GTs are doing a good job of hovering right at $179.99, while factory overclocked cards will set you back closer to $200. The Radeon HD 3870 has now dropped to below $200 and we even found one for about the same price as a 9600 GT. The table below is a small sample of what we found at some popular e-tailers:
|Vendor||ATI Radeon HD 3870||NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT||eVGA GeForce 9600 GT SSC|
On average the Radeon HD 3870 is more expensive than the GeForce 9600 GT. If you look at absolute lowest pricing, the Radeon is within $5 of the 9600 GT, making these two competitors.
Given the most recent pricing data, we took a closer look at Radeon HD 3870 vs. GeForce 9600 GT performance. Our testbed remained identical to what we used in our launch article, we’ve merely added a few more game tests. We stuck to a single resolution per title, so for resolution scaling have a look back at our original GeForce 9600 GT review.
|CPU:||2 x Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 (3.2GHz/1600MHz)
|Motherboard:||Intel D5400XS (Intel 5400)|
|Chipset Drivers:||Intel 188.8.131.520 (Intel)|
|Hard Disk:||Seagate 7200.9 300GB SATA|
|Memory:||2 x 2GB Micron FB-DIMM DDR2-8800
|Video Card:||ATI Radeon HD 3870
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT
EVGA NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT SSC
|Video Drivers:||ATI: Catalyst 8.2
|Desktop Resolution:||1920 x 1200|
|OS:||Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit|
Game Test Settings
|Bioshock||1600 x 1200||0X||1X||Highest in-game|
|Call of Duty 4||1600 x 1200||0X||16X||Highest in-game|
|Crysis||1600 x 1200||0X||1X||
High Quality defaults
|ET: Quake Wars||1600 x 1200||0X||16X||Highest in-game|
|ET: Quake Wars||1600 x 1200||4X||16X||Highest in-game|
|Half Life 2: Episode Two||2560 x 1600||0X||16X||Highest in-game|
|Half Life 2: Episode Two||2560 x 1600||4X||16X||Highest in-game|
|Oblivion||1600 x 1200||0X||16X||Ultra High Quality defaults|
|Oblivion||1600 x 1200||4X||16X||Ultra High Quality defaults|
|S.T.A.L.K.E.R.||1600 x 1200||0X||16X||Highest in-game|
|Unreal Tournament 3||2560 x 1600||0X||16X||Highest in-game|
|World in Conflict||1600 x 1200||0X||0X||Medium Quality defaults (with Heat Haze, Debris Physics and DX10 Enabled)|