NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT vs. ATI Radeon HD 3870

Across 9 games and 12 benchmarks the Radeon HD 3870 and the GeForce 9600 GT trade blows. If you want specifics, the 3870 wins 7 benchmarks while the 9600 GT wins 5. However, whenever the 9600 GT manages a win it is usually by a larger margin - an average of 24% across our benchmarks compared to a 9.9% average margin of victory for the Radeon HD 3870.

The 9600 GT's average margin of victory in the games it does well in is so great mainly because of two titles: Quake Wars and Call of Duty 4. The strange thing is that we've seen ATI GPUs do better in both games, only to see performance go down in the last driver update. Quake Wars also recently got updated to the 1.5 patch so it's possible that the new patch also slowed things down for the Radeon HD 3870, but we suspect that both of these performance outliers are driver related and can be remedied. If ATI could achieve performance parity in these two titles that would reduce the 9600 GT's average margin of victory to 8.9%, very close to the 3870's current advantage in the benchmarks it does win.

However we must recommend based on presently available data, and right now it looks like the GeForce 9600 GT is the better buy. It's cheaper than the Radeon HD 3870 and offers a better overall performance case thanks to its larger margin of victory when it comes ahead in a game.

If you look at the cheapest available Radeon HD 3870 ($184.99 from Newegg) then the 9600 GT price advantage all but disappears, and if you don't play Quake Wars or CoD4 then the 3870 ends up being just as good of an option as the 9600 GT.

Index The Value in Overclocking: EVGA’s 9600 GT SSC
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  • qquizz - Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - link

    I am looking forward to this, "Next week we'll have a follow-up looking at how the 9600 GT stacks up to the 512MB Radeon HD 3850 and the almighty 8800 GT 512."

  • Cenarius - Tuesday, March 4, 2008 - link

    Final sentence in review reads:
    "Next week we'll have a follow-up looking at how the 9600 GT stacks up to the 512MB Radeon HD 3850 and the almighty 8800 GT 512."

    Been checking daily, and now we're heading into the middle of the week AFTER next week, so where's the follow-up already? :-|
  • ufoall - Monday, March 3, 2008 - link

    may i know what will be the price after 2 months...
  • BenSkywalker - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    A quick comment-

    The 9600 GT makes the most sense at the $169 - $179 price range, and at those price points you're going to be dealing with stock clock speeds.

    The eVGA 675MHZ clock and MSI 700MHZ clocked part are both available from New Egg for 179.99. Obviously neither are clocked to 740 but the MSI part is closer to the SSC then stock and sits at the 'regular' MSRP.
  • Samus - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    Hard to believe you can have a card that play's Crysis this well for < $200.

    Crysis 1600x1200 at 40+FPS
  • Xajel - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    wonder why Anandtech didn't test both cards with overclocking in mind, I think it will be very intersting, and even the OC results for 9600GT was only compared in persentage to it self, I hope to see more detailed comparition for these two babies
  • dingetje - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    i agree, and i'm most interested in oc'ing results of the cards with non stock cooling and the faster memory installed (0.8 or 1 ns memory)
  • araczynski - Sunday, February 24, 2008 - link

    sounds to me like the smart money's on waiting for the 9800 series to come out and leaving this neutered dog for the OEM's to put into their systems and brag about.
  • strafejumper - Sunday, February 24, 2008 - link

    would like to see this new card compared to a 8800 GT 512MB in price, performance, and price/performance
  • solitude1951 - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    This is sorta off topic but it looks like a good place to get reliable info. I've got an old Dell 8400. It's got the 3.4 gig chip with raid on. Will my computer even run one of the cards being discussed. I can't afford a new computer but I need more speed. UT3 demo stutters at the lowest display settings. Any advice?

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