When it comes to buying a Radeon 9800 XT graphics card, there is little to no difference in performance from one card to the next. The things you need to pay special attention to is the included packages and warranty and support from the manufacturer you are choosing. The ABIT 9800 XT is nothing very special but on the same token, it doesn't really need to be.
ABIT provided us with a graphics card which worked as expected and didn't cause us any problems with stability. The package includes all the cables we need to make full use of the card as well as a voucher to download the full version of Half Life 2 when it is released by Valve.
Then we come to the 9600 XT VIO from ABIT. When we first started testing we didn't think too much of this card since the clock speeds were clocked a little under standard. At first it didn't shine. Then, as you just saw, the overclockability of the core showed class reaching around 40MHz higher on the core than the Power Color Bravo. If only ABIT decided to use the 50MHz quicker Samsung BGA memory that Power Color use, ABIT would have had a complete winner on their hands for the enthusiast folks in the market - especially if we saw the relative success of overclocking the memory, as the core. Maybe in future revisions we might (hopefully) see ABIT choose to go with the higher MHz rated G-DDR memory from Samsung. Do keep in mind though that the ABIT 9600 XT does have 128MB more memory than the Power Color Bravo but as we saw, it didn't seem to provide any extra performance. Maybe ABIT would have been better off including only 128MB and faster and more expensive memory chips.
Like the package of the ABIT 9800 XT, the package of the 9600 XT VIO from ABIT is fairly slim but being a VIVO card it does include all the necessary AV cables for outputting your computer display to a TV and so on. The ABIT 9600 XT does look quite attractive when in action with its blue LED emitting light from the fan and does provide good performance when overclocked.
We have no problems recommending either ABIT 9800 XT or 9600 XT to you. Before you choose a graphics card make sure you do your research first and work out which will be most affordable and the best value for your money. You may be best holding off a few weeks before buying a 9800 XT or 9600 XT as next generation ATI and nVidia cards are just about ready to hit the market place.
VIVO on 9600 XT
Impressive core overclock on 9600 XT
Blue LED glow on 9600 XT, stylish looking card
Small package, no games included
9800 XT retails quite a bit higher than others
Faster memory could have been used on 9600 XT
Combined Rating - 8.5 out of 10
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