Features of Radeon 9600 XT
Let's take a quick look at some of the main features of the Radeon 9600 XT.
- The Core
The core of the Radeon 9600 XT is based on the same RV350 core as the Radeon 9600, with a few adjustments (or "tweaks", as we call them around this place) to help gather more performance from the already effective chip. While this VPU was on the market for around six months, in that time TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) and ATI put their thinking caps on and were able to yield additional speed from the chip, now known as the RV360, by improving on the 0.13 micron process and adding improved technology and better parts. This ultimately increased clock speeds attainable by reducing the amount of power required which in turn reduced the amount of heat the core generates, hence forth allowing for higher clock speeds. Perfect for when combating against competition, read: nVidia and their GeForce FX 5700 Ultra.
The process explained to us by ATI is very complex and only rocket scientists and the like will understand the methodology. Basically before the Radeon 9600 Pro even shipped back in May of this year, ATI were able to get 450MHz from the core (50MHz over) and with a little more work and new and more efficient materials in the core, they were easily able to reach 500MHz stable.
Our overclocking tests of the Radeon 9600 XT reference sample we have with stock standard cooling took us to a core speed of 553MHz stable, 53MHz or almost 11% over shipping speeds. This tells us that ATI are looking after their customers by not pushing the core to its absolute maximum and putting system stability into jeopardy. It also gives us overclockers some head way for a little bit of fun, which I dare say wouldn't have been left out of the equation by the masterminds at ATI and TSMC as the realization of the growing enthusiast market becomes truly apparent.
- Clock Speeds
Carrying on, with the introduction of the Radeon 9600 XT, ATI has increased core clock speeds with memory making no change. The core speed has been increased by 100MHz over the Radeon 9600 Pro from 400MHz to 500MHz as mentioned.
When you use the latest Catalyst drivers from ATI, you have a feature called "OVERDRIVE" which monitors the graphics card and automatically increases the core clock speed up to around 523MHz and sometimes a tad higher when needed (mostly in demanding games) and depending on if the card is operating over a certain temperature. This is the same type of intelligent technology as many motherboard manufacturers are beginning to do, such as MSI with Core Cell which increases processor FSB and so forth.
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