I have taken a little different approach to the tests run in this article. While we have looked at different mid-range video boards in the past, I wanted to tackle the question of how well it performs against the upper echelon of video card. Yes, I fully expect the 9600XT to lose every test run, but the question is to see by what margin it finishes behind. This will show us what kind of performance we can expect while still saving well over half the purchase price of the big boys.
That said, our tests will compare the 9600XT against both the 9700 Pro and the 9800 Pro video boards. Since we want to figure out whether we can game with a lower priced card, what better way than to see how the top runners perform against the mid-range newcomer?
One final note: Testing results show this 9600XT board to be roughly 8.5% faster than the older 9500 Pro and 11% faster than the venerable nVidia Ti4200. Though these tests do not make a direct comparison between the other mid-range boards still commonly used, I wanted to make sure you knew the 9600XT still outperforms these other comparable models.
Before we delve into a bunch of test results, lets take a look at the system we used for the comparison:
Motherboard: Soltek 75MRN-L (Supplied by Soltek)
Processor: Athlon XP @ 2034MHz
Memory: 2x 256MB OCZ Platinum PC3500 DDR (Supplied by OCZ)
Hard Drive: Western Digital 80GB "SE"
Operating System: Windows XP Pro w/ SP1
Software Used: 3DMark2001SE, 3DMark03, Quake III Arena, Code Creatures
I decided to use a couple of older benchmarks and a couple of newer ones to give a more rounded view of the performance level when compared to the higher end boards. All system settings were identical for the testing phase and ambient temperatures were also the same.
Also of note is the fact that I wanted to see how these boards compared at different resolutions. I ran all of the standard battery of tests at resolutions of 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200. Color depth was set to 32-bit for all tests to keep things on the same level throughout testing. I decided to stay away from ultra-low settings since it is unlikely that we would even think of really playing a game at this low level of performance. After all, why chuck out good money for a video board and then play it at settings that were popular five years ago?
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