MSI N9600GT Hybrid Freezer Graphics Card

MSI is upping the ante once again with a new 9600GT carrying a Hybrid Freezer. We find out what it Is exactly.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Jun 5 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Manufacturer: none

Introduction





As horrible looking as the MSI cooler on the 9600GT is, there's no denying that it does a fantastic job of cooling the core. It seems that MSI has decided to kick it up a notch with a new cooler named Hybrid Freezer.

It's always nice to see companies mix it up with new coolers, and the Hybrid Freezer seems to have some pretty cool technology behind it. It makes sense that they're installing it on the popular 9600GT series of card, and in this case MSI has decided to install it on a card carrying with it 1GB of GDDR3 memory for added appeal.

While we've looked at so many 9600GTs, you have to admit that we've seen such a huge variety of different models; some excellent clocks, some excellent connectivity and some pretty funky aftermarket coolers.

Today we add another to the pile and find out if the cooler on the new MSI 9600GT is able to stand out from the pack. Considering the MSI cooler we've seen before is one of the best as far as performance goes, it seems that the Hybrid Freezer's ultimate competition is from the same manufacturer.

Let's check out the box and see what's going on there before we get stuck into the card.

The Package




While we have a pretty standard layout, the design has been upped and follows a blue and black theme across the box. The front of the box has a big picture of the cooler and all the standard information you're used to seeing. Across the top we have the company logo and to the right of that we have some NVIDIA logos.



Towards the middle we have a reflective Hybrid Freezer logo that stands out; under that we have the model and below that we have a bit of a blurb on the cooler itself. We top it off with some of the main features of the card along with the mention that it's an overclocked model down the very bottom.



Turning the box over, we have a lot of information on the actual card, specifically what the cooler is and how it works. We have some of the main features below that along with little bits of other information over the box.



Diving inside the box, we have two quick user guides and a driver CD that also carries with it a few extra utilities.



The cable department is a bit more full on; a Component/S-Video Dongle, S-Video Cable, Molex to PCI-E convertor, DVI to VGA connector, HDMI loop back cable and a DVI to HDMI adapter.

The Card




Pulling the card out of the box and you instantly notice the cooler and just how funky it looks. Like most coolers these days, it takes up the majority of the card and you can see the copper heat pipes coming out the bottom and moving up through the aluminum fins.



One of the stand-out points, though, would have to be the grill over the fan in the middle which just looks great. We also have a wealth of information on the cooler, again explaining what it does along with the brand, model and Hybrid Freezer branding.





While the card does use a funky red PCB, the overall design is very standard with a our PCI Express power connecter located at the back of the card along with our SLI connector and audio loop back port located at the top of the card.



Finally we find ourselves looking down the barrel of a pair of Dual Link DVI connectors and a single TV-Out port. No real surprise here that the card is of course a dual slot one, thanks to the big aftermarket cooler.


Specifications

We actually received this card before it hit the mainstream market, so at the moment it carries with it just the default clocks; these are a 650MHz core, 1625MHz shader and 1800MHz DDR memory clock. By the time the product does hit the retail market, it will have an overclock in place.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1
Drivers: Catalyst 8.5, Forceware 175.16 (9 Series), Forceware 169.25 (8 Series)


Since silent cards are the hot topic at the moment, we will check out the MSI 9600GT 1GB against the heavily overclocked GIGABYTE Heat-Pipe offering and the Heat-Pipe HD 3870 from Sapphire.


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.




With the stock clocks on the 9600GT from MSI, we can see it sits back a fair bit when compared to the overclocked GIGABYTE one.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.






At the higher resolution we see the MSI 9600GT is able to outperform the HD 3870 from Sapphire. Again it comes as no surprise as to the performance from the overclocked GIGABYTE 9600GT.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




Under CINEBENCH we can see the extra RAM does very little for the card with it sitting at the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.






In our first real world game we can see the 9600GT from MSI is again able to outperform the HD 3870 from Sapphire.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here





From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.




Firing up Crysis, we can see that the MSI 9600GT does sit at the back of the pack while the HD 3870 actually comes out ahead.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




UT3 sees the stock clocked MSI 9600GT 1GB sitting at the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06



With AA and AF on we can see the stock clocked 9600GT from MSI being able to outperform the Sapphire HD 3870.


World In Conflict





We again see with AA and AF enabled the HD 3870 takes a big hit and the 9600GT stock clocked offering from MSI is able to outperform it.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




With Vista out the way, it's time to check out XP. We can again see that the stock clocked 9600GT does sit a little behind at the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




We again see that even under XP the MSI 9600GT CINEBENCH performance falls to the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





Back to WIC and we see at the higher resolution the MSI 9600GT Hybrid Freezer being able to outperform the HD 3870 from Sapphire.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




Moving to UT3; we can see that the MSI 9600GT is able to come out ahead of the HD 3870 at the lowest and highest resolution, with the two cards sitting about 8% apart at the middle resolution.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.




What was interesting over the whole testing phase is that even under load the fan never spun up and it was still able to put out a very decent temperature. The heat pipe design alone is very good from the Hybrid Freezer.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




While the GIGABYTE card does manage to idle lower, under full load the MSI 9600GT used significantly less juice.

Final Thoughts




Since the card isn't really of final specification, we won't give it a rating. But we have to admit that the Hybrid Freezer technology MSI has on offer is looking pretty impressive. The cooler alone looks very cool and the design on a whole seems excellent. Hopefully it's something we see more of in the MSI design.

Before we ramble on about all the great features of the card, the choice to currently restrict the cooler to the 1GB model is a bit disappointing. While it's good the option is there at all, the decision to place it on the 512MB model will represent better value for money. The 9600GT is an excellent performing card, but in all fairness it really isn't up there with the likes of some of the higher end models that are actually able to make use of the extra memory on board.

With that said though, we can understand why MSI has the cooler on the 1GB model. It doesn't matter that the performance increase is really non-existent, people just like to say that they have 1GB of graphics card memory on hand.

The main thing I can't get over however is the look of the cooler; it's simply awesome with everything looking great, from the mesh over the fan to the plastic that covers the fins. We would have liked to have heard the fan spin up just to see what its noise levels are like, but we're not exactly going to complain about the fact that under all the benchmarks we threw at it the fan didn't once have the need to spin up.

Now we just have to hope that MSI go for a decent overclock, which we're sure they will if past experience is anything to go by. The current crop of 9600GT OC cards from MSI come with a 700MHz core and 1900MHz DDR memory clock. Hopefully we see at least 2000MHz DDR on the memory clock with this new model, and maybe another 20MHz on the core to really make the card stand out.

Hopefully we see more cards in the MSI family pick up on the Hybrid Freezer technology soon, because it really has the ability to impress.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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