ECS GeForce 9600GT Accelero 512MB

EliteGroup have chosen to spice up the 9600GT with a passive cooler from Arctic Cooling and also increased clockspeeds.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Mar 6 2008 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ELITEGROUP

Introduction





As the 9600GT cards continue to roll on in, we see lots of variants trying to stand out from the pack. The latest card to rock up in the labs is an offering from ECS that carries with it an Accelero S2 made by Arctic Cooling.

This isn't the first time we've seen the Accelero S2 cooler, though this is the first time that we've seen it in use on a 9600GT.

We'll have a look at exactly how ECS make use of the Accelero S2 today, and how it performs compared to a 9600GT from another vendor that we've seen previously. To make the card that little bit more exciting on top of the aftermarket cooler used, it also carries with it an increased core and memory clockrate; we'll go into more details of that a little later on in the review.

The Package




ECS have gone for a black and silver setup on the box which looks pretty good. The top of the box is covered with a picture, the brand along with some NVIDIA logos. Moving down, we have a picture of the Accelero S2 cooler and the model number below that.



Across the bottom of the box we have some of the main specifications along with mention that 512MB of GDDR3 memory and two Dual Link DVI connectors are part of the feature-set.



Turning the box over, we have some more details on the features of the 9600GT and a large section dedicated to talking about the Accelero S2 cooler that is included on the card.



Moving inside, we have a TV-out cable that goes to Component and S-Video. We also have the standard Molex to PCI E power connector and DVI to VGA connector. Also included is a DVI to HDMI adapter and a cable that connects between your graphics card and sound card so you can get audio out of the HDMI connector.



Diving a little further in, we have a standard multi-language user manual and a driver CD. ECS haven't opted to include a game, which isn't unusual for the company to be honest, and it seems the main advantage of the card is the integrated aftermarket cooler.

The Card




It doesn't come as any surprise to us that when you look at the card, the massive Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 cooler takes up the majority of the card. We can see the two copper pipes that come out of the heatsink and move throughout the fins.



When you pull the card out of the box there is a sticker that sits over the top of the cooler which continues to tell you about the features of the cooler along with a big warning that tells you to remove the sticker before installation.



Peaking around the card there isn't anything out of the ordinary with the PCI-E power connector sitting at the rear of the card.





Like all other 9600GT models, it also has with it a single SLI connector. The problem is that with the size of the cooler you can't actually make any use of it! - Just to the side of the cooler we have a little white connector that is used to carry the sound to the DVI port if you're making use of the DVI to HDMI connector.



Finally, we find ourselves at the I/O side of things; as usual there isn't anything out of the ordinary here. We have two Dual Link DVI connectors and a TV-Out port. While the card does take up two slots, it only uses the single backplate.


Specifications

While the normal 9600GT carries with it a 650MHz core clock, 1625MHz shader clock and 1800MHz DDR memory clock, you can see in the picture below that ECS has upped this.



The core has increased slightly to 680MHz, the shader clock has followed by going to 1728MHz and the memory gets a slight increase to 1850MHz DDR.

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
Drivers: Catalyst 8.2, Forceware 174.11 (9600GT Win XP), Forceware 171.16 (9600GT Win Vista)

We've compared the ECS 9600GT against the Galaxy 9600GT which is slightly lower on the core and a fair bit lower on the shader clock. The Galaxy memory clock does come in a little higher though.

We're also going to be having a look at it against the stock clocked HD 3870 from ASUS.


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.




Our first benchmark shows the ECS offering coming out ahead of the Galaxy one, though just trailing behind the stock clocked HD 3870.

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.






Under PT Boats we can see that the ECS 9600GT is able to come out ahead of both cards across the board.

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).




CINEBENCH shows all three cards 20 points within each other.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here





By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode Two opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode Two with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.




Source based Half Life 2 shows the HD 3870 coming out ahead at all resolutions. The ECS offering beats out the Galaxy at the higher resolution, but sits back a little bit at the lowest.

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.






We again see the ECS offering come out ahead of both the Galaxy and ASUS offerings.

Benchmarks - Enemy Territory: Quake Wars


Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Version
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.splashdamage.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.enemyterritory.com/





Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is the latest Quake incarnation to make it out of the iD labs and carries with it a fast paced experience that manages to place a good amount of strain on your graphics card.

We use a custom made time demo which shows a bit of everything and manages to give us a good solid benchmark for the graphics cards that we test.




The OpenGL based ET:QW puts the ECS 9600GT ahead of the Galaxy offering slightly, and about 10% ahead of the HD 3870 from ASUS.

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.




Crysis shows the ECS offering just ahead of the Galaxy, and a bit further ahead of the ASUS HD 3870.

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.




Under Unreal Tournament 3 we can see the 9600GT offerings ahead of the HD 3870 at the lower resolution, but as we move up we see the HD 3870 actually come out ahead.

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



Small gains are continued to be seen for the ECS 9600GT when compared to the Galaxy card. The HD 3870 takes a decent hit when AA and AF is turned on, which is no real surprise.


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)



Under Half Life 2: Episode 2 we can see that all the cards sit quite close together with the ECS coming out just ahead.


World In Conflict





With AA and AF turned on we again see the ECS come out ahead in World in Conflict. We can see the HD 3870 takes quite the hit again though.

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.




Moving to XP we see the ECS 9600GT beat the Galaxy out slightly once again, while the HD 3870 from ASUS manages to come out ahead at all resolutions.

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).




Under Windows XP we can actually see the cards separated a bit more in CINEBENCH with the ECS offering coming out at the top.

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.





We continue to see the ECS 9600GT come out ahead of everyone else under World in Conflict.

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.




At the lower resolution we see the HD 3870 come out ahead, though as we climb up the ECS 9600GT comes out in front.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR) - XP


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here





By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode Two opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode Two with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.



Under our final test we can see the cards are quite close together here.

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 temperature from there, as seen in the picture.




It doesn't come as any surprise that the ECS card comes out quite warm with the passive cooling.

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.




The 9600GT continues to idle higher than the HD 3870, while under load the cards sit quite close together.

Final Thoughts




As far as silent options go for the 9600GT, there really isn't anything else to look at apart from this particular model from ECS. Sure, you could turn around and buy the Accelero S2 cooler separately for your card, but there is just something about not voiding warranty that people enjoy.

The fact that ECS has also been able to crank up the clocks slightly provides added appeal. Generally speaking, it was faster than the overclocked 9600GT from Galaxy which carries with it active cooling.

The bundle tends to be a bit on the light side of things, but it's clear that you're paying for the aftermarket cooler rather than some game that you're probably not interested in playing anyway.

The only real problem you're going to be running into is finding the card; it seems to be hard to track down, not only in the United States but also locally here in Australia.

ECS have made a decent product here, but the trouble in finding one even a few weeks after the launch of the 9600GT is a little disappointing.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
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