Palit 9600GT Sonic 1GB Graphics Card

Palit has added another 512MB of RAM whilst retaining extensive connectivity. Is this the 1GB 9600GT to get?
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sun, May 11 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Palit

Introduction





Palit are back again with another 9600GT. While this model is a Sonic variant, this one also sports 1GB of memory. What's cool about this card is that more often than not you have two options when it comes to getting a card other than stock. You can get yourself one with more memory, which generally comes under the "Super" naming scheme; the other option is that you get yourself an overclocked model. This comes under the "Sonic" naming scheme for Palit. Today we've got ourselves a 1GB card which also happens to be overclocked.

Unfortunately Palit have called it the 9600GT 1GB Sonic; personally I think they should have called it the 9600GT 1GB Super Sonic which just sounds plain cool, and since the card carries with it an overclock and more memory, it's more than appropriate.

The Palit 9600GT really impressed us thanks to its connectivity options. Let's find out how this one goes and see if they followed the same formula that made the original 512MB 9600GT Sonic so good.

The Package




With FroBot back and doing his thing, we can see a pretty standard box for Palit. The top left corner gives us the Palit logo while the middle of the box makes note that it's an NVIDIA GeForce card.



The bottom left corner makes note that Tomb Raider Anniversary is included in the package, the top right gives us the information on all the ports that the card offers while the bottom right corner gives us a run down on the card like the amount of memory, the clock speeds and other important information.



Turning the box over and we have a few more lines of technical information in a multitude of languages. Across the bottom we have some contact details, the Palit logo along with other important logos like Direct X and OpenGL.



Alongside the quick installation guide and driver CD we get a full version copy of Tomb Raider Anniversary, as we saw mentioned on the front of the box.



We get the normal DVI to VGA connector and PCI Express power connector along with an optical cable for using the loop back feature the graphics card offers to get sound through the HDMI port. We also have the internal cable that does the same thing and goes between the graphics card and the sound card.

The Card




Moving onto the card, it looks identical to the 9600GT Sonic we looked at a while back. The big cooler in the middle takes up the center of the card and manages to cover the memory modules on the front.



The aftermarket cooler from Palit does take up two slots, but it's not too bad since due to the extra connectivity the card offers you're going to be using two slots in your case anyway.





Having a look around the card, it's a pretty standard affair. The back of the card gives us a single PCI Express connector while as you go across the top we see a single SLI connector. Next to the SLI connector we have another white plug that goes between your graphics card and sound card so you can also get sound out of your HDMI port.



Connectivity is pretty full on, as was the case with the 512MB Palit 9600GT Sonic. We have two Dual Link DVI connectors, HDMI and Display Port. Alongside that we also have an optical port that can be used in conjunction with the supplied optical cable to get sound through the HDMI port.


Specifications

With the card of course carrying the Sonic naming scheme, it comes pre-overclocked out of the box. The default clocks on a 9600GT are 650MHz Core, 1625MHz Shader clock and 1800MHz DDR clock on the memory.

The Palit sports a 700MHz core, 1750MHz on the Shader clock and 2000MHz DDR on the 1GB of GDDR3.

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 8.3, Forceware 174.53 (9 Series), Forceware 169.25 (8 Series)


We'll have a look at how the Palit 9600GT (Super) Sonic goes against the stock clocked 512MB 9600GT, the same clocked 512MB VViKOO 9600GT 512MB Turbo and the 8800GT 1GB 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.




In our first test we can see performance between the Palit and the VViKOO are quite similar.

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.






Moving across to PT Boats we can see that with both cards clocked at the same speed the extra memory on the Palit gives us a boost in the minimum department.

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).




Checking out CINEBENCH we can see that we don't get any extra performance with the memory, it actually finds itself 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.






WIC pretty much puts out the same results for both of the overclocked cards with only 1FPS out in the minimum department at two resolutions.

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.




Moving over to Crysis we can see the extra memory has given us a nice few extra FPS at the highest resolution, with smaller gains seen at the lower ones.

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 UT3 we can see that we get no performance increase with the extra memory. The card actually comes in just behind the VViKOO offering.

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



Under 3DMark we can see that the extra memory doesn't really come in handy, performing about the same as the VViKOO 512MB OC model.


World In Conflict





We again see under WIC that the performance difference between the 512MB and 1GB OC models is almost non-existent.

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.




Under XP we again see in 3DMark the extra memory doesn't give us any performance gain.

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).




Checking out CINIBENCH under XP we can see that all the cards score quite close together.

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.





WIC sees the 1GB model from Palit actually score at the bottom of the pack here, which is surprising considering its clock speeds alone are better than the stock clocked 512MB model.

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 see both the VViKOO and the Palit score quite close together with very little separating them.

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.




The larger cooler does a good job of keeping the temps down well below the stock cooler on the Albatron card.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).




Idle noise is the lowest on the Palit while load sits around the same as the stock one.

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.




Power consumption is what you would expect, floating around quite close to the other ones. It is slightly up though in both idle and load tests.

Final Thoughts




I was talking to a manufacturer today who was saying just how popular the 1GB models are, and it seems although you really do get little to no increase from the extra memory, people still want it.

The Palit Sonic offering is one of the better 1GB models for the plain fact that we get a mammoth amount of connectivity on the card. You include the full version game and the good aftermarket cooler if you really have a desire for a 1GB graphics card in this price bracket, and this could be the card to buy.

Palit has really become an aggressive partner on the graphics card market and has built a very solid name with their Sonic and Super series of cards. The latest addition to their 9600GT cards which see connectors like Display Port, HDMI, and Optical all embedded into the I/O panel has really made them stand out from the competition, setting the bar high and doing what they need to in order to make their cards stand out.

While the 1GB of memory really does very little for us for the most part, if you find yourself wanting the large amount of memory along with a cool running card and more connectivity then you can poke a stick at, the Palit 9600GT (Super) Sonic 1GB is the card for you. We don't doubt for a second that it will disappoint.

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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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