Chaintech GeForce 9600GT OC 512MB

Chaintech show up again in the TweakTown labs with a 9600 GT OC. Shane finds out if it can stand out from the pack.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, May 20 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 86%Manufacturer: Chaintech

Introduction





It's been a while since we've seen anything from Chaintech, but they're back today with a 9600 GT OC card. While we've pretty much covered the 9600GT to death, it's always nice to see what companies do with the card to make it stand out from the pack.

Chaintech have really expanded from the line of graphics cards, now doing products like memory and flash products as well. What they no longer do however are motherboards. It wasn't all that long ago we were impressed with fancy cooling solutions and the general performance of Chaintech products. We'll have to see if the 9600GT is able to do anything for us.

From first glance the Chaintech offering didn't do a lot for us, but upon throwing it in our system we where pleasantly surprised with what happened. Before we get into that though, let's find out what they've done with the package and have a closer look at the actual card.

The Package




The Chaintech 9600GT carries with it a pretty standard box size. On the upside, the front of it is really packed with a wealth of information. Apart from the girl and model taking up the majority of it, we also have the brand in the top left corner. Under that we have mention of the fact that it's Lead Free along with the HDMI logo. Below those we have mention that the card is also an overclocked version.



Heading to the right side of the box we have some more details on the features that the card offers like 512MB GDDR3, HDCP, Direct X 10, DVI, PCI Express 2.0, 256-bit and more. We also have the standard line-up of NVIDIA logos displayed.



Turning the box over, we have some more details on the features that the 9600GT offers. We also have a bit about SLI and what you need to get it up and running.



Moving inside the box we have a Driver CD which has a few programs on it along with the standard manual.





Along with the standard DVI to VGA connecter we also have a DVI to HDMI connector included in the package. We also have a TV-Out dongle, S-Video cable, Molex to PCI-E and a loop back cable so you can get audio through the HDMI convertor.

The Card




With the package out the way it's time to check out the card; straight away you don't notice anything too out of the ordinary. As you expect from most cards using the reference cooler, we do have the newer model with the bigger fan that helps keep both noise and temperatures down.



Having a look around the card, there isn't anything out of the ordinary as you would expect. The rear of the card has a single PCI Express power connecter hidden within the cooler and the top has a single SLI connector which will be handy if you find yourself with two of these cards.





Following with the reference design of the card, the I/O side of things doesn't show anything out of the ordinary.



As usual we have two Dual Link DVI connectors and a single TV-Out port.


Specifications

This is where the card really surprised us. With its stock cooler Chaintech have unleashed a 725MHz core on the card with a 1900MHz DDR clock on the 512MB of GDDR3 memory.

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


With our heavily overclocked 9600GT from Chaintech in hand, we see how it goes against the stock clocked 9600GT from Albatron, the fairly nicely overclocked offering from VViKOO and a stock clocked 8800GT 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.




We can see straight away the big overclock on the card puts it ahead of the competition. It trails very close to the 8800GT here.

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.






PT Boats also shows a nice increase compared to the other models with it being right on top of the 8800GT in this case. At some points it's even able to come out ahead.

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).




The massive overclock isn't so handy under CINEBENCH and we see the card sit in line with the other overclocked offering.

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.






Under WIC we can see that the minimum scores are around the same as the stock 8800GT. When we move to the average department we see the Chaintech 9600GT come out ahead.

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.




While we do again see the big overclock stand out from the other 9600GTs, compared directly to the 8800GT in this case, it does lag a little more behind in the super intensive Crysis.

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.




We continue to see the Chaintech offering beat out the other 9600GT cards we have here, though it does sit a little behind its big brother; the 8800GT.

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



Turning on AA and AF, we continue to see the 9600GT from Chaintech score well with it sitting just behind the ASUS 8800GT carrying double the amount of RAM.


World In Conflict





Under WIC we again see the 9600GT from Chaintech beat out the 8800GT from ASUS.

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 Windows XP we see similar results with the Chaintech 9600GT right on top of the 8800GT offering.

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).




CINEBENCH continues to see all cards bundled 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.





Under Windows XP we continue to see the 9600GT OC from Chaintech outperform the stock clocked 8800GT from ASUS.

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.




Finally we leave with some impressive results once again with the 9600GT Chaintech offering, sitting right behind the more expensive 8800GT.

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.




Some good temps are coming off the Chaintech 9600GT with the stock cooler.


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).




We see some pretty good noise levels at the same time.

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.




Load power levels seem to be pretty much in line with the other cards here.

Final Thoughts




The Chaintech 9600GT is a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Pulling it out of the box, it doesn't look like much more than a standard 9600GT. Even with the mention of OC on the box, you don't expect too much; 650/675MHz on the core, maybe.

Upon firing the card up and running 3DMark06, we had to make sure we weren't dealing with an 8800GT here. The card absolutely flies along with the 735MHz core, which is the highest out of the box core clock we've seen to date.

Chaintech could quickly become a strong competitor in the graphics card market for people looking at out of the box performance. At the moment, if you want a big OC you're best to look at the TOP series of cards from ASUS, the AMP! Edition series from Zotac and OC2 or OCX cards from BFG Tech.

The bundle is a bit on the light side in the games department, but the inclusion of the HDMI adapter is always a nice touch. The only thing Chaintech need now is a cool naming scheme for their OC line-up.

If you're looking for an ultra fast 9600GT out of the box, the Chaintech offering could be the one to get. The only problem we have with the Chaintech card is that it's not available in Australia; fortunately if you're over in the U.S. you're going to have a bit more luck in getting one.

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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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