ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card

Shane is back with yet another 9600GT in hand; this one carrying a massive fan-less heatsink for quiet gaming.
| Jul 15, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction

ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
IntroductionWhile the GTX 280 might be out, the price doesn't exactly scream value for money for a lot of people. The high price tag is simply going to be out of reach for most. The 9600GT based off the G92 core continues to offer excellent value for money along with even better availability. You'd think we would have looked at all 9600GT cards on the market, but I can guarantee there are more out there. The particular one we're looking at today comes from ASUS and carries with it a silent cooler. We've seen GIGABYTE offer the 9600GT in silent form, sporting both 512MB and 1GB of GDDR3. MSI also has a card where the fan only spins when the card needs it. During our testing, however, the fan never actually spun.Silent cards are becoming quite the rage and everyone wants good performance without any noise. In the past, the design used to be reserved for low-end cards, but these days we seem to be able to get a good performing card that outputs not a single dB. In the highly competitive market that is the 9600GT, we will today see if ASUS are able to do anything that helps them stand out from the pack and if it's a card worth looking at.

The Package

The PackageWe continue to see ASUS use the larger box design, even for the mid-range 9600GT card. We haven't been a fan of the huge box for a while now and it seems like even more of a waste on these mid-range cards.The front of the box gives us the normal details like the brand across the top and model across the bottom. As you can see, ASUS mentions it is silent and we also see the HDMI logo displayed.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Above the model we have some of the main features mentioned like 512MB of GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0 and some other programs. We also have in the middle of the box to the left a picture of the cooler along with some of the main features it offers.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Turning the box over, we have some information on the exclusive software that ASUS include in the package, some of the features that the 9600GT offers and also a little bit about how the design is 10c cooler then the reference design cooler.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Moving inside the package; alongside the standard speed setup and driver CD we have another disk that includes the manual in a number of languages along with a little booklet on how to setup the S/PDIF cable so you can get sound through the HDMI convertor.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Going a little deeper into the box, we have a standard array of cables which include our molex to PCI Express connector, component dongle and DVI to VGA connector.Alongside these cables we have a DVI to HDMI connector and a loop back cable for your sound and graphics card so you can get not only video through the HDMI convertor, but also sound.

The Card

The CardWith the package down, it's time to check out the card. You can see that the heatsink takes up a massive amount of space on the card; all we can see is a bit of PCB running across the bottom.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
We are able to see multiple sets of fins with some located at the back of the card, some in the middle and some at the very beginning. The whole design is pretty hard core and feels excellent.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
We can see one of the heat pipes run up the center, but if we have a quick peek at the top of the card we can see more heat pipes running throughout the card along with some more fins.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
With the heatsink out the way, it's time to have a quick look at the card and we can see the single PCI Express connector located at the back of the card along with a single SLI connector across the top. Next to the SLI connector we also have the plug for your S/PDIF loop back cable.
ASUS EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Like most silent cards, the card does require an extra slot bringing it up to two. We also have two Dual Link DVI connectors along with a single TV-Out port.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06

Test System SetupProcessor(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 SP1Drivers: Forceware 174.53 (9 Series), Forceware 169.25 (8 Series)Today we've compared the ASUS EN9600GT SILENT against the Sapphire HD 3870 and the Albatron 9600GT which also carries with it stock clocks.3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
We can see between the two 9600GT offerings that there is very little difference; the HD 3870 manages to come out ahead under this synthetic benchmark at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

PT Boats: Knights of the SeaVersion and / or Patch Used: Benchmark DemoDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Under PT Boats we can see that the ASUS offering does sit back a little more compared to the Albatron offering; it performs similarly to the HD 3870 at most resolutions; sometimes better, sometimes slightly worse.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer 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).
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Under CINEBENCH we can see that all three cards perform quite close to each other.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Firing up WIC; we can see that the HD 3870 falls behind while the two 9600GT offerings perform quite close together, outperforming the AMD offering.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demoDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
We can see under Crysis that the 9600GT offerings lag slightly behind the HD 3870, but perform very similar to each other.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Here we can see the ASUS offering come out ahead of the Albatron one, while the HD 3870 does manage to just stay ahead.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur 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
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Turning on AA; we can see all three cards are bunched up quite closely together.World In Conflict
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Under WIC we can see the NVIDIA offerings are way ahead.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
We can again see the ASUS card sitting at the back of the pack slightly here.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer 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).
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Again under CINEBENCH we see all three cards perform extremely close together.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
We again see the two 9600GT cards perform very close to each other; the HD 3870 begins to fall back as we go up in resolution.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo 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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
UT3 again shows the ASUS offering coming out ahead at most resolutions.

Temperature Test

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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
Even though the card is silent, it does a fantastic job of keeping temps down.

Power Consumption Tests

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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT SILENT Graphics Card
The ASUS offering manages to draw significantly less power than the Albatron offering and draws similar at idle to the HD 3870, but significantly less at load.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsThe ASUS EN9600GT SILENT as far as performance goes isn't something we haven't seen before; it performs like it should. What was surprising though was just how efficient the silent cooler is when compared to the stock active cooling solution. The design ASUS has opted for is nothing short of excellent. While the card doesn't come with a huge bundle, we get a HDMI convertor along with the loop back cable and all other standard cables and paperwork provided. The card is a good option for people who are looking for an extremely efficient silently cooled card.If you're looking for a stock clocked card that doesn't heat up massively with a passive heatsink, the ASUS EN9600GT SILENT could well be the card for you.
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Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

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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