Leadtek WinFast GeForce PX9500 GT

Just want something that does a bit of gaming and is cheap? The newly released 9500 GT could be the ticket.
| Jul 28, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 59%Manufacturer: Leadtek

Introduction

Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
IntroductionIf you find yourself getting sick to the stomach when you see how much cards like the GTX 280 and GTX 260 are and just can't understand why people would spend so much money on a graphics card, the 9500 GT could be in your league.The 9500 GT, as you might have guessed comes in below the 9600 series and well below the 9800s. It's designed for people who are looking at getting away from onboard graphics but don't want to blow too much money.You have to wonder with the new GTX 280 / 260 naming scheme as to why NVIDIA are still continuing to update the older 9000 series of cards. Either way, we have a new low to mid-range graphics card that's cheap and can hopefully offer low resolution gamers something that doesn't break the bank.The particular card we have here today is from Leadtek and before we see the performance of the card and just how far it sits behind models like the 9600 GT and 9600 GSO, we will take the time to have a look at the package and see if there's anything to get excited about.

The Package

The PackageThe box design isn't anything too out of the ordinary and has been seen on Leadtek cards for a while now. Across the top we have the brand along with a number of logos from NVIDIA and a Windows Vista one. The middle of the box is taken up with a picture of a robot destroying stuff!
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Across the bottom of the box we have some of the main features of the card. Above that we have the model, which is of course the 9500 GT and next to that we have a picture of the said card.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Turning the box over, we have some more details on the card along with the specifications and what's included in the box. We again see the model and we have other tid bits of information over the box.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Diving inside the box, there isn't a whole lot going on. This isn't much of a surprise since the card really does sit in the lower end of the graphics card scale. Apart from the standard manual and driver CD, we have a TV-Out dongle which has S-Video and Component along with a single DVI to VGA connector.

The Card

The CardWith the package out the way, it's time to move onto the card which doesn't look like anything too special. Leadtek have quite a large cooler on the card. Fortunately, it does only take up a single slot which again isn't really a surprise for a low-end card.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
What's interesting is just how mean the card is. Cards in the x500 GT naming scheme tend to look quite small and use really boring coolers, but this card doesn't look bad considering how low-end it is.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Like most low-end cards, we don't have any need for external power so all we have that stands out on the PCB is a single SLI connector located in the standard position across the top of the card.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
It's interesting to see the card carry with it two Dual Link DVI connectors instead of a single one and a VGA port. Apart from the two DVI connectors, we also have a single TV-Out port.SpecificationsThe 9500 GT is far from a power house and the specifications really paint that picture. While initially based on a 65nm design, NVIDIA will make the jump to 55nm at a later date. We have 314 million transistors, 32 stream processors, 8 ROPs and 16 texture filters.The core comes in at 550MHz, the shader 1400MHz and the 512MB of GDDR3 memory at 1600MHz DDR on a 128-bit memory bus. 256MB and GDDR2 offerings are available so make sure you keep an eye out as to which type you're getting.It should be mentioned here that there is an updated PhysX driver due to be released on August 5th which will bring full support for the 9500 GT as well as all other GeForce 8 and GeForce 9 series cards.

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 175.31What we will be doing today is looking at how far behind the new 9500 GT from Leadtek sits against the two 9600 offerings; the GT and GSO. Is it worth saving the extra dollars and making the jump to the 9600 series or are your dollars better saved?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 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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Out of the gates we can see that the new 9500 GT sits a fair bit behind the more expensive and entry level 9600 series card; the GSO.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage

3DMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware. 3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Increasing the intensity paints a similar picture with the 9500 GT performing at about half the speed of the 9600 GSO.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
PT Boats sees the 9500 GT sit about 30% behind the 9600 GSO. The only card that's able to put out a capable frame rate in this game is the 9600 GT at 1280 x 1024.

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).
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
CINEBENCH actually puts the 9500 GT ahead of its bigger brothers here.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
We again see the 9500 GT fall really far back, performing at about half the speed of the 9600 GSO.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1Timedemo 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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
It comes as no surprise to see the 9500 GT really struggle here under Crysis. It's performance is again about half of the 9600 GSO.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
While we have a passable frame rate at 1280 x 1024, we can see at 1600 x 1200 the card struggles and continues to sit well behind the more expensive 9600 GSO.

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
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Turning on AA and AF paints the same picture we've seen all along.World In Conflict
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
The same low frame rates are seen in WIC. In all fairness though, the card isn't really designed to be run with AA and AF on in games.

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 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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Again, under XP we see the 9500 GT score about 40% below the 9600 GSO.

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).
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
We again see the 9500 GT perform well under CINEBENCH, though this time the 9600 GSO does come out ahead while the 9600 GT still sits down the back.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Again we see the 9500 GT perform at about half the speed of the 9600 GSO.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
We continue to see the 9500 GT sit way behind the 9600 GSO. The 1280 x 1024 results are really bordering on playable.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
It comes as no surprise that the lowest end card here also performs the coolest; especially with the large heatsink fan combination Leadtek has used.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).
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
Unfortunately the good temps do come at a bit of a cost and the 9500 GT is quite loud at both idle and load.

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.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce 9500 GT
While the 9500 GT does use the least amount of power at idle and load, it's not that much less than the much faster 9600 GSO.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsIt's no surprise that the 9500 GT is no power house, but it does sit at about half the speed of the 9600 GSO and a little further back again to the 9600 GT which is only a little more expensive than the GSO.The card is really aimed at people who want to do a bit of light gaming with low to medium settings at up to 1280 x 1024. Anything more than that and you're probably going to find yourself quickly disappointed with the performance of the card. The card might be slow, but it's also cheap. Though it's something I wouldn't personally use due to the overall gaming performance of the card. The other big problem with the card is that it doesn't really sit at half the price of the 9600 GSO, which makes the 9600 GSO look like even better value.The 9500 GT is really for people with the strictest budget and simply cannnot afford to go the 9600 GSO. Justifying it shouldn't be an issue, at about 50% more expensive it offers up to double the speed, quite often.It's hard to be disappointed with the 9500 GT because going into it we didn't expect much from it. Ultimately, we didn't get much from it so it performs how we thought. I did think it would be a little cheaper, though.
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