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ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card

The highly popular 9600 GT continues to stick around. The latest one to show up is from ASUS under a new naming scheme.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Aug 19 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:27 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction

ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
IntroductionJust when we thought we would no longer receive any more 9600 GTs because we figured we'd reviewed just about every single one on the market, ASUS has decided to run around and release a new one. The particular card we're looking at today is part of the Republic of Gamers collection, which is something we tend to see more in the motherboard department. It makes a lot of sense, though, that ASUS are going to expand this popular naming scheme out to more than just motherboards.This new card comes to us as the EN9600GT Matrix. Matrix is also something we haven't heard of from ASUS before, so it will be interesting to see if they're going to start creating some new lines.Let's check out the package and what's inside before we move onto the actual card. Once we've done all of that, we'll get stuck into the benchmark results of the card and see if it can do anything to stand out.

The Package

The PackageWe're seeing ASUS carry the new smaller box design over to the mid-range cards which is good to see. The whole box layout has a pretty funky silver / white / black colour scheme going on with a picture of a girl taking up the right side of the box. Across the top of the box we have the ASUS logo while across the bottom we have the model along with the Republic of Gamers logo.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Just above the model we have mention that the card comes with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, HDMI and iTracker. In the middle of the box we have a picture of the card along with the mention of Hybrid Cooler. We also have the advantages of the Super Hybrid Engine which gives us more performance and less power usage.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Turning the box over, we have the model, brand, ROG logo across the top with again mention of the power saving and extra performance. Below that, we have some of the features of the card in a number of languages, a little lower the mention of the exclusive software that's included in the ASUS package and below that, the system requirements.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Inside the package we have a HDMI adapter, instruction manual, speed setup guide along with a manual on the new overclocking software. We also have the normal graphics card manual on CD alongside the driver CD.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
The cable department includes a component out dongle, S/PDIF audio connector, DVI to VGA connector and molex to PCI Express connector.

The Card

The CardUpon pulling the card out of the box, you realize how different the cooler is to anything we've seen before. It's very similar to the older higher end coolers with the fan sitting towards the back of the card and pushing cool air across the core and going out the back of the system.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
It's got a lot of aluminum with a heatsink and heat-pipe going around the fan, another heatsink towards the front of the card and some heat pipes coming out the top of the card and moving back into the cooler. The top is also aluminum, which is nice as initially when looking at pictures I thought it would be plastic.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Looking around the card, there isn't anything that we haven't seen before. Sitting on the black PCB towards the back of the card we have a single 6-pin PCI Express connector. Moving across the top of the card, we have a single SLI connector.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Moving over to the I/O ports, it's nice to see something a little different from the standard DVI connectors and TV-Out port. Though the Dual-Link DVI and TV-Out port is present, we also have an S/PDIF-out port along with a HDMI port which is a similar setup to the Palit 9600 GT we saw a while back. Across the top we also have some vents so the hot air can escape. SpecificationsWhile the EN9600GT Matrix might sound like it's going to be an overclocked card thanks to its impressive cooler and feature set, it's not. It carries the stock 650MHz core, 1625MHz shader clock and 1800MHz DDR memory clock on the 512MB of included GDDR3.

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: NVIDIA Forceware 175.19Let's take the time to see how the 9600 GT Matrix from ASUS fairs against the stock 9600 GT from ECS and the slightly more expensive 9800 GT from GIGABYTE.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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
As you would expect, off the bat there isn't really much difference between the two stock clocked cards.

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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Very similar performance is also seen under Vantage.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Checking out PT Boats we again see the 9600 GT cards perform right on top of each other.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
Under CINEBENCH we see the ASUS offering actually come out a good chunk ahead of the ECS.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Across the board, even though both cards are clocked the same, we see the ASUS just come out ahead when compared to the ECS.

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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Moving to something again very intensive like Crysis, we see the two cards perform very close 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 Matrix Graphics Card
Performance is a little higher again for the ASUS offering when compared to the ECS.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
Turning on AA and AF, we see that the ASUS card is able to sneak out ahead when compared to the ECS of the same clocks.World In Conflict
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Under WIC we again see the ASUS offering come out ahead like our non AA / AF tests.

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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Back to 3DMark06; this time under Windows XP we see both cards score very similar.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
Again under CINEBENCH we see that the ASUS card is able to come out ahead of the ECS.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
WIC also under XP sees the ASUS card come out ahead when compared to the same clocked ECS.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
We leave with UT3 and both cards scoring very close to each other again.

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.
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
The new cooler on the card helps keep temps way down when compared to the stock cooler that the ECS uses.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).
ASUS GeForce EN9600GT Matrix Graphics Card
Idle is a little quieter while load is a little noiser; nothing to worry about, though.

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 Matrix Graphics Card
Power draw at both idle and load are down on the ASUS when compared to the ECS.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsASUS has managed add a few nice little tweaks to the card to make it stand out compared to other 9600 GT cards that we've looked at over the past few months.The cooler does a good job of keeping the card cool andIt's also nice to see that the promise of less power comes true with the ASUS Matrix using less power than the reference designed 9600 GT. Furthermore, even with the same clocks, the ASUS card is able to outperform the reference 9600 GT consistently under a number of tests.If that wasn't enough for you, the fact that ASUS have then thrown on an optical-out port alongside the HDMI one makes the card a perfect choice for people who want something that can do a bit of gaming while giving you the best possible image quality on your home theater PC.All in all, there isn't a whole lot to complain about with the particular card. It would have been nice to see it come to the market a little earlier, but like they say, better late than never. Now, hopefully we see more graphics cards come in under the Republic of Gamers naming scheme. It will be also interesting to see if we see the Matrix naming scheme pop up again in future releases, be it from AMD or NVIDIA.
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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.

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