ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition Graphics Card

ZOTAC have attacked the 9500 GT and release it under their ZONE naming scheme. We check it out today.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Sep 3 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 84%Manufacturer: ZOTAC

Introduction


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition



If anyone was going to offer some decent clocks with the 9500 GT, it was going to be ZOTAC. Today we take the time to check out the ZONE version of the card which is carrying with it a silent cooler.

The 9500 GT hasn't had the best of starts; the Leadtek we looked at offered some pretty poor performance and a price tag that was really too high for what it was. Fortunately, Point of View came in, strapped a HDMI port to the card and made the card stand out a bit more from the pack. We finally began to see a card that we could actually recommend to people.

So now that the 9500 GT is beginning to look a little better, today we'll see if what ZOTAC has done can make the card stand out even further. We won't hold our breath for the plain fact that the card is still a 9500 GT, but we might get lucky.

Before we see what ZOTAC has done with the cooling and clocks, let's take a few minutes to have a look at what's going on with the package and the bundle inside the small 9500 GT box.

The Package




Like most lower end cards, ZOTAC has opted for a smaller box design. Across the top we have the brand alongside the NVIDIA logo. Down the bottom we have the model along with a mention that this card is part of the ZONE series. We also have a sticker on the front that makes note of the new ZOTAC Extended Warranty which we recently covered in our news.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


In the middle of the box, going up the right hand side we have some of the main specifications of the card; fanless cooling, 512MB of GDDR3 memory, Dual Dual-Link DVI and more.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Turning the box over, we again have the model, brand and a bit of a blurb about the card that says why it's so great. We also have some more details on some of the technology that is present in the 9500 GT. Alongside that we also have some information on SLI and what you need along with a few more details on the card in a number of languages.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


As far as paperwork goes, we have a quick setup guide, a leaflet about extended warranty and the standard user manual. We also have a driver CD along with a little sticker so you can display the ZOTAC brand loudly and proudly.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Aside from the standard component / s-video out and DVI to VGA connector, we have a loopback cable that is used to get sound through the DVI to HDMI convertor which is also included.

The Card




Coming out of the box, the first thing you notice is of course the giant heatsink that covers over half the card and wraps slightly over the top. Covered in all silver with a number of fins, it's pretty mean looking.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


We can see that ZOTAC have also put their logo on the front of it. Apart from that we can see some other bits and pieces of the card along with the model number and serial information running off the I/O bracket.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Being of the low end variety, the card doesn't have any power connectors. The only two connectors we have on the PCB are the SLI connector located at the top and another little white connector next to it that is used to get sound through the HDMI connector included in the package.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


The I/O department gives us two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with our standard TV-Out port. We of course also have HDMI but this is provided by a connector and isn't natively inserted onto the PCB.


Specifications

The core of the ZONE 9500 GT comes in at 550MHz while the shader is clocked at 1375MHz and the 512MB of GDDR3 memory comes in at 1600MHz DDR.

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: NVIDIA ForceWare 177.79


With two other 9500 GT cards tested, let's see how the ZOTAC ZONE Edition goes up against them.


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 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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Our first test puts all three cards quite close together.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product 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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Looking at Vantage, there is also very little difference with only 30 marks separating the fastest and the slowest.

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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


We see that the POV and ZOTAC are both a little ahead of the Leadtek offering.

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).


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


CINEBENCH puts all three cards again quite close to each other.

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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


The ZOTAC manages to see an extra FPS in the minimum department compared to the other two cards here.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1
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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Crysis again sees the POV and ZOTAC card coming out a little faster than the Leadtek.

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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


UT3 shows the ZOTAC coming out ahead with it actually being 10% faster at the higher resolution.

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

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


3DMark06 again puts all three cards very close together.


World In Conflict

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


AA and AF on under WIC put all three cards on exactly the same minimum and average.

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 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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


We again see under 3DMark06 the cards score very close to each other.

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).


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


CINEBENCH under XP puts the POV card considerably in front while the ZOTAC and Leadtek sit very close to each other.

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.

ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


We again see WIC performance between all three cards very similar.

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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


UT3 again sees the ZOTAC card come out ahead with almost 10% seen at the highest resolution.

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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


While the card is silently cooled, the temps are still very reasonable with it coming in at just over 50c.

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.


ZOTAC GeForce 9500 GT ZONE Edition


Thanks to no fan being present, the power draw is a little lower on the ZONE edition of the ZOTAC 9500 GT.

Final Thoughts




The ZOTAC 9500 GT ZONE Edition is a great card for people wanting to stick something in their home theater PC that isn't going to make a single dB of noise. The HDMI adapter, while not as attractive as a native port is still extremely handy and the included cable to get sound through the convertor is also extremely handy.

Performance is as you would expect; it's not great, but it's cheap. Since you're really not going to get any more performance out of the card bar a bit of overclocking, companies have to do other things to make it stand out from the competition.

The good news is we think that ZOTAC have managed to do this by not only including the necessary convertors to make it a good HTPC card, but also by strapping a cooler on it that doesn't make any noise. The good news is adding the silent cooler doesn't turn around and give us unreasonable temperatures. At load we're at just over 50c which is fine and this is excellent news when installing the card into a HTPC.

All in all, ZOTAC have done a pretty good job with the 9500 GT. There's really only so much you can do with a low-end card and we think that ZOTAC have done the right things to make it stand out from the competition. A native HDMI port would have been perfect, but the route they've gone is almost just as good.

This card is going to be more attractive to some people over the Point of View which offered a native HDMI port, for the simple reason that you've got a silent cooler attached to it.

What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles